... at the possibility that they, too, can end up divorced.
Would you be surprised that 'divorce' can actually help you have a great marriage?
Knowing that even you could divorce is strong motivation to work on your relationship--to keep love alive--right from the beginning.
Over and over, I see married people end up divorced because they don't acknowledge the fact--to themselves and to each other--that they could just as easily end up in the 50% of couples who DO divorce as they could end up in the 50% of couples who stay together.
"Yeah, that happened to friends of ours, but it won't happen to us."
If you work on keeping a great marriage, it is likely that divorce won't happen to you.
If you do not think that you need to work to keep love alive in your marriage and are just assuming that things will be great because you love your spouse... you're in much greater danger of divorcing.
Here's a very typical scenario. Take the story of Jack and Sarah. Sarah has been asking her husband, Jack, to go to marriage counseling for over 4 years. She has pointed out their lack of sex life, that she doesn't feel she knows him anymore, and that they don't really listen to one another. Jack has refused to go to marriage counseling: stating that he 'doesn't believe in that stuff,' that he 'doesn't think they have a problem,' and that it would 'cost too much money.'
Jack doesn't mention the one thing that many people fear: that he's afraid--if they go to marriage counseling--they will end up divorced.
So one day... after many years of asking for Jack's participation in counseling--Sarah comes home from work and tells Jack that she wants a divorce. He is shocked; he's in a panic and he, himself, calls me to make an appointment for marriage counseling.
When they come in for their first session, Jack tells me that he just didn't know it was that serious... he didn't realize that she was that unhappy. It was the word divorce that made him take her seriously.
Here's the dilemma: by the time Sarah and Jack get to marriage counseling, Sarah was beyond the point of return in her feelings towards Jack. She came to marriage counseling because she felt like she 'should give it a last try.'
In the end, Sarah and Jack divorced.
How could this outcome have been prevented? How could they have prevented divorce?
Let me tell you a different story.
Angela tells her husband Doug that she's unhappy and thinks that their lack of a sex life means that something is wrong between them. Doug doesn't think they have a problem, but realizes... that if one partner thinks there is a problem, THERE IS A PROBLEM. They try to talk it out, but can't seem to get to the bottom of it.
They decide to call a marriage counselor.
Doug is not crazy about the idea, but he does not want to lose Angela in the long run.
They go to counseling sessions for 6 weeks. With the help of an objective outsider, both Angela and Doug come to see how the problems came about and what to do to change them. They've started to make real changes with marriage therapy in just 6 weeks. Doug is happier; Angela is happier and starting to have hope again. After 10 sessions, they want some time to practice what they've learned; and they now know they will come back again if they need another marriage 'tune-up.'
And they're STILL TOGETHER.
The problems between them did not have a chance to grow into increased anger and resentment.
Doug and Angela are becoming better listeners and communicators. They're having fun again and don't feel trapped with no way out.
Marriage Counseling did not take the energy, the money, the time and the possible heartbreak it could have... because they took care of the problem immediately when they realized they couldn't resolve it themselves.
The moral of the story?
Don't be afraid to look at the possibility of divorce for everyone and don't wait too long to get help. That's how you can prevent divorce. You keep love alive by not letting it die.
Gloria Waite is an expert on love relationships, who gives no-nonsense love advice to men and women. People, who know Gloria, credit her success to 30+ years of experience as psychologist and her natural gift for 'getting it' right away and coming up with practical advice and solutions.