By Lisa Nardone

In the United States, over fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. It’s no surprise then that what it means to be married has been redefined through the catalyst that is modern society. These days, it seems as if everlasting love is no longer a reliable factor in the equation for a long-lasting marriage. Luckily, CupidsPulse.com had the opportunity to interview two marriage experts in order to shed light on how to have a successful relationship in today’s world.

The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels is a book that looks underneath the surface of modern day marriage in order to save couples from the increasing divorce rate. Therapist Susan Pease Gadoua and journalist Vicki Larson join together to not only bring insight to what it means to get married more consciously but also to offer specific models of non-traditional marriages, such as marrying for financial stability. With personal experience in the field of broken relationships, the authors are the perfect pair to help guide others to a successful marriage.

Is there a specific message that you would like readers to take away from The New I Do?

Vicki and Susan: Yes — that they have the power and the freedom to have the marriage they want. In reality, marriage doesn’t look one certain way; there is no right or wrong relationship. A marriage license doesn’t tell couples how they should structure their daily lives; it doesn’t require them to live together, be monogamous, be madly in love, or have kids. Couples get to decide the rules for themselves. We believe more people will have happier, successful marriages if they understand that they have that freedom. We hope they open their minds to the possibilities.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor of a healthy relationship?

V and S: Having two emotionally healthy, self-aware people who have realistic expectations of each other and of the relationship. Many people come to relationships thinking their partner will be their other half or that, if they’re with the “right” person, they will stay in a high state of romantic love and things will be easy.

Coming into a romantic relationship expecting your partner to complete you or be perfect puts an undue burden on (and gives unrealistic power to) the other person. Ideally, couples support and encourage growth and freedom in each other and themselves and are able to openly, lovingly, and honestly communicate.

Related Link: Creating A Healthy Lifestyle With Your Partner

What advice do you have for women who are facing the challenges of being a single mother post-divorce?

V: I would hope that rather than being “single divorced mothers,” they would be co-parenting divorced mothers. I strongly believe children need both parents in their lives, and I encourage couples to share physical custody when possible.

Divorce per se isn’t bad for kids, but conflict is. As hard as being divorced may be emotionally, avoid fighting with your former spouse. Be a good co-parent and encourage and support your former spouse in their co-parenting too. Your kids will thrive if you are able to do that for them — that’s doing our job as a parent.

What advice can you give to women who feel that their relationship is beginning to emotionally disconnect? What can they do to save their marriage?

S: The best thing a woman can do if she sees a gap developing between her and her partner is to name it early on and then invite her partner to get reconnected. Don’t wait until things are really strained and stay away from blaming the other person for the troubles. Most people wait six years after problems arise to seek professional help. By then, there are layers of hurt feelings and resentments to the point that the relationship may not be salvageable.

Related Link: Couples Therapy: A Way to Rebuild a Struggling Relationship 

What would like to see accomplished due to your book? Any changes you hope to see in future marriages?

V and S: We’d like to see people stop clinging to an outdated image of marriage. Our biggest hope is that couples wed more consciously; getting married is among one of the biggest decisions a person can make, so exploring why you want to marry, what you can bring to the marital table, and the kind of marriage you want are important questions to ask yourself.

And we would like the shame, blame, and failure surrounding marriages that don’t last forever or that are outside the norm to disappear. We hope people become more open to and accepting of non-traditional marriages. We believe that, if couples understand that they have the freedom to create marriages by their definition of success, we will see happier, healthier unions and more stability for those who wish to have children.

Check out the authors’ website, http://thenewidobook.com/ and pick up your own copy of The New I Do today!