Soon, Gal and I are going to celebrate our 28 years of our life together. Every year that passes, we get more and more requests for our relationship program from people who are considering divorce. The good news is that they look for solutions before they “turn off the light and send the actors home”. The bad news is they are in an emotional turmoil and are very very unhappy.
If you have seen the movie Mrs Doubtfire or Kramer vs. Kramer, you have probably had a glimpse of what it means to divorce, although a movie cannot describe even a small portion of the emotional stress people go through when they think about separating.
The real problem is that the reasons people divorce do not just disappear after the divorce. In fact, there is a big chance they will give birth to more problems. If you are not happy with your marriage and think divorce will make you happier, think again. Chances are you have attributed the failure of the marriage to your spouse, but if it were only one person’s failure, life would be much easier.
Blaming someone else and trying to change the partner instead of working on yourself sounds like a convenient way to handle stress, but in fact becomes long term pain. Walking away only seems easy.
To save your marriage, the first step is to have realistic, reasonable expectations and demands regarding your marriage. If your expectations are irrational and unrealistic, you are likely to be disappointed and frustrated and unconsciously behave in a way that might lead to separation.
Another reason for divorce is the couple’s short memory. For some reason, the same loving couple that vowed to support each other “in sickness and in health” have lost the enthusiasm somewhere between the shopping, cleaning, going to work and raising kids. When I ask the couples about the most exciting days of their life, they look at each other with an embarrassed smile. They are so busy talking about the problems, they forget the blissful moments.
To save your marriage, the second step is to have constant reminders of your promises to each other. Keep working on the relationship so the joyful memory of your relationship will not fade with washing the dishes, cleaning and working hard.
Our modern society has indeed become a disposable society. We change jobs often, throw things away after buying new ones and move houses more than in the past, so changing relationships seems to many people like a modern trend. Partners consider divorce as a way of getting out of the routine. Living together with the same person seem boring and the need for excitement and change is missing. Marriage is not a computer game, and you cannot just press “escape”. Unfortunately, marriage has become such an easy procedure, people rush to get married and later on rush to call their lawyers and instruct them to initiate divorce proceedings.
To save your marriage, the third step is to make sure you have changes in your life in areas that are not so stressful. Make sure you fuel the excitement with romantic dates, surprises and holidays and leave divorce as a last resort.
The truth is that divorce has an ugly side to it and it is by far harder to do than to gain courage to save what deserves to be saved.
Relationships are like milk. It takes hours to milk the cow, but only a second to spill the bucket
– My mom
Divorce un-builds and undoes what takes years to nurture, and sadly, often the only people who benefit from it are greedy lawyers, who use every trick in the book to strip “the other side” of their assets, until no trace of the person’s investment – physical, monetary or emotional – remains.
We have divorced friends and many clients with broken marriages and it is sad that while the couples spend their mental energies accusing each other of causing hurt and disharmony in the union, they forget that their children suffer in double and triple dosages.
When I talk to them, they all understand that their kids’ emotional state is fragile and will be hard to mend later. When people go through a marriage break-up, they are stressed and fearful their kids’ needs are neglected. If you have kids and decide to make an effort to save your marriage, remember you are saving it for three or human beings.
In the next chapters of “Save your Marriage”, I will discuss the various aspects of marriage and examine ways to stop (or prevent) divorce and save (or enhance) your marriage. If you have any doubt, I want you to know it is possible. I have done it before.
I believe that happy couples are the foundation of every family and family matters!
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage