Most people are familiar with the scary fact that nearly 50% of all first marriages end in divorce — and the likelihood of breakdowns in second marriages and third marriages is even higher (60% and 70%, respectively).
However, a fact that is far less known — i.e. it’s not advertised and proclaimed on giant business banner signs for all to see — is that most spouses spend two years thinking about divorce before they ultimately head for the exit.
If you’re married (or in a common-law relationship), what does this mean to you? Well, it means that if you shouldn’t necessarily assume that everything is ideal if you and your spouse aren’t fighting and screaming with each other. Beneath the surface, your significant other may be asking “is this really working?”
Your task is to make sure that you know things are fine and headed in the right direction vs. assuming — because that may not be the case! To that end, here are three ways to prevent your happy marriage from heading to dreadful divorce court:
According to researchers, the number one cause of stress in relationships is money — which is typically the result of refusing to talk about money until a crisis forces it into the spotlight.
No, talking about money isn’t easy. But ask any divorce lawyer or family court judge, and they’ll immediately tell you that it’s a lot easier — and far cheaper — than going through divorce!
Give Each Other Space to Grow
Couples can spend so much time together, that they unintentionally start to stifle each other’s personal growth. Sometimes this is subtle, while other times it is overt — e.g. “You want to take a pottery class? Are you having a mid-life crisis or something?!”
This doesn’t mean that spouses need separate beds, separate rooms, or even separate vacations (although some relationship experts do recommend that from time to time!). Rather, it simply means that a marriage should enhance and augment each spouse’s identity — not suffocate their individuality.
What Happens at Work Stays at Work…most of the time
It’s difficult — and at times, impossible — for spouses to put up a wall that separates their experiences at work, to their attitudes and behaviors at home. After all, we’re talking about human beings here, not machines that can conveniently turn on, turn off, or reset at the touch of a button.
However, while this is indeed a challenge, it’s vital for you and your spouse to strive to keep work stuff (which is usually problems!) at work, so that your shared home life can be as harmonious as possible.
With this being said, it’s not a good idea to head to the other extreme and make talking about work completely off-limits. Sometimes, it’s helpful — or just necessary — to vent; especially if the situation is serious and could lead to some life-changing decisions (e.g. quitting a job, putting in for a transfer, etc.).
The Bottom Line
Famed motivational speaker and sales guru Zig Ziglar once said that “many people spend more time in planning their wedding than they do planning their marriage.” If you follow the above advice, then you’ll go a long, long way to putting your union on track for decades of happiness!