It’s a sad fact but true: About 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. Of course, on the day you get married you never expect to be in the half that do get a divorce. But chances are 50/50 that you will. So what can you do to make the odds more favorable? Here are some suggestions to help you have a long and happy marriage.
Hang out with your partner. Yup. Just hang out. Relax. Spend some time just talking with each other. Really talking, not just exchanging logistical info, like who should pick up the kids and what to add to the grocery list. Make an appointment to have regular talks in a relaxed and non-stressed atmosphere. Really talk about things like your hopes and dreams. And remember to update each other. Dreams can change and new ones emerge.
Pursue your passions. A fulfilled human being makes a happy and interesting person, and that makes you a better partner. If you give up hobbies and interests you have for the sake of your marriage (or for any reason) then you will short-change yourself, and, ultimately, your spouse. Not to mention the resentment that will build and fester inside you if you give up what you love. So find a way to fulfill your desires and support your spouse in fulfilling his, too.
Learn to manage conflict. Some things are worth fighting about. Some things aren’t. Try to discern what’s really important to you before you call your partner on it. Edit yourself, in other words, because you may find some things are not worthy of your wrath in the long run. However, that is not to say you should avoid conflict. Couples who avoid it at all costs are often the ones headed for divorce. If you do let something slide and it continues to trouble you, you must bring it up. You must not stay silent, especially if that silence compromises of your values. Over time, you’ll learn when and how to confront your partner.
Keep the conversation going. Even in the midst of an argument, it’s a good idea to make sure you maintain open communications. Always be ready to listen with your whole heart and mind to what your partner has to say. Make a real effort to walk in his shoes. Ask for clarification if you don’t fully understand what he’s trying to get across to you. Do not succumb to the temptation of punishing your partner with the silent treatment—it doesn’t solve anything. Nor do threats. Only a sincere effort to connect with love and understanding will do.
Take an honest look at yourself. Before you accuse your partner, look at what’s going on inside yourself. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Even you. So take responsibility for your actions and accept that you may have caused at least part of the problem. Blaming your partner for everything is not helpful. Be adult enough to look at your situation objectively.
Seek counseling when appropriate. A qualified therapist can help you identify and break toxic patterns of behavior in your relationship. A therapist can help you explore problems with a fresh, positive perspective and discover new ways to handle conflict, improve communication and rebuild a solid relationship.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact