3 Of The Most Common Reasons For Divorce — And How To Fix Them Before It's Too Late

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Charlotte and Finn thought they were on the verge of a painful and expensive divorce. They came for couples counseling, seeking marriage advice because they had fallen out of love ... or so they thought.

They spoke of having frequent arguments and complete emotional shut-downs. And to make matters worse, there had been no physical intimacy between them for longer than either wanted to admit.

Charlotte broke down into tears describing the disconnection in their relationship. Finn quickly shut down, not knowing what to do or say, with a look of real fear on his face.

While their issues happen to be some of the most common reasons for divorce, this kind of "we think we've fallen out of love couple" is actually my favorite to work with.

All that hurt, anger, and frustration are, in my opinion, indications that underneath it all, a couple may actually still be quite deeply in love.

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I've discovered that, with a little help, many couples can quickly harness their frustrated emotional needs and motivate themselves to quick reconnect with each other.

All they have to do is refocus the energy currently being spend on frustration directly into re-building profound emotional and physical intimacy, as well as into improving their communication skills and connection.

Here are three of the top reasons for divorce, and how to fix each before it's too late for your own marriage.

1. Your spouse is more like your best friend than your lover.

This is an important sign that you may actually still be deeply in love with each other.

Just ask any happy couple who's been together for decades what the secret to a lasting relationship is. They'll both tell you that it's all about seeing each other and treating each other as best friends.

One of the biggest but easiest to fix relationship-harming assumptions most couples have is that being in love needs to always be passionate and intoxicating, like when they first started their relationship. But that's just the romantic or honeymoon phase in your lifelong healthy couplehood journey.

After the first few months to a year, it's totally normal for your honeymoon phase to fizzles out and for the "my best friend" phase to kick in.

So, yes, your partner is your best friend. That's no need for a breakup. This means you actually still love each other, even if you need to make some changes in your relationship.

With work, there will be romance more profound than you've ever experienced.

RELATED: What To Do If You Think Your Wife Wants A Divorce

2. You're having little to no sex.

If you want to get the sex back in your marriage, you need to get the love back into your sex. It's that simple. That's what best friends in a healthy marriage do.

Recent research shows that emotional intimacy is the key to sexual fulfillment for women. Researchers behind the study conducted at Pennsylvania State University found that "love made sex physically more pleasurable" for women, and that those "who loved their sexual partners also said they felt less inhibited and more willing to explore their sexuality."

The majority of older women participating said that this connection between love and sex continued to be true throughout the course of their life.

For the women I interviewed," said lead researcher Dr. Beth Montemurro, "they seemed to say you need love in sex and you need sex in marriage.”

What's the message for the vast majority of couples having relationship problems? Fix your emotional connection and you'll fix your sexual connection.

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3. There's no real communication between you because you argue so much.

Of course, you argue. Arguing is just the opposite of effective communication.

Your underlying need for connection through properly expressed friendship is deeply frustrated right now, but if you didn't love each other so much, this might not affect you in the same way.

When you learn to properly express and accept each other's emotional needs, the arguing and other negative relationship behaviors will fizzle out.

So how do you get rid of those negative surface feelings and relationship behaviors that keep getting in the way of growing your friendship as a couple?

You've probably heard it a million times, but it's time to take real action. It's time to learn how to communicate effectively.

Start by making a solid mutual pact to save your relationship.

Healthy couplehood is like a two-person dance pattern, with lifts and dips. One person can't save a relationship alone. You have to do this as a team.

Next, it's absolutely critical that you turn your relationship into a "hurt-free zone."

This is one of the most powerful strategies for preventing breakups and divorce. In your "hurt-free zone," toxic communication habits are simply not allowed to continue.

Once you've set up your "hurt-free zone," saving your marriage by making it a contest of generosity becomes faster, easier and will eventually kick into autopilot. Meeting your partner's needs and wishes gets easier and easier as they meet yours, and vice versa. It becomes a contagious and virtuous cycle.

Once Charlotte and Finn turned their marriage into a "hurt-free zone," their relationship stabilized fast.

They could not believe how much things started to turn around for them in just days. And in a matter of weeks, they both became great armchair relationship counselors. That really helped them save their marriage. This is an amazing way to learn and apply a few simple but powerful communication strategies.

Charlotte and Finn have now been happily married best friends for years and they've built an amazing family together.

RELATED: How To Fix A Broken Relationship — And Fall More Deeply In Love

David Akiva has worked with hundreds of couples, families, and individuals as a couple's counselor and marriage educator.