So let’s recap. Previous reasons for couples divorcing included cheating; including adultery and keeping secrets, skewed power roles; one person has too much or too little power, arguing; couples who argued at home had more heated arguments and escalations of abuse, lack of control; couples fail to control certain behaviors that greatly disturb each other, and finally the lack of sex in marriages helped contribute to the failure of the relationship. Their advice was to not cheat, create power zones, argue in public, control what you can control, and have sex (with each other!). Here are a few more helpful and practical tips.
Tip#6: Lose the “Me” and Practice the “Us”. Many times a spouse will say “I deserve to be happy” and have the attitude that the marriage should benefit him or her, advance him or her, etc. When these needs are not fulfilled the person feels betrayed. They feel they did not sign up for bad times, they only signed up for the good times. This type of attitude will lead to failure. Everyone DOES deserve to be happy, but when the marriage becomes secondary to self-happiness there is a problem. There are always three in a marriage; you, your partner, and the marriage. The marriage should always be primary. This does not mean neglecting your own needs but it does mean taking care of yourself for the marriage and your partner taking care of him or herself for the sake of the marriage. In this way it is likely the marriage will flourish.
Tip #7: Be a Spouse, Not a Parent. One spouse may say “he acts like such a child” or “she acts like my mother”. If you are the “child” in the marriage you need to change your role. You are not a kid so why would you want to be treated as such? You need to resolve your insecurities and stop patterning yourself as a passive in the relationship. Your partner needs you to be an equal. On the flip side, if you are a “parent”, then you need to change your role as well. Your partner already has a mom or a dad so stop trying to be one. A relationship means “relating” to each other on an equal playing field. Successful relationships come from a balance, not from one person wearing the pants. Find that balance!
Tip #8: Random Acts of Kindness. Sure it is nice to be kind to strangers but try it on your spouse first. You will be shocked by how little niceties will benefit your relationship. Send your spouse a nice text message asking them how their day is going or write them a note and leave it on their car seat. If you are not “sentimental” per se, then get a card and give it to your partner. Make sure you do these things when it is not a special occasion. When your spouse is not expecting anything, then that is the best time to do something nice. Helping out around the house is also another way to help your partner out. In addition, when you hear your partner pulling into the driveway, go greet them and help them with the groceries! Every action elicits a reaction. Soon you will have a cycle of niceties and your relationship will be glowing with happiness!
Tip #9: Reconnect. Many divorcing couples speak about “growing apart” or “not knowing each other anymore”. Your kids should not be the center of your universe and neither should your work; if this is the case, then your need to reprioritize your life. Find a babysitter and go out with your spouse. Do not talk about work or the kids. This time is just for reconnecting with each other again. You need to stay connected without letting life’s distractions tear your relationship apart. If you neglect your relationship, it is likely it will crumble. Stay connected with the one you love.
Is there any one way to keep your marriage from falling apart? NO. But following these tips from divorcing couples will help you maintain a strong relationship. It is not just one, but all of these tips working together to create harmony in the relationship. Try your best to incorporate these into your marriage, especially if the warning signs are there and put your marriage first.