Perhaps you have witnessed a friend going through a divorce and are fearful of a similar fate. Or maybe the “routine” fights are getting a little out of hand. Whatever made you click on this article, now that you’re looking to divorce-proof your marriage, you’ve already taken a step in the right direction.
But, how exactly do you go about trying to divorce-proof your marriage, when the only thing you can currently agree on is the fact that you drive each other nuts? Is “till death do us part” really an achievable goal?
Though the entire journey is never going to be smooth-sailing (is there anything in life that ever is?), it’s definitely possible to go about divorce-proofing your marriage. No, it won’t require voodoo magic or some ancient spell. All it’ll take is a bit of communication and effort. Let’s take a look at how you can start doing so, the minute you’re done with this article.
9 Ways To Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
Can you divorce-proof your marriage? The thought has been looming in my mind since I received a WhatsApp text that read: “It’s over. We filed for divorce today.” It was from one of my closest friends, all of 32 years of age and in the 3rd year of married life. It had just been a month since some of us had gathered for her and Jason’s housewarming party.
Both of them were faring well professionally, their social media profiles were enviable, with numerous international check-ins, pictures of good times and some romantic statuses. Everything seemed great, and there were no warning signs of divorce. They fought a lot, that’s true, but then again, which couple does not have spats that are sometimes loud and crude? But divorce? We hadn’t seen it coming.
If a divorce can happen in such a perfect marriage, then a divorce can happen to anyone. Spats do not lead to divorce, or do they? Is there a way to divorce-proof a marriage?
As it turns out, divorce-proofing your marriage isn’t really as hard as you may think it is. No mantra makes marriages work; no one shoe fits us all. However, certain things are common to most marriages, and if you could pay some attention to these 9 points, you could be divorce-proofing your marriage. Let’s discuss them in detail.
Related Reading: 15 Most Common Reasons For Divorce
1. How to divorce-proof your marriage: spend time apart from each other
According to the APA, 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce. If you want to divorce-proof your marriage, the first thing you must realize is that being married doesn’t mean you must always, physically, be with your partner.
Sure, on paper, marriage is about two people discovering each other and spending time together. But you already know quite well that it can be challenging to keep a marriage going if both the spouses are joint at the hip all the time. You two must spend time apart so that you value the time you spend together.
Personal space in a relationship holds it together. No, it doesn’t necessarily mean you two must start taking solo trips. Taking some personal space can be as easy as spending a weekend apart, or just finding time for yourself on a lazy Thursday.
2. Ditch the mental scorecard
There is no marriage that doesn’t have its share of arguments and fights. Many of us like to keep a score of “I was right” as well as the “I told you so” we callously spew out. Either way, keeping a scorecard on how many times you ended up being “right” can be detrimental to any relationship and marriage is no exception.
Choose happiness over winning, be the first to drop an argument and focus on what matters the most to you. I agree, it’s easier said than done. But one of the biggest marriage tips anyone can ever give you is that you’re in it not to “win” arguments, but to settle on mutually beneficial solutions.
3. Keep finances in check
Financial conflict can wreak havoc on even the strongest of marriages. When two people are committed to each other, they should be able to discuss financial matters without either of the spouses feeling defensive or edgy. More importantly, there should be complete transparency on finances in a marriage.
No hidden assets or accounts, no lying about money troubles either. Keeping any income or debt a secret from your spouse amounts to financial infidelity. Remember, you’re a team working toward common goals together.
While I was working full time, I was earning quite a lot, but when I quit to take care of my two little angels, we had to work on a new equation of spending and saving. Both partners must be adaptable to such changes while looking to divorce-proof your marriage. Revisiting your financial status every few weeks will help you feel more in control of your relationship.
4. Discover things you mutually enjoy doing
Looking for ways to save your marriage from divorce? It can be as simple as developing a shared interest in mini-golfing or coin collecting. Alright, maybe not something as lame as those things, but you get the point.
Try out new things, share each other’s passions and discover your mutual interests. It can be tough to find happiness together at first, but gradually, you do. And then there are a host of new things that can be tried out, which both of you may end up loving.
It also helps if you and your spouse know each other well before entering into matrimony. Experts agree that the likelihood of marriages surviving the fear of divorce is higher if a couple has dated long enough before taking their relationship to the next level.
A study indicates that couples who date up to two years before getting married are 20% less likely to get divorced as compared to those who dated less than a year. The likelihood of divorce goes down by 39% if the duration of the relationship before marriage was three years or more. Signs of an unhappy marriage can often be elusive, so keep an eye out.
Another doctoral thesis supports this trend, suggesting that couples who rush into marriage in the first six months of dating are at the highest risk of getting divorced. When you can truly say that you know who your partner is, yours might just go a step closer toward being a divorce-proof marriage.
