'Gray divorces' increasing in East Texas

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's considered the happiest day of your life, but in the past two decades the promise of 'til death do us part is fading.

"I think everybody is thinking--if I'm going to live another 20 or 30 years - do I want to spend the rest of my life with this person?" said Holly Perkins Meyers, a Divorce Lawyer at the Law Office of Perkins & Meyers in Lufkin.

It's a growing trend called "gray divorce" where couples vow to grow old together, but end up losing that love once the children leave the nest.

"I think it's really just learning how to have a relationship again. Their relationship has been the lowest priority and a lot of times either one or both have built resentment because of that and they just don't have the time together," said Dr. Debra K. Burton, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage Therapist at the Counseling Center of East Texas.

Dr. Burton says couples only communicate about 15 minutes a week. She advises couples who are considering divorce to seek treatment.

Todd and Julie Alston have been married for 23 years. They say their marriage hasn't always been perfect.

"You know, we've been married for 23 years, but it's been 21 years of bliss. The first couple of years were really hard, but we were committed to the Lord and we were committed to one another and we went to counseling every week for two years," said Todd Alston.

The Alstons encourage couples to rekindle the love they used to have.

"Commitment means a real promise of the vows that you make when you marry. You don't even know what those will be at the time you marry. You have no idea. If you did, you probably wouldn't marry. But, it's really to put the other person first and to be committed to that relationship," said Julie Alston.

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