6 Steps To Prevent Divorce
By Ashley Brown
Updated February 11, 2020
Reviewer Wendy Galyen, LCSW, BC-TMH
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 serve to make it harder for both individuals to continue in the marriage.
While divorce is one option, it may not be the only option. There are plenty of things you can do to try to prevent the marriage from falling apart, before considering divorce. If there is 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 to Prevent Divorce (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 the steps to prevent divorce 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 to prevent divorce. 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 you and your partner's attempts to heal the marriage.
Effectively Communicate With Your Partner
There is nothing more detrimental to a broken or damaged marriage than speaking to your spouse negatively and condescendingly. This type of communication will only serve to spur arguments and keep the resentment building, until divorce may be your only possible option. Many individuals will allow their feelings to get the better of them when they are speaking with their partners, and this is something that 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 wanting 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 also to do the research necessary to learn those skills and to help your partner learn those skills so that you can 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 sure fire 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 that 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 Making 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 prevent divorce, 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 to prevent divorce 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. In regards to self-help, you should also be making sure that you are taking excellent care of yourself.
Seek Out Professional Help
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, in order to repair bonds in a marriage. Speaking with a nonbiased professional, such as a licensed counselor, is a powerful way to prevent divorce.
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 your 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 approach to therapy taught my husband and I the skills we needed to change the way we communicated and the way we understood each other. He is very non-judgemental and helps each person make sense of the 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 prevent divorce. Take the first step.