Oh no… you and your spouse have been talking, and the dreaded word has come up: divorce. You may have known about this possibility for a while now, as divorce is typically preceded by a rather large amount of arguing, conflict, and other clear relationship issues that only make it harder for both individuals to continue the marriage.
While divorce is one option, it may not be the only option. You can do plenty of things to try to prevent the marriage from falling apart before considering divorce. If there are enough love and effort still reserved for the relationship, there is a good chance that you and your partner can make your marriage work. If divorce has crossed both of your minds but is not the solution that you are looking for, here are six steps to help you on your path of preventing a potential divorce.
Work Hard for Divorce Prevention (Prepare Yourself Mentally and Physically)
Marriage is both a union and a job. While you get to reap the benefits of being with the love of your life, you also have to deal with the real aspects of life, such as conflict, arguments, and disagreements. Although things may have been perfect when you first started the marriage, these issues are bound to arise. They serve as a test of whether or not you and your partner are willing to work together for the betterment of your marriage.
If you and your spouse are ready to get down to business regarding saving your marriage, actions speak louder than words. Both of you need to take a robust and serious action plan to ensure that divorce prevention steps are successful. In other words, if you and your partner want to rebuild and sustain a loving and supportive marriage, you must let go of excuses and get ready to put everything on the table. Change is only possible when you are putting in the time and the effort, and if you want to avoid divorce, this is what it takes!
Hold Yourself Accountable
When working with your partner to prevent a divorce, keep in mind that beginning with accusatory questions and statements will only make matters worse. This is why arguments within relationships only create further problems. They will not help solve the problems that initially instigated the fight. Instead of pointing the finger, approach your spouse with a sense of self-accountability. By doing, so, both you and your partner can see both sides. Placing blame is completely counterproductive when working on divorce prevention. While working through issues without placing blame, use positive reinforcement during your conversations to ensure your spouse is growing with you without feeling negative about you, themselves, or your marriage.
In addition to holding yourself accountable and avoiding blame, you should also keep resentment or judgment away from sit-downs with your spouse, as these are two other issues that can lead to more conflict. Remember, the only thing that you are responsible for within your marriage is yourself. If your partner is unable or unwilling to change, that is not your responsibility. The only thing that you can change to help the marriage is yourself, and that is what you should strive to do throughout your and your partner’s attempts to heal the marriage.
Effectively Communicate With Your Partner
Nothing is more detrimental to a broken or damaged marriage than speaking to your spouse negatively and condescendingly. This type of communication will only spur arguments and keep the resentment building until divorce may be your only option. Many individuals will allow their feelings to get better when speaking with their partners, which must be avoided if you wish to mend your relationship. Make sure to keep your tone and language positive and helpful, and seek to go into every conversation with the intent to listen, understand, and want to help your significant other. Your partner is just that, your partner. They are ultimately there to support you, and communicating effectively will aid you both while on your path together to repair your marriage.
This can often be the hardest aspect of repairing a relationship as you may have become accustomed to a certain way of speaking to your partner or may not have learned how to communicate effectively before marrying your spouse. If this is the case, make sure to do the research necessary to learn those skills and help your partner learn those skills to be successful moving forward.
Clean out the Closet
If you’re serious about working through your issues with your spouse, all of those old grudges you’ve locked in your mental attic must be cleaned out. Holding in resentment for past grievances is a surefire way to continue to instigate problems amongst each other. It will also likely bring you one step closer to divorce each time you engage with each other negatively. Make sure to dig through your past and pinpoint everything you and your partner are holding against each other. Once you’ve identified these things, you must then learn how to accept them and forgive your partner for doing them. Airing out your issues and taking a serious step to forgive will enable you both to move forward, not backward.
Get Serious About Doing Marriage Work
Although this ties into the first step, it is important that you are very serious about doing the work required to help save your marriage. Putting in the extra effort is necessary if you intend to be successful at divorce prevention, and you must be serious about it and undoubtedly committed to your marriage. Aside from the routine established with you and your spouse, put in extra effort on your own to continue your work as much as possible.
Working on divorce prevention requires the work of both people. However, there is nothing wrong with seeking out extra help for yourself and attempting to do your own work on the side that can help you with any issues that may be contributing to the way you interact with your spouse and within your marriage. This is often the hard part for those who have a past that includes some traumatic moments, but seeking help for these issues will ultimately help not only your marriage but your personal life and your future as well. You must be in a positive state to ensure you can give all you need to when working with your spouse. Always keep your side of the street clean, and by doing that, the progress made alongside your partner will be that much more successful. Regarding self-help, you should also be making sure that you are taking excellent care of yourself.
