Curated article from The Guardian Newspaper about the Marriage Course. Happy together ... Sila, left, and Nicky Lee at home in London. Photograph by David Levene for the Guardian PR

Curated article from The Guardian Newspaper about the Marriage Course.

Happy together ... Sila, left, and Nicky Lee at home in London. Photograph by David Levene for the Guardian PR

Early in 2006, Peter Drysdale decided that his 26-year marriage to Gill was over. He bought an Idiot's guide to divorce, consulted a lawyer, and even told their two adult children. "I guess the crisis was precipitated by the kids' empty nesting," says Peter, 57, a project manager with Barclays. "There'd been a couple of false starts, but now they'd settled and weren't coming back. That left Gill and I to face each other."

When they did, neither was surprised to find the connection was no longer there. They hadn't resolved their marital differences along the way, just buried them. Money was a key problem area (Peter was a spender, Gill a saver). Their communication styles were another (Peter shouted, Gill withdrew). They had survived by carving out separate spaces. For chunks of the marriage, Peter had worked long hours in London while Gill brought up the children in their Berkshire home. With the children gone, she spent more time at their house in France. "We'd had one preliminary session with Relate then stopped," says Peter. "We argued all the way through and the counsellor told us that unless we were positive about wanting to save the marriage, it probably wasn't worth coming back. Even our children agreed divorce was for the best."

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