The best way to avoid getting a divorce is not waiting to seek help when things are not going well. In my profession a lot of couples decide to come in for counseling as a last resort. It should be the first. It is difficult to help a marriage if there is so much anger that neither spouse is willing to listen to the other. There needs to be positive interaction before each can feel safe to share how they are feeling. If blaming is predominant it is impossible to share because neither spouse is listening. They are shut down.
Learning to communicate, listen and validate the other person is essential in building safety. Doing those things are tough if you have not been taught the skills to do them. I always tell couples you can leave the relationship, but you still take you with you. You will just take your baggage with you to the next relationship. Better to stay and try and work it out.
The DNA of Relationships, by Gary Smalley, is a great book that identifies ways to build a strong marriage. We all have core fears and we react to those fears when we are triggered by events or people. If we grew up in an unsafe environment then we will view our relationship with others as unsafe. It is a subconscious belief that we usually are not even aware that we have. It is destructive and it effects the way we see our world.
Drs. John and Julie Gottman identify the 4 predictors of divorce and calls them “The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse”. They are criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. These are all signs of dysfunctional interaction in relationships. If you are experiencing any of these then it is a sign that your marriage is in trouble. Get some professional help.
If you want to avoid divorce, treat your spouse with love and respect. Don’t have unrealistic expectations and don’t expect them to make you happy. They make mistakes and we can’t fall apart every time they let us down.
Good relationships don’t just happen. It takes work to build solid, lasting, secure, and loving marriages. Use the resources available to empower you and your spouse and do the things you need to do to heal your relationship. It will be worth it.
Vickie Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
To read more of my blogs or make an online counseling appointment visit my web site @ vickiemft.com