According to statistics at least forty percent of all marriages end in divorce in the United States. The divorce rate for second and third marriages is even higher than that. Divorce generally has a negative emotional impact on both partners in the marriage, and any children they may have. So what can you do to ensure that your marriage doesn’t end in divorce? Well, there are many things you and your partner can do to help make sure your marriage is one that lasts the distance.
Sadly, marriages sometimes die. What begins as a loving relationship slides into a daily ritual of fights and arguments. Trivial misunderstandings get magnified into do-or-die issues, and worsen the situation. When communication deteriorates to this point, it can have a very negative impact on your relationship.
1. Effectual Interaction
Many marital rifts are caused by miscommunications. Anger and resentments can build up when couples fail to communicate effectively. When you converse with your spouse, understand that communicating is as much about listening as it is talking. As you listen to what your partner has to say, it’s important that you try to maintain an impartial attitude. When you are talking, endeavor to express your own feelings fairly and confidently. Trust and honesty are the keys to great communication in a marriage.
How important is your marriage to you? In order for a marriage to have a chance of working, both partners have to be committed to making it succeed. Commitment means cultivating your marriage in order for it to grow. If you love your spouse, make sure you show it to them in little ways. Be pleased when your spouse achieves an objective. At more difficult times, be there to offer emotional support. Set aside time to be alone together without any distractions. Join in shared activities, even if that just means going out for a walk together. Laugh with your partner about silly things, and show your appreciation for the things they do for you. If you are devoted to your marriage, you’ll form a solid emotional bond with your spouse.
3. A Little Romance
Some couples end up getting divorced because at least one of them feels that all of the romance has gone out of their relationship. If your spouse feels more like a roommate than a lover, things can turn stale rather quickly. Therefore it is important to save time for romance in your relationship, even when your schedule is really hectic. Go on dates with your spouse, even if that just means having dinner at a local restaurant. Buy your spouse small gifts occasionally, cook them their favorite meal, and remember to tell them they are loved on a regular basis.
4. Argue Evenhandedly
Arguments are an inevitable and normal consequence of human interaction. All couples have their disagreements, especially the ones with healthy relationships. When each partner is equitable with the other, arguments can actually be good for a relationship. The key to a healthy argument is maintaining respect for your spouse’s point of view, even though you may not agree with it. That means you cannot discard, criticize, or mock your spouse’s opinion. Instead listen to what your partner has to say objectively, and politely express your own opinion on the matter. If at any time during the disagreement you begin to feel annoyed, take some time out to calm down before resuming the conversation.
5. Your Own Interests
Marriage does not mean that either partner ceases to be an individual. In a healthy marriage, both spouses continue to devote time to their own hobbies and interests. If couples spent all of their time together, they’d drive each other insane. Don’t be afraid to spend time alone doing the things that make you happy, and pursuing your favorite pastimes. When you reconnect with your spouse, you will both have something new to talk about.
6. No Resentments
Too many feelings of resentment can be disastrous for a marriage. Most couples say hurtful things to each other at some point, and we all make mistakes. Hence there will be times when your spouse’s behavior makes you angry. If you feel angry at your spouse, find a positive way to express the irritation you feel. Once you have expressed the anger, put the incident behind you. Bottling up anger is not good for relationships, and storing up little grudges as ammunition for future arguments is unfair.
7. Doing much more for the family
Do you feel you’re doing much more for the family than your spouse? Remember, there’s absolutely no reason to compare yourself against your partner, or compete on any level with a spouse. Such contrasts only serve to magnify differences and widen the cracks in your already strained relationship. Does it really matter who is more tired, or makes more money? Both of you deserve a break. So focus instead on exploring ways to support each other in a way that benefits both.
8. Immediate arguing
Do you immediately start arguing with your partner whenever something makes you angry or upset? The feelings and emotions behind them are often more important than the actual words that were spoken. How strange it is that we teach our children to count to ten before they speak, but don’t think about practicing it in our own interactions as adults! When you pause to do so, you’ll realize that what happened wasn’t really such a big deal to you. This will stop you from saying something that might wound or hurt your spouse. Most bickering stops instantly when you get a slightly different perspective on these vexing issues by just being a little more patient.
9. Using excuses
Are you using excuses to justify your mistakes? Some people keep rationalizing their actions by saying things like “I can’t help it” or “That’s just the way I am”. Well, there’s a fine line between retaining your personality and using such justification for inadequate social skills, especially when it comes to interactions with your marital partner. You can change in a subtle way without compromising on your innate character, and that begins with taking responsibility for your actions and refusing to blame the way you were brought up, or have been all through your life.
Marriages like this are on the fast track towards a crisis. Almost invariably, a divorce looms large somewhere in the future. But all is not lost. It is still possible to turn things around with some determination and disciplined effort. It’s time to ask yourself some tough questions.
Making a commitment to change is difficult. But it is not impossible. In the ultimate analysis, what governs your choice is the priority you place on salvaging your marriage and how keen you are to save the dying relationship.