When a couple's marriage starts to become emotionally stressful, one of the spouses usually tries to figure out how to prevent divorce. Most people assume that they need to take drastic measures, such as a lavish weekend getaway or going straight to a marriage therapist to save their marriage.
While doing those things has their place in a relationship, you might want to start out with a more practical approach with how to prevent divorce. Chances are your marriage will benefit with everyday habits you can easily adapt into your daily routine. Consider the following:
# 1: Fight To Resolve, Not To Hurt
One of the biggest ways to assess the health of a marriage is in the way a couple argues. If they have the habit of fighting to inflict emotional damage instead of resolving an issue, then this will greatly reduce the survival rate of their relationship.
This usually starts with opening the discussion with a personal attack or criticizing one's spouse (e.g. "You're so selfish!", "Why can't you get things right?"). It then triggers an equally hostile reaction from the other person, creating a back and forth cycle of conflict.
The best way to counteract this trend is by making the first move to be more tactful towards your partner. Even if your partner might push your buttons, you don't have to obey your urge to fire back.
Instead, try counteracting their harsh words by positively framing your emotions.
The best way to do this is by making a complaint about the situation at hand, and then state your emotions. Notice that this doesn't include blaming your partner for the problem nor imply that you're better than them. Here's an example:
"The trash has been in our kitchen for a day now, and I'm feeling upset because it hasn't been taken out like you said you would. It's really important to me that we have a clean house so I'd really appreciate it if you helped me with that."
#2: Create Positive Emotions
The other problem that leads to divorce is a negative mindset towards one's spouse as well as the marriage as a whole. Fighting to hurt is also partly to blame here, but it's also rooted in unsolvable conflicts that all couples have.
If you want to know how to prevent divorce, a good way to get started is by fostering the habit of using compliments and praise. This is very simple to do – you just need to actively look for good things that your spouse does and verbalize your observations to him or her.
Admittedly, this can be very difficult if you've been feeling upset with your partner. Nevertheless, you need to work through your resentment and use kind words which will encourage your partner to be more loving and supportive.
Make a personal daily list of the things (your smartphone or pen and paper will do) you love about your spouse and let them know at least one item from your collection once a day.
It may not seem like much at first, but these "little things" accumulate over time. For example, you point out the following:
"I can't keep my hands off of you whenever you wear that cute little outfit to the office!"
"I love how you always make me coffee in the morning even though you haven't had anything yourself yet."
"You always know how to make me laugh when I get stressed out over work."
"Thank you for taking care of me and the kids."
#3: Find a Way Out Of Conflict
Remember the unsolvable conflicts I mentioned in the last tip? Aside from creating negative feelings in your marriage, your long-standing issues can also create a gap as the months and years go by.
Eventually, this will poison the relationship if you don't learn how to compromise. This usually begins when a couple can't deal with their personality differences.
One person in the relationship might be an introvert while the other is an extrovert. In other cases, one spouse might tend to be frugal while the other likes to spend more lavishly. Whatever it is, this can generate a lot of friction if you allow it.
To manage the conflicts that arise from these factors, the first step is to accept there are some aspects of your spouse that you can never change. It greatly helps to adjust your mindset in the sense that you need to look at it like a chronic physical condition, such as a bad back.
The next step is to discuss with your spouse about your innermost desires that are related to your disagreements. To give you a better idea, let's say that a couple is always fighting over money. If the more frugal partner grew up in a household where finances were limited, that explains why he or she has the habit of saving up more rather than spending like the other person in the marriage.
Everyone has their motivations behind their position on marital issues, so it's your job as a couple to uncover why you're on opposite sides of certain matters. In particular, it helps to discuss how your childhood experiences have influenced your mindset.
It will be difficult to go through this, but you can gradually do it over the course of several discussions. You'll find that it will be much easier to come to a mutually satisfying compromise when you understand each other on a deeper level.
In the end, you don't have to take huge steps if you want to learn how to prevent divorce. By starting out slowly and surely, you'll eventually chip away at your marital problems until you make major breakthroughs down the road.