Avoiding Divorce

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This page is dedicated to helping couples learn how to save their marriage. The statistics below should scare you into wanting to save your marriage. Many couples fail to think about how many people are affected by a divorce.

The most important people affected by divorce are your children. If the two of you decide to divorce one another, who will be responsible for the emotional stability of the children? Many times children feel they did something wrong to cause the divorce. Sometimes they feel there was something they could have done to prevent the divorce, but they failed.

The negative affects of divorce, on your children, hurts everyone!

The positive affects, on your children, because of saving your marriage helps everyone!

It is hard work to repair the damage each of you has exacted on the other. But, if you work at saving your marriage every day, you will love the results. Below we have listed information to get you started on the right road. We also recommend both of you, together, get involved in marriage counseling. It really does work in helping you understanding yourself and your mate.

Learn to enjoy, again, loving each other every day of every year to come.

Here's some statistics that may put the sobering issue of divorce in perspective.

* Nearly half of all marriages that took place within the past ten years will end in divorce.
* Because marriages are more likely to fail in the early years, most children are young when their parents separate.
* Between 1940 and 1990, divorce rates have skyrocketed. During the decade of the 1970s, the divorce rate doubled. This was attributed to the change in laws, which made it easier to get divorced, and to the fact that the Baby Boomers came of age and were marrying and divorcing at record rates.
* 75% of men will remarry after divorce and 80% of women will remarry.
* Over 60% of second marriages end in divorce.
* Mothers retain custody of children in nearly 75% of divorce proceedings.
* Joint custody is awarded only 15% of the time.

And consider this study of over five thousand married adults, completed in 1988. The study included a representative sampling of all ethnic groups, age groups, income levels and family structures. Some had children - some did not.

Some had two incomes, some only one. Some lived in urban areas, some in rural or suburban areas. In short, the study looked at all types of people, marriages and situation. This study revealed that 645 people were unhappily married at the time of the study.

Of this group of five thousand, surveyed again five years later, those unhappily married individuals who declared defeat and filed for divorce were NO HAPPIER than those that stayed in the marriage and tried to work things out.

The study incorporated more than ten measurements of emotional balance and well-being and found that divorce did not help to raise self-esteem, decrease depression or improve one's sense of control over their lives.

Avoiding Divorce

Most of us WANT to stay married or we have tried to establish a committed relationship with a solid foundation.

For most, the love story started with great expectations. But, somehow, it got off track!

And, what was supposed to be a loving and solid, life-long bond, turned into a relationship filled with anger and silence or skirmishes, battles and disappointment.

If you really want to find an alternative to divorce and to get your relationship back on track, you must first be committed. BOTH OF YOU must want to save your marriage if this effort is going to be successful.

If there is still an abiding love between the two of you and if you can still find pleasure in one another's company, accept your spouse's flaws, and talk to each other, and if you can still show affection and love for your spouse, then you have a good chance!

It is sometimes hard to break the habits you have formed. But, if you want your marriage to work, you have to open the lines of communication.

Take off your protective armor and stop being defensive and try to LISTEN to what your spouse is saying.

Focus on forgiveness and put the past transgressions behind you. Make a commitment to start again and try to resolve the conflict and avoid the old mistakes.

Above all, learn the art of compromise. You will never meet ANYONE that exists only to satisfy your every need.

A successful relationship is a two-way street; there will be times when you or your spouse will need some special attention.

The loss of a job, or a family member, a period of depression or illness, a disappointment in your personal or professional life, or just plan "having a bad day" are all reasons to expect some loving care.

And in return, your spouse must see and respond to your bad days and the critical stressors in your life, as well.

While you are in the introspective mode, look at the financial situation in your family and ask whether financial stress is wreaking havoc with your marriage.

Are you short on money, trying to pay for college or elder care or surviving on one salary after one of you lost a job?

Does one person spend a lot of money shopping, gambling or buying things on credit?

Be honest about your problems.

Getting Your Marriage Back On Track

OK, so you've decided to get your marriage back on track and your spouse is just as committed!

Where do you start?

First, you have to get serious. Plan for undisturbed time alone. Send the kids to a relative or friend's house or go away for the weekend so you can talk in peace and quiet. Think of this as your retreat.

If your marital issues include a total lack of communication, you are going to find it hard to get started, but if you are really invested in the process, you'll get there!

