When I was in fourth grade, my teacher made us color a map of the world, cut out each continent and then, like a puzzle, figure out how all seven pieces could have once existed as one solid land mass. It was easy to see how some of them fit together, but others made no sense at all.
After several minutes, my teacher put a map on the wall showing how geologists believe the continents fit together before breaking off and moving apart. According to those who study Continental Drift, the great landmasses are still drifting at a rate of about one inch per year—which doesn't seem like much until you realize how far they are from where they began.
Marital Drift seems as inevitable as the continental variety. A creeping separateness between spouses often begins on the day they return from their honeymoon and sometimes doesn't stop until one or both end up in a counselor's office, a lawyer's office or somebody else's bed. Many believe nothing can be done to prevent Marital Drift. Comments like, "I just don't love her anymore," "We've grown apart," and "I can't imagine what I ever saw in him" are common.
Counseling couples is sometimes as difficult as solving that fourth-grade puzzle. It's hard to see how these two angry, often bitter, people in my office used to fit together in a way that made them want to get married. Most of them weren't aware of the gradual drift, they just know they're a long way from where they started.1