Seek Out Professional Help
The chances are that you can’t fix the problems yourself. You likely need to learn how to talk to each other, so you can start to move forward in your marriage. Talking to a licensed counselor may be able to alleviate many problems that are occurring in your marriage. The good news is that there are numerous programs and ways to fix communication and behavior to repair marriage bonds. Speaking with a nonbiased professional, such as a licensed counselor, is a powerful way for divorce prevention.
However, not everyone has access to reputable therapists in their area, and not everyone feels comfortable sitting in a waiting room with other people. This is where online counseling services like ReGain offer solutions. Unlike traditional face-to-face counseling, this is more private and suited to your needs. You can message a professional at all times, and they can work with you or your spouse in the comfort and privacy of your own home. It is also quite affordable compared to face-to-face counseling prices.
Below are reviews of ReGain counselors from married couples experiencing similar issues.
“My wife and I felt like we were heading toward divorce. Troubles were growing, and we didn’t know how or where to start fixing things. This gave us a place to start, and Nancy built upon our progress. Thank you so much!”
“Cris Roman saved my marriage. His therapy approach taught my husband and me the skills we needed to change the way we communicated and how we understood each other. He is very non-judgemental and helps each person make sense of others’ feelings and actions without taking sides or placing blame. His ability to make you feel heard while helping you to see and understand why your significant other is acting a certain way is phenomenal.”
Marriage is a special bond between two people that must be nurtured and respected, and you probably already know the seriousness of making the vows that you did with your husband or wife. Love did exist at one point, and while things may seem grim, the truth is you can recover from mistakes and conflicts with the right tools to guide you through the process. In today’s world, divorce is a common reality that many couples and families face. By taking these steps seriously, you and your spouse will have a much better chance to combat a deteriorating relationship (or continue to strengthen a healthy relationship). Working together, you and your spouse will be on the road to successfully preventing divorce. Take the first step.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the three main causes of divorce?
There could be several reasons for a divorce between you and your partner. The three most common factors are lack of commitment, infidelity, and conflict/arguing. The larger “final straw” reasons for divorce that often lead to divorce are infidelity, domestic abuse, and substance abuse.
Can I refuse to give my husband a divorce?
If you want to avoid divorce, you can refuse to sign the divorce papers. However, this won’t stall the divorce proceedings for long. If you refuse to sign the papers, your husband can file a request to enter a default divorce. When this happens, you are served the divorce papers formally, and there is a court hearing. If you don’t show up for the hearing, your husband will most likely be granted the divorce with all of his terms spelled out. Meaning he could get full custody of the children or any other terms he listed in his contested divorce. If you want to save your marriage and avoid divorce, consider asking your spouse if they are willing to work on the marriage through counseling.
What to do when you don’t want a divorce?
Couples who have considered divorce find that counseling has helped them navigate, and sometimes save, their marriage. If your partner is unwilling to work on the marriage, then no state can make you or your spouse remain married. Sure, you can delay the divorce in hopes of reconciliation, but it can become unethical to do so. You are paying a lawyer for his time, so not only would it be costly to have them extend it as long as possible, but asking them to delay a case without good cause goes against lawyers’ ethical procedures. You can avoid divorce by talking with your partner before divorce papers are filed, but after they are, you only have a couple of months until the divorce is finalized. Most importantly, the divorce will not go away on its own. It will proceed, with or without you.
At what age is divorce most common?
Marriages end in divorce most commonly at 30 years of age, with 60% of all divorces involving people between 25 years and 39 years of age.
Statistically, wives are the ones who file for divorce at a 66% higher rate than husbands. Professions that most commonly lead to divorce include dancers and bartenders. Meanwhile, farmers and members of the clergy have the lowest divorce rates.
Divorce is different and can come at various times for every couple. Some couples go through cycles where divorce may be discussed, and then problems are solved through counseling or therapy. Then new problems may arise. Your specific situation may not necessarily fit the statistics.
What year of marriage is divorce most common?
The median duration of marriages for men is 7.8 years, while for women, it is 7.9 years. Statistics on divorce may find that the second marriage ends after 7.3 years for men and 6.8 years.
If you are coming up on your eighth anniversary and having problems, it might be best to seek counseling with your partner before your marital problems lead to divorce. About 1% of married same-sex couples get divorced every year, while approximately 2% of married opposite-sex couples get divorced every year. According to research by Bowling Green University, the divorce rate among people 50 years of age and older has doubled in the last 20 years. Divorce statistics can change often and contain many nuances, so consider seeking out statistics specific to your situation if you want to compare to others.