Divorce rates are rising exponentially in the United States of America. At present, around 40 to 50 percent of marriages there end in divorce. The institution of marriage has reached at a dangerous brink where only half of the total marriages survive a lifetime and the rest are pushed down the path of divorce.
There are numerous reasons as to why divorce rates are soaring. One of the critical reasons behind alarming number of divorces is that, people don’t put adequate efforts to fix their partially broken marriages. Divorce is no longer a taboo and divorcees no longer face any kind of social pressures or threat of alienation. Though this is a very positive step for the society but it has made divorce a very normal phenomenon. Most people find getting a divorce easier and more convenient than actually solving their relationship troubles.
When people get into relationships, especially marriage, they invest immense amount of their time, energy and emotions in it. Over the years, all relationships go through hard times and cause pain and hurt to the people involved. But is it wise to let go of the relationship all together because of that? Absolutely NOT! Time passes and with that all difficulties also vanish, but it’s important protect your marriage through that time. Divorce is solution for extreme discord between partners, not for temporary relationship struggles.
If you find tough times and marital troubles pushing your relationship to the edge, here’s what you should do. 12 Relationship experts suggest some excellent ways to prevent divorce:
1) Don’t jump to divorce without doing the work of your marriage first
Take responsibility for how you are acting in your marriage. Are you leveraging relationships experts and putting their advice into action? Are you being mindful around the home and connecting with your partner leaving and entering the relationship? Are you taking time to talk? Are you taking time for intimacy? Are you having fun with your partner? Are you creating individual and relationship space for love to grow? Until you’ve done the hard work of inner reflection and building a new marriage it isn’t time for divorce.
2) Follow the 7 principles to resolve conflicts:
- Take Time Outs & return within an hour
- Be the first to say, “I’m sorry.”
- Your ‘first words’ describe what you said or did that made it worse
- Seek first to understand your partner, before seeking understanding for yourself
- Orient towards compassion, rather than correctness
- Seek help if you cannot control your emotions or behavior
- Always remember you love your partner
3) Contemplate, have you done everything to save your marriage?
One relationship saving tip: Do you feel you have done everything you could to save this marriage? If not, then you should go to counseling and see. Many marriages end simply because people didn’t know what they could have done to fix the situation. No one has all the answers. It can be helpful to talk to an outside party who is just trying to help. With that being said, ideally people would seek counseling long before considering divorce. This type of treatment is incredibly hard and it can be very difficult for couples to work through the kinds of resentment that come with considering divorce. I would prefer to see people early on to really help them improve the situation.
4) Be vulnerable, speak from the heart
When relationships cool off, we feel vulnerable because we no longer “know” this other person; each of us is hiding behind our defenses. But the more vulnerable we feel, the more we back off emotionally – which cools the relationship further. To turn things around, we have to stop attacking as a defensive maneuver and love ourselves enough to be ready to be vulnerable; i.e., be real to one another. Speaking from the heart can re-open the door and bring down defenses.
5) In times of conflicts, remember what brought you together
Before making the decision to divorce, couples are encouraged to think about why they first became committed to each other. Recall the feelings that once brought you together. Imagine the wonderful person whom you originally loved and adored. If you can begin to access the positive emotions and memories that you had for your partner, you will have the opportunity to reevaluate your decision to divorce.
6) Remember the good memories
Re-create an emotional connection with your partner by reflecting on your wedding day. Revisit your vows, speak to the support you felt by those in attendance as well as the loving words (and embarrassing parts) of speeches and all parts in-between. And don’t leave out memories like when your Uncle Bob showed off his dance moves!
7) Acceptance via Friendship
The one thing tip I strongly recommend for couples who are on the verge of divorce is Acceptance via Friendship. Learning to accept our partner for who they are, to not constantly try to change who they are can be the key to saving the relationship. Throughout our lives we change, we grow, we evolve. This is inevitable. However, this can be threatening to the status quo of the relationship. We hold on too tightly to our partners, to a certain aspect of our relationship, a power dynamic, and any kind of shift is scary. If we react, and block our partner from growing, over time this can cripple and handicap our partner and the relationship, ultimately leading to divorce. By recognizing and seeing our partner as a friend, someone we want the best for, someone who we want to see happy and successful and by recognizing that by giving our partners wings we will also fly can be the most liberating experience.
8) Re- examine the history you have created together
Marriage is a sacred covenant between two people, committing to a lasting relationship.
