Trouble brewing among seasoned couples - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Trouble brewing among seasoned couples

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There's a lot of talk about what General David Petraeus' affair has done to his marriage.

Trouble at home seems to be a growing trend among seasoned couples.  In 2008, more than 600,000 people, ages 50 and older, divorced.  Couples in that age group are getting so many divorces, there is now a term for it: "gray divorce".

"People get married for different reasons these days. It used to be you got married and had a strong commitment to your family," says marriage and family Psychologist Dr. James Bray with Baylor College of Medicine.
Having the dream of growing old with someone doesn't seem to be coming true for more people, particularly those over 50.

"At 50, we were already growing old and yes, I thought that was going to be the person til death do we part," says Andrea Hoxie.

Hoxie is now 58-years-old and single after she says her husband left her four years ago.
"People treat marriage like the new shoe of the day.  It's ok right now but if you get tired of it, just toss it and go get yourself a new pair," adds Hoxie.

In the last 20 years, the number of couples over 50-years-old getting divorced has doubled.

"We don't take it seriously anymore.  We plan hard and heavy for the wedding, but we don't give thought to after the dress is put away and the honeymoon is over," explains Hoxie.

"Second marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages," says Dr. Bray.

He says we're seeing more of what's called "gray divorce" because more women who once stayed for lack of finances are now economically independent and he says divorce is becoming more accepted.

"People in their 50s grew up in a generation where it wasn't so socially acceptable," says Dr. Bray.

He says more people these days get married because they're in love and once they fall out of love, they get divorced.

"There's very few couples that stay hotly romantic on their own.  You have to work at it and it's going to go up and down".

During those peaks and valleys, Dr. Bray says you should work on saving your marriage by doing something as simple as doing fun things together.

"If you don't schedule time for your marriage it will disappear," explains Dr. Bray.

He's encouraging all couples to get to know one another all over again and fall in love again.  He says a good place to start is a couple's class or weekend retreat.  Dr. Bray says if you think you'll be luckier in love with someone else, don't be so sure.  He says the same thing will happen if you marry someone else because you have to work at love and marriage.  

While money has broken up its fair share of marriages, Dr. Bray says it also keeps plenty together.  People who don't want to lose their lifestyle are motivated to work on keeping a healthy, happy marriage.  He says one way to keep the spark in your hot and heavy romance is to do little things that your spouse likes, such as giving a hello or goodbye kiss, making a call to check on them, or writing love letters.

Dr. Bray points out he isn't encouraging someone to stay in an abusive relationship.        

Andrea Hoxie first told me her story on Facebook.  Then she shared her story with me face to face.

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