Love Lose Live published 4 February 2016

Relationships when the courting is over

Courtship is a magical time in every relationship. Getting to know each other, falling in love, spending time doing special things, going out to dinner, going on holiday.

Reality may not feature greatly. If the couple marry, there may be an extraordinary build up to a fairy-tale wedding that takes just one day, often with little thought being given to cost or the daily life that awaits after the celebrations.

Then gradually the everyday world takes over. Work, bills, the demands of a growing family. Add to this the mix of stress, exhaustion and worry endemic in modern life – and storm clouds may gather. Will the couple support and help each other or will they whine and blame each other? Will they negotiate what they think is a fair way of living or will one or both feel resentful about the other seemingly skiving? Their courtship is unlikely to help much, unless it involved endurance exercises and teamwork. Perhaps there is an unmet market in the wedding industry, not for frills and music, catering and gift lists, but for something altogether more challenging – a bit like life.

Mary Banham-Hall, mediator and family lawyer, author of Love Lose Live: Divorce is a Rollercoaster, published 4 February 2016.