Most people tend to believe that marriage is a fairytale, and once married, you’ll live happily ever after. However, they do not understand the amount of work required to maintain a long-lasting marriage. In my experience as a practicing divorce lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey, and Monmouth County, New Jersey, I have seen firsthand that happily ever after is not guaranteed. In fact, I have found that some couples find that the only way to move forward and find true peace is to file for a divorce. But, their story does not have to become your story. Here are five tips that I have seen help couples avoid divorce and reconnect with their spouse:
- Forgive Past Hurts
No one is perfect, and we all tend to do things that we regret. Your spouse may have done something (intentionally or unintentionally) that caused you to hurt deeply. When the pain inflicted comes from someone that we care about, it is difficult to overcome. However, holding on to something your spouse did to you in the past, can interrupt your chances at a peaceful relationship in the future. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is necessary. Process your hurt and take steps to forgive and heal, in order to make room for more positive memories with your spouse.
2. Improve Communication
As time marches progresses, you may find yourself growing more and more distant with your spouse. You might feel like there is nothing left to talk about or you’ve had all the conversations you could have. Or even worse, you may feel like you aren’t being heard/seen when you talk with your spouse. However, taking time to improve your communication can help with being able to grow closer after you’ve been married for several years. Become more present in your marriage, play card games together, revisit your first date spot, and find creative ways to engage in conversation. Your conversations do not always have to be “deep,” as long as you’re communicating with each other consistently, your marriage is on the path to becoming less strained and unfulfilling.
3. Take Time Away From Your Phone
While this could be included in improving communication, the deep connections most have developed with their phones makes this a much bigger problem. Smartphones make life easier and are great for work, staying in touch with others, entertainment, and much more. However, these certain electronic devices have caused spouses to file for divorce. Make an effort to put your phone away, put your ringer on silent, and spend more time with your spouse than you do with your cell phone.
4. Initiate Affection
One of the first things that begins to lack in a marriage is affection between spouses. The usual kiss before heading to work is forgotten when we are running late. Or, random flowers and “just because” gifts that were sent in the beginning, now have ceased. A lack of affection between spouses can make it difficult to find the strength to repair a marriage that is slowly drifting apart. While it can be difficult to reignite that spark, there are some very simple things you can do. Sending fun and flirty text messages, holding hands in public, or making time to watch a movie together are some examples.
5. Remember What You Loved About Them
Oftentimes, couples have a tendency to only recognize the most annoying traits of their spouse. Maybe they snore too loudly, drive too fast, or scratch the plate when cutting food. Instead of dwelling on negative, minor details, remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. Was it the way they smiled when they saw you? Or, the way they would laugh at their own jokes? There were things about your spouse that you once loved, and it’s important to take a moment to remember those things in order to rekindle your marriage and avoid divorce.
While every marriage is different, it is important to be realistic. Realistically, some marriages can be saved, while others cannot. When deciding whether or not getting a divorce is a right choice, talking to a skilled divorce lawyer helps.
This article contains general information and opinions from Sheena Burke Williams and is not intended to be a source of legal advice for any purpose. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information included in this article without seeking legal advice of counsel. Sheena Burke Williams expressly disclaims all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any content in this article.