Too many people enter into a marital union with the notion that if it doesn’t work they can simply leave and get a divorce. No fuss, no muss. But add children and child custody issues, division of marital property, in-laws, and friends, and it suddenly doesn’t look so simple. So are there simple steps to improve your marriage? Not every marriage is the same and reasons for divorce can vary, but there are things you can do to prevent divorce.
First Step to prevent divorce:
- Accept it won’t be easy.
If you have been married five or ten years it’s likely that you and your spouse have patterns of treating each other that may be detrimental to the relationship. It’s time to act your way into feeling. Show your spouse how you feel, starting with appreciation.
It’s also important to analyze your own actions and behaviors and clarify what you need to change. Admitting you may be part of the problem might be the first step. Remember why you married them and see if you can rekindle the respect you had for each other.
Second step to prevent divorce:
- Decide love is more than a feeling.
When you first meet your spouse it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the romance, excitement, passion, and sex. But anyone who has been married for more than a few months will tell you that love is a decision. You get up each day and choose to love your spouse, regardless of what they look like and what they can do for you.
Third step to prevent divorce:
- Make it fun again.
Next, find ways to make the marriage fun again. If kids have drained all of your energy or if you have not had date night in months, this is a good place to start.
I had a friend tell me that her husband told her that she was not any fun after she had kids.She had all of the usual excuses- tired, overworked, unappreciated- but he had a point. They had stopped putting each other first or making time for date nights. Hire a sitter, take a nap, take a shower, and go have fun like you did before you had kids. It’s a lot cheaper than hiring a divorce lawyer.
Fourth step to prevent divorce:
- Accept your spouse.
Loving someone should make each of us want to be the best we can be. Our spouse can encourage us and help us reach our goals, but when marriage becomes a laundry list of things to change about your spouse it’s not healthy.
For better or worse you married this person. Yes, they may lose ten pounds or decide they love football, but chances are what you see is what you get. Learn to appreciate what they do give to you and what they bring to the marriage.
Fifth step to prevent divorce:
- See things from their perspective.
It’s been said that most of us can accept anything if there is a rational explanation. Marriage is about trying to understand each other. If you have moved from accepting and giving each other the benefit of the doubt to being judgmental and offering advice, it’s time to take a step back and really try to understand how your spouse feels.
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