In reality, however, couples do invariably encounter some challenging moments in their ongoing efforts to preserve the intimate pledge. If and when dissolution of marriage has to be considered, it can be construed as a symptom of a rupture causing extreme pain experienced in the relationship.When faced with these delicate times, it would be important to ponder healing and recovery first and foremost prior to making any major decisions. I would encourage any couples facing such predicament to re-examine the history they’ve co- created, shared, and communed during the course of their journey together.
Marriage is about making history and each couple has a unique opportunity to do so. When such process becomes fragmented for whatever reasons, it would be critical for couples to first grieve the loss and heal from it. In the process, a new door could be open to uncover and reclaim personally significant meaning ascribed to each of their unique account.
Whatever the decision thereafter, all couples deserve an ample time to recount and celebrate their unique success achieved together in order to derive the most sensible resolution.
9) Break the negative conflict cycle
When a couple is on the verge of a divorce it is common to be stuck in conflict cycle that leads to more negative emotion about your spouse. One reoccurring cycle that I see often is when one partner is critical and the other person is defensive. The more critical the one partner is the more defensive the other person becomes. The problem with being critical is you are attacking your partner intrinsically. Anytime someone feels that his or her character is being attack the automatic response is defense. When a partner becomes defensive it leads to the other partner not feeling heard which can then result in more critical statements. Now the couple is in a never ending cycle of negativity that creates more hostility! Instead I encourage you to change this cycle. Give the complaint instead or choose to not react with defense. A complaint is focusing on the behavior and how it affected you instead of the person as a whole. Instead of being defensive stop and ask your partner what behavior he or she is having difficulty with in the relationship and that their words feel like an attack. When you do something different it forces you both to think before you react and when you think you might be able to have a different outcome.
10) Commit to connecting in kindness
The one piece of advice I would offer would be to commit to connecting in kindness. Often by the time couples get to the office of a marital therapist they are completely questioning the future of their partnership. Their interactions are rich with detailed descriptions of how each has hurt the other. Their complaints have a pervasive overtone of criticism and hopeless, angry resignation. The combination of repeated unresolved conflicts, chronic tension and overall mistrust has likely eroded the couple’s capacity for positive problem-solving and cooperation. Shared tasks have become opportunities for conflict and disappointment. Shared decisions have become places of stuck disagreement. They feel emotionally at risk in each other’s company. Affection, tenderness, compassion and empathy have vanished and these once loving couples now treat each other like distant strangers or embittered enemies in a never-ending dance of attack-withdraw, attack-withdraw. They have few recent memories of shared kind moments and seem to be bracing themselves for constant battle and debate. What positive power is the antidote to such relational toxicity? Kindness.
Kindness is defined as “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” When marital interactions are approached with a commitment to connecting in kindness the protective but destructive weapons of anger can be set aside and replaced with openness, courage and mutual caring. Kindness is healing. Kindness promotes peace, eases bitterness and calms fears. Commitment to connecting in kindness creates the possibility of re-kindling the sparks of romantic, loving attraction. Creating a new history of kind interactions enables partners to re-build trust
What does it look like to commit to connecting in kindness?
- Be helpful and supportive even if it means going out of your way.
- Contribute to solving problems and getting things done.
- Express appreciation and gratitude.
- Make requests with patience and without demand or criticism.
- Be first to offer gestures of peace and repair.
- Take responsibility for your mistakes and make genuine amends.
- Do something just because it would make your partner happy.
- Listen, remember and show that you care about what’s important to your partner.
- Speak and act with care.
- Approach conflict and disagreement with willingness to appreciate the other’s perspective.
Making a commitment to connecting in kindness may not be enough in all cases to save every marriage but without making a commitment to connecting in kindness the marriage has no real chance of being saved. Love may seem effortless and easy in the beginning but keeping love alive over a life time requires a commitment to a consistent quality of friendly, generous, consideration. In one powerful, magical, healing word, kindness, the key to making love last.
11) Self-reflection and accountability
“Self-reflection and accountability are vital to saving a marriage on the verge of divorce. Consistent examination and ownership of one’s thoughts and behaviors, and its impact on the marriage, is necessary for a relationship to heal and grow. An environment without this can lead to finger-pointing, resentment, and even irreparable damage.”
12) 3 tips to have a Highly Happy Marriage
- Understand the interactive conflict cycle and learn how to break it.
- Learn how to successfully deal with your differences and the real issues in your relationship with 100% honesty and respect and
- Learn how to develop the “honeymoon habit” in your relationship.
I know, that is quite the mouthful. Obviously, each of these skill-based disciplines would take some time to unwrap. But these disciplines are what it takes to develop a highly happy marriage.
Following these tips is definitely going to stop couples from getting a divorce over trivial marital issues and help them resolve their conflicts in a constructive way
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
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