In over 20 years as a divorce and family lawyer, I’ve seen the same reason for divorce come up time and time again. And I’ve found there are 3 specific things you can do today to start to get your marriage back on track.
The reason for most divorces I’ve seen is when couples have stopped communicating. They’ve just stopped talking to each other. And as a result, couples are driven farther and farther apart, often leading to infidelity or chronic resentment.
Marriage is hard. No doubt about it. I know. So how can this happen? How can we go from being completely and totally in love, raising a family together, and then stop talking to each other?
It could start with critical remarks or disregarding a request, which in turn prompts you or your spouse to become defensive or to withdraw. This can become an ongoing cycle of criticism, verbal attacks, and withdrawing. And over time, resentment kicks in, which leads to contempt, or even indifference. And then, the marriage is effectively over. It just becomes a source of anger and pain for both of you.
But in my experience, both as a divorce lawyer and personally, I’ve found there are 3 specific things you can do today to start to get your marriage back on track. They’re not easy and require lots of internal strength and patience, and most of all, a strong desire to save your marriage:
1. Take responsibility.
This is not the same as blame. It’s where you take ownership of what you see as your part and how things came to be. It goes to the realization that everything that is or will be is up to you. Because when we blame other people, we make ourselves powerless to change anything.
2. Listen with curiosity.
You might invite your spouse to talk and share how he or she views things. This doesn’t mean you have to agree Everyone sees things differently. It’s human nature. You have a story. Your spouse has a story. Listen to their story as an outside observer with complete curiosity. Focus on the emotions you hear behind the words. Imagine just trying to learn where they are coming from.
As you begin to understand how your spouse sees things, you can say things like, “it sounds like you feel betrayed”, or “it seems like you feel taken advantage of.” Believe me, this can go a long way to building trust, which incentivizes your spouse to see things from your view as well.
3. Catch your spouse doing something good.
Notice when he or she has done something or said something you admire or appreciate. Point it out. The added benefit is by pointing these things out, it’s likely you’ll start seeing more.
Taking responsibility, listening with curiosity, and pointing out the good things, sincerely and consistently, can help get your marriage back on track from divorce.
I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it to feel connected, validated, and appreciated by your spouse again.
If you liked this post, please share it with others. Sign up to receive our newsletter and receive more tips, updates, advice, and inspiration right to your inbox.