10 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
Current data indicates that when a couple gets married in the USA, there's pretty much a 50-50 chance the union will end in divorce (information from aboutdivorce.org). For second marriages, the rate is in the 60-70% range. Third marriages fare even worse. There may be debate as to the exact numbers, and the fact that many couples avoid marriage altogether tends to skew the data, but there's unanimity across the board when it comes marriage, it's an endangered species.
But don't be alarmed, statistics were meant to be broken. What, then can be done to divorce proof a marriage? And what can you, in particular, do when the future of their family is on the line? Here are ten ideas to help get you on your way:
1. Be faithful. Put your spouse at the top of every relational list you have. Love each other unconditionally and with every ounce of creativity you can muster. This may sound like a no-brainer, but the practice of faithfulness requires vigilance every day. Faithfulness is far more than a physical condition. If you're still unclear, ask yourself the following questions to who is #1:
- Who do I spend the most time with?
- Who is my primary emotional confidant?
- Who do I text most often?
- Who do I call?
- Who gets my emails?
- Who lights up my fantasy life?
2. Surround yourselves with strong relationships. When the couples around you separate or get divorced, then ending your marriage begins to look par for the course. Peer pressure doesn't let up just because we left high school.
- So make peer pressure your ally—and be deliberate about forging friendships with strong couples and people who live their commitment out loud.
- Put yourself in an encouraging place—Look around, ask yourself where marriage is valued and positive relationships are encouraged. If it's your local church, then get involved as a family and do what it takes to get the encouragement that we all need.
3. Get help. If you can take your car in for a 30,000 mile check up, then why not your marriage? Counseling can be preventative; it's not just for emergencies. Alternatively, join some kind of a support group where there is instruction, encouragement and accountability. We weren't created to live alone, and we don't have to solve our problems in a vacuum.
4. Take care of your finances. Money problems are the #1 cause for marital discord. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page financially, and then work hard to keep your heads above water.
5. Tell your spouse everything—be an open book. What's most important here is to be on the same page. Simply put, don't engage in activity that sets the relationship up for additional stress. Be sensitive to your spouse and be respectful of the boundaries you agree upon. If you meet attractive people at work, make sure your spouse is the first to know. If an old flame initiates a contact via email, share the conversation with your spouse. If you can't talk about it in the open, then you don't need to be doing it in the first place. Secrets are dangerous, period. Best friends talk about everything, and stuff that's out in the fresh air of communication won't have a dark placewhere it can grow mold.
6. Spend time together – relax and play. You got married because you wanted to be together—so be together already! Absence does NOT make the heart grow fonder; absence hurts. Hang out, play board games, go to dinner, garden, travel—you may fall in love all over again.
7. Date on a regular basis. Don't be boring; get creative. You wanted to wow your loved one back in the day—why stop just because you're married? Remind one another how cool it is to be together. Taking one another for granted is like death by slow poisoning. Really, you can do better.
8. Dream together. An ancient proverb says, "Without a vision, the people perish." Try sharing your hopes and dreams with your spouse. Then listen. Dreaming together puts a positive future right in the middle of your struggling present.
9. Make out. Did we really say that? Well, yes! If your spouse doesn't know that you still find them attractive, then do something about it ASAP. One of the primary reasons that men (and women) stray from their wedding vows is boredom. Don't be that person.
10. Be intentional about your relationship. Remember the story of the sheep, the thoughtless munchers who simply nibbled themselves lost? Relationships can be a lot like that. It's just an omission here, a slight there, a moment of indiscretion one day, a secret another. Nobody sets out to destroy a marriage—it just happens. Well who said it had to? Who decided that the primary relationship that anchors the family, the foundational building block of society, was less important than anything else in your life? Make a decision! Step up! Be intentional about making your marriage amazing.
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