With Saturn in a relationship you know what you (don’t) have. Saturn aspects in synastry usually are considered to be bad. Perhaps these aspects don't make it easier, but one thing is sure: they often reflect long lasting relationship. This does not mean that it is a nice and shiny romantic relationship. It can be any kind of relationship. Saturn is the symbol of business, too.
There may be good reasons for the official marriage to continue or for keeping in touch and sharing responsibilities (obligations - real or imagined -, material security, children, laws or a facade). One of the ways to reflect the Saturnal influence in a relationship is ‘keeping up appearances’. Sometimes this is because of a public function and sometimes just for the world outside. Saturn is the (sometimes two component) glue that keeps a relationship going,even if you would like it to end.
A broken heart on a chain suites this story about Saturn and realtions. It is harder to keep the heart on the right place and it might cost a lot of glue to hold things together. But this is only in the end, of course, when the relationship failed...and if the Saturn influence in relationships was already visible in the natal chart. I have a few examples of couples in politics, royal couples, actors and of not famous (but interesting) couples.
A divorced couple in my country (she a song writer, he a singer) has a son who needs to be taken care of because of several handicaps. They fight each other at court, because she is not willing to leave his house. She cannot find a house that is just as large as this and she wants a stable for her horses. What keeps them 'related' even after divorce, astrologically speaking? Saturn! Her Saturn is semi square his natal Sun.
Elisabeth Taylor married again and again and sometimes she married the same person, Richard Burton. She has Venus conjunct Uranus in Aries and that explains her impulsive decisions. This conjunction is inconjunct the Sun and Saturn of Richard Burton. That reflect the disproportionate (inconjunction) relationship.
Her Saturn is trine his Descendant. Burton has Sun conjunct an oriental Saturn and Venus in Capricorn. Liz has Sun semi quintile a 'calling' Saturn.
President Sarkozy married singer Carla Bruni. His Saturn is conjunct her Venus and trine her Ascendant. Should I read it like this: they are together because of her good looks and his position? See the post about this famous couple. Bruni has Sun square Saturn (ruler 7th house of marriage).
Saturn of Bill Clinton is exactly square Hillary's Sun. They did not divorce in spite of their difficulties. Maybe they separated their lives, but officially they are still married. Their relationship stands like a rock. Hillary has Venus square Saturn.
Barack Obama's Saturn is inconjunct Michelle's Sun. Her Jupiter is trine his Sun, however, and that is tighter aspect (see the reading of the famous couple's charts). The composite chart has Sun square Saturn.
What does this couple share with the Clintons?
Both are or have been Presidents of the United States and I presume that their function and status (symbolised by Saturn) has two effects on the lives of their partners. One: they are restricted and limited in a way, by obligations and protocol. It would not be easy to divorce the most important person in the world and the world is watching every step and move to see if something is wrong. The other side is status and a position in society that is strongly related to the husband. His fall is yours, when you are a first lady.
The Kennedy's have a Saturn-connection. Her Saturn is biquintile his Mars. His Saturn is square her Moon. In the composite chart Sun and Moon are square Saturn. John F. Kennedy had several mistresses and affairs in the short period of his presidency. What effect would this have had on their marriage?
Queen Juliana of the Netherlands was married to Prince Bernhard and they remained married even after serious problems and even though she knew that he had daughters with two of his mistresses. His Saturn is square her Midheaven, her Saturn is conjunct his Mars. The government of those days told her that she had to step back if she divorced. So she could not leave him and she left their bedroom instead. Bernhard had Venus square Saturn.
Queen Sophie and King Juan Carlos are married, but rumours say that it is just a marriage in name and often the media praise her for having tolerated his affairs (...). Her Saturn is tightly square his Midheaven (just like Bernhard’s' Saturn with Juliana's Midheaven). And his Saturn is square her Sun (a wider square). Saturn is the oriental planet in their composite chart: duty and parenthood come first. Sophie has Venus trine Saturn and Juan Carlos has Venus in Capricorn.
Saturn of Prince Charles was inconjunct Jupiter ruler 1 of Princess Diana and they divorced, but as she was the mother of the next king to be, there was an important unbreakable tie between them. In their composite chart the Sun is sextile Saturn.
I could go on and on with these kind of examples. But what if you are not 'famous', royal, not the first lady or the President? 80% of the women in the world depend on the social position of their husband. They don't all have Saturn aspects in synastry. Saturn may create a situation of obligations and mutual responsibilities (as a parent for example).
Example: a couple living apart ‘apart’ but officially married. His Saturn is exactly square her Pluto and Pluto is her ruler 1. When he stepped out of the house, she had progressed Sun opposition Pluto and he had a progressed inconjunction of Venus and Saturn with progressed Ascendant square Saturn. Venus is inconjunct Saturn in his natal chart, too, so this aspect activated the existing 'to say goodbye to your lover, but...'. Her Venus is conjunct Saturn. So they share the aspect of the official marriage (and the disadvantages of it).
Most people divorce when the marriage is over. I know a couple that shared Venus square Saturn (they both had that aspect in their chart) and they divorced. But there remain problems between them because of the child that they have. The relationship did not end with the marriage, because of responsibilities and parenthood. They divorced because their Saturns didn’t aspect a personal planet of the partner.
Charts belong to individuals and their specific situations. Individuals discover unique ways to express the astrological symbols. Saturn is the symbol of what is long lasting. But sometimes with Saturn problems, trouble and difficulties together just don't seem to come to an end. Does this mean that you should avoid Saturn-kind of relationships? Even if Saturn is important in relationships, according to your natal chart? Perhaps if that is, you are drawn to serious, secure, long lasting relationships and you might avoid the one night stand pleasures. There is a good side and a bad side about Saturn. The good side is that you know what you have (or not...:)