Most people in troubled marriages would prefer to work it out rather than get divorced. In fact, they are often desperate to do whatever they can to prevent divorce from taking place altogether. Granted, divorce may seem like a relief if things have gotten really bad. It seems like an easy way to just be done with the whole mess!
Sadly, it’s not that easy. The divorce process can take quite a long time. It is often emotionally as well as physically draining, and it can take a serious toll on your finances. If children are involved, it can be devastating to them. This is why it is often better to prevent divorce if there’s anything about your marriage that makes it worth saving.
If the possibility of divorce has come up in your marriage, but you would like to prevent it, keep reading for some helpful tips to turn your marriage around. Remember as your read these, however, that it’s up to you to change. You can’t expect or demand that your spouse changes first, or at all. It’s up to you. Also, it’s a win-win situation if you change, because either he or she will make positive changes in response to yours, or you will feel better about yourself regardless and be better equipped for your next relationship if this one does end in divorce.
First, if you truly want to prevent divorce, you need to stop disagreeing and/or fighting with your partner and agree with them instead. Don’t try to defend yourself or justify things you have said or done that your spouse doesn’t like. Look for the truth in your spouse’s words and agree! Yes, agree. Agreeing with someone rather than getting defensive can be very disarming. They will often back down and be more receptive to a constructive conversation.
For example, if your spouse complains that you constantly nag, chances are there is truth in that statement. So, rather than react, you might respond with, “You’re right. I probably do sound like I’m nagging when I am frustrated and I feel like you aren’t listening.” By agreeing, you may find that your spouse backs down and recognizes that you are truly listening, not to mention taking ownership, and those two things are very powerful if you want to prevent divorce.
Second, if you want to prevent divorce, lighten up for awhile. This won’t be easy but it can be effective. When couples are on the brink of divorce, every conversation can become strained and heavy. Often one or both partners will withdraw from talking altogether because it simply takes too much emotional energy. If you can keep your interactions upbeat and light for awhile, and avoid intense or heated conversations, it will take tremendous pressure off the relationship.
Third, to prevent divorce, take some time and consider how your actions or words may have been contributing to your marital problems. It’s very easy for couples in a strained marriage to start blaming the other person for the problems in the relationship. But it’s never all one person – both of you have contributed to the problems.
Write down your problems and share what you’ve discovered with your partner. This may mean swallowing your pride, but would you rather prevent divorce or continue in the conflict? If your partner recognizes that you are willing to begin taking full ownership of your issues and mistakes, he or she may begin to see you in a more positive light and become more receptive to working on the marriage. Once the doors to communication are open you can begin working through conflict and healing your marriage.
These are just a few things you can do to prevent divorce, but they can make a significant difference. Don’t wait for your partner to make the effort – do it yourself and you may be surprised at the results!