Since we handle a lot of divorces we see a lot the “wrong” things to do that lead to a divorce. Very rarely are we finding people who say “I really planned on getting a divorce.” No, most couples go into a relationship in the hopes that it will work…for the long term. Of course, many unforeseen circumstances lead to a divorce, but there are certain things that you can do to help reduce the odds of a costly divorce. Here are the 3 smart strategies we’ve seen for protecting your marriage.
- Say you’re sorry. Your mom was right when you were little. Whenever you hurt someone or did something to upset another person you were told “say you’re sorry…” Too often couples let pride get in the way of just saying sorry. Saying sorry can go a long way to break down walls and break down barriers that grow between a couple. We see so many little issues grow into significant issues simply due to one of the parties not saying sorry. This is usually due to some level of pride…but when it comes to protecting your family and your relationship saying you’re sorry can go a long way. Here’s a revolutionary thought…why not even consider saying sorry even if you don’t think you were in the wrong. Saying sorry is a good way of neutralizing the emotions and frustrations associated with a fight or argument.
- The Kids are the Most Important Thing…NOT! This is contrary to the conventional wisdom. We understand why people say that their children are the most important thing. Children are lovely, fun and bring us so much joy. However, you were a family before the children and you will remain as a family after the children are out on their own. If you keep your relationship with your partner at the forefront then you will be doing your children a huge favor. Children want predictability, stability and consistency. That doesn’t happen when the children have to suffer through a divorce. Recognize that working on your relationship is a huge way of helping the children. Too often we see one spouse focusing more on the children instead of the relationship with the other spouse. That leads to frustration, confusion and feelings of being ignored. It’s not that a focus on the children is unhealthy or wrong, but keep the priority of the relationship elevated so that you don’t forget the marital relationship first.
- It takes time. Growing a garden takes time. Growing a business requires time. Growing children requires time. Having a healthy marriage also takes time. It doesn’t just happen. When spouses stop spending time together they stop growing. When the relationship stops growing then problems arise. That’s when the weeds of life and the struggles choke out the love and commitment. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s difficult. Even when your time is diverted by other pursuits that, in and of themselves, aren’t bad or wrong, you stop the nurturing process of the relationship. Don’t get side tracked with other time consuming events to the point of forgetting to spend time with the one you love.
During our 20 plus years of handling family law cases these are three strategies you can start to use now to protect your marriage. These strategies don’t cost money…only dedication. Dedication is such a small price to pay for a successful marriage. It is also a lot less expensive than going through a divorce.