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YOUR PROBLEMS: Talk it over before it's too late.

Byline: Miriam Stoppard

WHOA! Steady on. That's more than a touch casual, Jack. No need for indecent haste.

So far neither Fiona nor Jack has made the feeblest attempt to find out what's going wrong with their relationship. It's way too premature to contemplate a permanent rift when they haven't given themselves the chance to weigh up the reasons for their mental hostility.

And running for cover with the office Delilah is the most dangerous way to blot out what's happening at home. It doesn't paper over the cracks for longer than a couple of hours. Quite the opposite - it widens old cracks and opens new ones.

All the cliches about a rocky marriage come to mind, but I feel Fiona and Jack need to be reminded of them, otherwise they run the danger of seriously falling out and finding a rapprochement would be a very long and difficult climb for both of them.

No marriage stays on a perpetual high. Passion inevitably becomes companionship. Desire burns with a much lower flame. Attraction is less high-octane. But to harbour ambitions of retaining the rose-coloured world of early love is to set yourself up for certain failure.

It's right and proper that the intense emotions which accompany discovering your lover for the first time become tempered with the passage of time, the advent of children and domesticity.

The very damping down of passions allows the emergence of the richest side of a relationship. Respect, affection, generosity, kindness and a multitude of other loving qualities can only emerge when the flames die down.

It was meant to be. It's the way the world works. We have to acclimatise ourselves to the natural waxing and waning of a deep and loving relationship.

That acclimatisation requires work, time and effort and that's what Fiona and Jack need to invest in each other. Both should be less self-regarding, stop retreating into anger and selfishness and think about putting as much energy into healing their marriage as destroying it.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 9, 2003
Previous Article:YOUR PROBLEMS: My agony as an outlawed in-law; LETTER OF THE DAY.

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