The true divorce rate is always being debated, but the fact is simple: more and more couples are seeking ways to divorce-proof their marriages. Whether you're a newlywed or have been married for a few years, you may have already experienced a few bumps in the road. About 50 percent or more singles I've worked with are divorced or separated and have shared with me all the reasons things didn't work out. Although each person has their own story and experience to share, it's clear there exists some common problems. In hindsight, the inevitable breakdown could have been avoided if the problems were addressed early and actions were taken before it became too late to save the relationship. Here are three of those steps you can take:
1. Don't Make Assumptions
You know the phrase "never assume anything because you make an 'a**' out of 'u' and 'me'"? Nine times out of ten this is true. So avoid making assumptions by asking your partner plainly and openly, "What did you mean by that?" So many of us get angry and resentful over something that isn't even true. It also leaves your partner feeling confused, lost and possibly bitter, for accusing him/her of things. It destroys trust.
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2. Learn How To Speak The Same Love Language
There are loads of books which try to help people decode the way men and women think. Men and women are different with different motivations and ways of expressing ourselves. Gary Chapman's "5 Love Languages" test is a great tool! It helps to identify your dominant "love language," which is a thorough analysis of your emotional communication preference. Understanding your motivations and your partner's motivations gives you greater insight into how to connect with your partner in a way which makes sense for him/her. Understanding what makes your partner "tick" allows you to communicate more effectively.
3. Have Regular Adult "Play Time"
In my experience with clients, the top three reasons I've discovered marriages failing is over money, kids (parenting differences) and a lack of sex. Husbands complain about having to beg their wives to be intimate more than once a month. (Really? Once a month?) Alternatively, wives complain that their husbands work too much and are too tired, or are never home to spend time with them. Sex and intimacy are key to marital survival and if you're not having enjoyable sex on a semi-regular basis, you may be heading in the direction of divorce. Having more fun, intimate sex is a pretty major benefit of marriage, so it's a disappointment to your partner when all of a sudden, the rides over and the play train rolls in once a month. Make every effort to change whatever is necessary for you to regain your mojo. Flirt with your partner every day! It's as essential as brushing your teeth, saying "good morning" when you wake up and "good night" before you fall asleep. After all, if you're not doing these little but meaningful things, it's all too easy to neglect the big stuff too.
Remember to put yourself in your partners' shoes. Remove your own insecurities and assumptions, and take the time to show your appreciation with kind words and willful thoughtfulness and kindness. These daily simple tips will go a long way to strengthen your marriage.
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