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5. But also pursue your own interests
While it is important to do things that you love as a couple, pursuing personal interests is also equally vital in the process of figuring out how to divorce-proof your marriage. The idea that you can divorce-proof your marriage by doing things that keep you apart can sound counter-productive, but these pursuits fuel a basic sense of self-love and gratification.
Doing something that you love brings you joy and keeps you feeling good about yourself, and only a person who feels content with themselves can work toward harmony in a relationship. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. This way you do not feel lost in a life where you are only expected to fulfill the desires of your spouse and family.
Marriage brings about a lot of changes in the lives of both men and women. Keeping an old passion alive by pursuing it actively and making time for it no matter what helps you connect with an old part of yourself and thus you do not suffer from a sense of identity loss.
6. The age old marriage tip: divide the chores equally
Honestly, all it takes to be closer to the “divorce-proof marriage” label is harmony at home. And one of the best ways to achieve that is to divide the chores and make sure you pull your own weight.
Plus, one of the best ways of showing affection is taking over your spouse’s chores for the day, giving them the day off. If that doesn’t scream out love in a marriage, we don’t know what does.
7. Talk about things other than the kids and bills
This is one of the best ways to save your marriage from divorce. There will be days when you have nothing to talk about except the kids, bills, and lost sleep. My kids are just a year and a half apart, so for five straight years, we had almost no social life. Not many friends came visiting and we were often too tired to take two babies anywhere.
We’d talk about baby food, baby poop, baby vaccinations and the monthly bills. It was only after I listened to one of my friends talking about the same problems that I decided to make it a point to talk to my husband about something other than these two things. This is one of the key factors that decreases your likelihood of divorce.
I started discussing politics with him, we started talking about new cars, the next vacation, and so on. We’d discuss things that were neither concerning the baby nor the extended family.
Discussing things apart from just the humdrum of life will help your exponentially. Go ahead, schedule a date night and give it a try. You can thank me later.
8. Take care of yourself
This is extremely important not just to divorce-proof your marriage but also if you’re exploring how to cheat-proof your marriage. I do not expect my husband to feel attracted to me if every time he looks at me, he sees a sleep-deprived, wide-eyed monster. Or he comes near, and I smell of milk, pee, and poop.
I like to dress up for him, put on some make-up and greet him with a smile. Similarly, he works out to keep his muscles, because he knows I like his well-formed physique. Both of us want to keep feeling attracted to each other and keep the spark alive, so we do take care of our appearances. This is how it works; we take care of ourselves, to take care of our marriage. This also gives each of us the message that we do not take each other for granted.
As a rule of thumb, it is a good practice to get out of those sweatpants and PJs, put a little effort into grooming your appearance to convey a sense of desire in the marriage. It may seem like an awful lot of work in the beginning, but you’ll be surprised to realize that it works wonders for your self-esteem too.
Related Reading: 12 Characteristics Of A Successful Marriage
9. There are no ‘rules’ on having sex
The Internet is flooded with information on intimacy between a couple. From what is ideal sex to how many times a couple should have sex – you just have to look up, read and feel depressed. So while I told my husband that the web says we should have sex at least thrice a week — we were having a go perhaps once a month! — he laughed and said if I am ready, he is too.
And I realized, I wasn’t. With two babies in tow, sex was just off my mind. It was then that I realized that those figures do not suit our marriage and we were good the way we are. While it’s alright, recommended even, to explore ways to keep your relationship sparkling fresh and prevent a marriage from failing, you don’t have to feel pressured to follow every last bit of advice to the T.
Unless you’re stuck in a sexless marriage, there is no need to feel alarmed. Take what works for you, tweak the tips and guides to suit your circumstances and guiltlessly toss away what doesn’t work for you.
While I jot these lessons down today, I hope you use some of them in your marriage and let us know if things improve for you. Or let us know if there is something else that can be done to divorce-proof your marriage. The motive stays the same, walk to the finish line holding hands.
To keep a marriage from failing, the fundamentals of any relationship, namely, mutual respect, trust, open communication, personal space, boundaries, and of course, love, must be present. Conversations about financial matters will help you settle on future goals and healthy boundaries as well. Try to prioritize quality communication and don’t be afraid to seek a session or two from a marriage counselor when things aren’t going too well.
Theoretically, a toxic marriage can be saved with the help of marriage counseling, but a resolute commitment toward becoming a more positive relationship must take center stage. Without committing to changing and being better people towards each other, no toxic marriage can be saved. Moreover, if the toxicity has resulted in physical/mental harm, regaining the trust and establishing mutual respect is usually a longer and more difficult process.
In cases where violence is not a part of the picture, pre-divorce counseling is usually legally mandated. With the help of such counseling, you may just be able to stop a divorce when you get to the root of all your issues and figure out what you must do to correct the problems.