How to Communicate Better with my Partner: Like Mt Everest, it’s a great journey, an important journey not only for you but for the future generations

2013 marked 60 years since the first recorded ascent of Mount Everest. Named by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865 after Sir George Everest, in Tibet it is known as Chomolungma (Tibet, mother goddess of the universe) Its peak is 8,848ms. The international border between China (Tibet) and Nepal (South) runs across the precise summit point. Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, wind as well as significant objective hazards from avalanches.

Mt Everest attracts many but >70% fail. 280 people (161 westerners and 87 Sherpas) have died on Everest from 1924 to 2016. More people have died on the South side, 140 than on the Tibet side, 108. Almost all are still on the mountain.*

Marriage in Australia, did you know:

  • almost 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce
  • 1/3 separate in the first 5 years and many remain unhappy in marriage
  • almost 50% of all divorces involve children
  • 1 in 4 children saw their non-resident parent less than once a year or never.

Marriage is not for everyone. But for those that seek successful marriage and a fulfilling family life in which to raise healthy and happy children, functional families are seen as the bedrock of successful societies. But whilst attempted by many, like attempting Everest – many fail.

In 2015 there were 118,962 marriages down from 123,244 in 2011, with 72% being a first marriage and 28% a remarriage, with brides aged 29 and grooms 34, with 73% conducted by a marriage celebrant, with the remaining 27% by a religious organisation. The average length of marriage has increased from 10.7 years in 1993 to 12.1 years in 2015 with the median age of divorce females 42.9 and 47 for males however there is estimated to be 2/3 of marriages that are unhappy after 5 years. And remarriages do not fair any better, with a greater proportion more likely to divorce than those who had not been previously married. 

In 2014 there >46 thousand divorces in Australia, with almost 22 thousand involving children under 18 years of age (or 47% of all divorces), with an average of 1.8 child per divorce. In 2013, almost 42 thousand children experienced the divorce of their parents.

De facto partnering should not be excluded from discussion as many of the attributes and impact to society are prevalent in this cohort also. ABS stats suggest that 4 in 5 couples live together before marriage however research suggests that cohabitation is usually associated with lower levels of martial satisfaction and whilst two thirds of people are partnered, cohabiting has increased to 9.5% with those in married households 50%. One-parent households make up 16% of all households.

31% of children aged 0-17 met with their separated parent on a daily/weekly basis whereas, 51% of children did not spend a single night with their non-resident parent and one in four children saw the parent they were not living with less than once a year or never. According to 2011 census data, almost 1 in 5 families were headed by a single parent.

The burden on society. The impact on our children. The impact on government funding to support families in crisis is significant.

In Kevin Andrews book ‘Maybe I do’, Kevin claims that >$3bn p.a. was spent on social security benefits associated with marriage dysfunction in the 1990’s. That figure is a lot larger today. An investment focussed on preventing marriage breakdown and developing relationship skills to assist with the success of your relationship is important, for you and your partner and society.

If families are the building blocks of society, and children are our future generation, then let’s start treating our marriage like climbing Everest. In the early years of our marriage, reaching the summit seemed so easy but as the years pass, the summit appears further away. The climb gets steep at times and just like Everest, the failures are generally on the way down from the summit. Our relationship will go through ups and downs and like it or not, there will be obstacles in your way.

Need more information, email me now.

Tune in next week for more relationship tips @

* Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr Maria Strydom, husband Rob Gropel and family and friends after it was reported that she died on May 23 whilst descending Mt Everest. Dutch mountaineer Eric Arnold was in the same climbing party also feel ill and died on the 20th of May. 

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