Some couples choose to write things down in the first session so that they don't have to talk about all the details.

But, eventually you WILL have to talk about it. Whatever gets you started is fine. Just know that you need to get the point where you can talk things through!

It is likely that you've given a lot of thought to the things that really bug you about your spouse, but when you are suddenly faced with getting these things out in the open, you may draw a blank.

Be patient and give yourself some time to adjust to what is happening. You may have wished for this chance, but now that it is here, you'll have to think and speak carefully.

It is best to start by setting some ground rules for how you will discuss the issues. If you do this upfront, you won'’t have to mend fences when someone gets angry or defensive.

Consider these ground rules to get you started.

You can probably come with some others on your own!
1. Allow the other person to finish a thought or a sentence without interruption.
2. Don't make faces or sounds or act like you are judging each other. Just listen!
3. If you would like to clarify or disagree with something, do it with respect and don'’t raise your voice.
4. No physical signs of threat or angry outbursts!
5. Ask a lot of questions if you don't understand what the other person is saying - don't assume!
6. Keep your discussions between the two of you.
7. Always trust that your spouse is trying to do and say the right thing and only wants to rebuild the relationship. Don't get defensive or try to undermine the process.
8. Understand that both parties are hurt and confused and that sometimes they may say or do something to express that hurt or confusion. Try not to take it personally!
9. Always end the discussion by talking about your positive feelings toward each other and highlight the progress you've made. Talk about what you heard that surprised you, or that pleased you, or even the things you never knew and wished you had known before!
10. Agree on the next time you will talk and come to the next discussion with a calm and open mind. If you are not up to the discussion for whatever reason, ask for a break or reschedule it - but DO N’T PUT IT OFF as a delay tactic!

Add whatever ground rules you feel you need to address your personal situation.

Now that we have those ground rules in place, it is time to identify the issues. If you can do this dispassionately, you are quite a unique individual.

The purpose of getting the issues on paper is to be more objective about them and to use them as "talking points" when your discussion gets off track or becomes emotional.

Remember that the way you frame your issues must always include respect for the other person. Don't be accusatory or try to strike out at your spouse.

Remember that there was a time when you were deeply in love and devoted to each other and even if you have lost a lot of that spark, there is still a person you love somewhere in the core of this relationship, or you would not be trying so hard to save it.

Above all, don't make empty accusations.

Making A Commitment To Work On Your Marriage

If you have made a commitment to work on your marriage and gotten all the issues out on paper, you are well on your way to regaining your balance.

This can take weeks, months, or even years, but if you are going to put all that work into the relationship, you also need to understand that like the business quality initiatives undertaken by large corporations, your marriage must be continuously analyzed and improved if it is going to stay healthy.

Once you get your marriage back on track, there are a number of ways you can keep it fresh and grounded.

Keep these things in mind. Print them and post them on your kitchen bulletin board, if necessary.

You’ve worked too hard to get to where you are, so don't stop working when you finally reach your goal.

* Watch for specific stress from a lost job, an illness or the loss of a family member or friend and be especially diligent and supportive of the marriage during this time.
* LOOK for the issues and when you see them, talk about them.
* Listen ACTIVELY and do your best not to become defensive. Try to understand what your spouse is saying and try to solve the problem together. Don't make it your spouse's problem.
* Share the work around the house and, if there are days when your spouse's schedule is especially impossible, be willing to take on more than your share.
* Don't forget to recognize what your spouse does for you. Whether it is an especially good meal or a favor, let your spouse know that you noticed and that you appreciate what they've done.
* Leave notes or voicemail during the day or do something special every few days - pick up a favorite pastry at the store, a bouquet of flowers, or a romantic card.
* Do things together. Don't let your crazy schedule pull you in different directions ALL THE TIME. Make time to do something together. Even if you are just going to the grocery store together, you are TOGETHER.
* Smile and hug whenever you can. Don't ASSUME your spouse knows that you still care.
* Disagree, but don't get angry or yell. Remember that you and your spouse are both trying as hard as you can. No one is TRYING to be difficult.
* Don't try to control your spouse or their opinions. Accept them for what they are, and ask that they do the same for you.
* Don't ever take advantage of your spouse's good nature or desire to please.

* NOTE: The information above is borrowed from
Family-Webzone.com. They have articles on several subjects dealing with family issues.

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