By Funmilola Olukomaiya
Divorce is a four-letter word when it comes to marriage. And if you are on the verge of divorce, you might be wondering what steps to take to help prevent your relationship from dissolving.
It is not strange or unusual that many couples have marriage struggles because they don’t or won’t believe how much work it takes to keep relationships humming at optimal levels.
Marriage as an institution takes commitment and effort from both partners.
Just because you are experiencing a rough patch in your relationship doesn’t mean your marriage isn’t worth trying to save.
Below are 10 ways to salvage your messy marriage.
1. Choose to love: Love may have come easy when it was brand new. But love over the long haul is as much a choice as it is an emotion. Choice is an act of maturity, and it has a much better track record than emotion left to make its way on its own.
2. Pray for your spouse: Chances are, you launched your marriage with both promises and prayers. Pray for your husband/wife, and ask for guidance as you pledge to make the kind of effort that simply won’t float without turning to God every day.
3. Surround yourselves with people in healthy relationships: Some of those negative patterns involved friends. Hook up with a faith community where marriage is valued and there’s widespread support for making yours work.
4. Stop Hurting Your Partner: Examine what resentments you carry towards your spouse. Both partners need to make a list of those hurt feelings. Once your lists are complete, time to have a heart-to-heart. Civilly discuss exactly what the misunderstanding that lead to the resentment was all about. That means you both acknowledge the role you played that lead to hard feelings. Use this discussion as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes.
5. Forget Flaws: No human is perfect, that’s for sure. Flaws are plentiful in people from all walks of life. You’re probably apt to notice them the most in the person you’re married to. Looking past flaws as opposed to trying to fix them is highly recommended. Instead of dwelling on your partner’s flaws, accentuate the positive qualities you love the most.
6. Take Out the Trash: Your spouse probably has pent-up feelings of anger and hurt, and these resentments may have led to him asking for a divorce. Both of you should make a list of things that made you angry or bitter. Apologize for your mistakes and don’t comment on what the other did to cause the problem.
7. Stop taking one another for granted: Say “thank you” for that cup of coffee. Celebrate obscure anniversaries. Tell your spouse much it means to you that he cooks a great meal or vice versa. Ask him/her out. Clean his/her car. Pay attention to the little things and act like someone who values the relationship.
8. Get counseling: You say you can’t afford it? Believe us, it’s cheaper than divorce! Most counseling simply involves a few sessions to get the communication flowing again. A willingness to talk in that context sends a hugely positive message to your spouse.
9. Relationship Autonomy: Your spouse is your equal partner. You didn’t say “I do” to enter into a working relationship where one spouse is the boss and the other is the worker bee. So you shouldn’t feel as though the way you live your life and the decisions you make aren’t up to you notes. A marriage should allow you to thrive as opposed to feeling trapped.
10. Change the patterns: Do you always come home angry? If so, stop the car a block away and pray about it first. Do you always fight about discipline? Try agreeing with his/her decisions and supporting your spouse 100%. You may find the kids act better because you’re not fighting.