Besides counselors and therapists, who else would be able to speak on what causes divorce? This review is from an article written by a divorce lawyer. It comes from the July 2018 issue of Psychology Today. It includes thoughts on what can preserve a marriage based on the couples he’s worked with over the years.
James J. Sexton, Esq., author of the book, If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late, has witnessed every possible scenario of uncoupling. Law school did not teach him what makes people feel happy and connected in their relationships—but he has seen the opposite. He offers advisement on what he’s seen.
As a counselor, many times, the remedy for what you’re doing that’s not working is to do the opposite. Personally and professionally, I view marriage as a team effort. The healthiest relationships I’ve seen are one’s where each person has their own interests and identity intact, but together they are part of a couple. There is trust. There is intimacy beyond sex. There is happiness, kindness, and hope.
Each person adds to the other’s life, as opposed to taking away from each other’s individuality. I know I would personally feel a loss if I could not keep on engaging in the activities and practices that I feel keep me going. I know I want to be accepted for who I am, and for my partner to respect my interests--and for me to return the same.
Here’s the ideas conveyed from a divorce lawyer:
Be a cheerleader for your spouse. It seems like so many articles I review, such as the blog I wrote on loneliness, focus on the message we get through advertisements and social media that can lead to us feeling like a failure. No matter what someone is advocating or selling, it is often implied that something is wrong or missing in our lives.
In the face of the many ways we get bombarded with other’s opinions and pitches in many forms and arenas, as part of a couple, you are in a position to be of support and encouragement. Always resist any temptation to compare your spouse to some type of ideal.
We all could use a cheerleader in our lives. Even if there's no major accomplishment to cheer for at any given time, cheer on small things your spouse is doing well. It’s that whole focus on the positive thing that really can be helpful here. It can end up being a source of motivation for bigger victories.
Remember that nobody can do everything. Are you or your spouse a supportive listener, a thoughtful co-parent, and a competent financial partner, but not the most adventurous lover, or doesn’t enjoy the same foods? Take a moment to think about what makes for a good match. Now, prioritize them. Not every virtue and vice in your relationship is equal. Having a spouse that meets most of your needs most of the time, that’s a win.
Recognize that fairness, not equality, is the goal of marriage. Nobody is perfect in every area. We can have doubts and insecurities. As a partner, you don’t have to be your partner’s therapist. But, if you care about the person you’re with, being kind and supportive, even when it’s not technically required, is to offer doses of affection to another person who can at times feel weak, confused, or insecure as you may feel at times too. If your partner tells you they had a stressful day at work, try not to start a stress competition, pointing out how equally stressful your day was.
We all have the need to be heard. Learning to listen was one of the best skills I gained in my training becoming a counselor. Mr. James J. Sexton echoes this in his article, pointing out how the couples he’s seen in his office seem to be keeping strict score. Letting your own needs take a back seat once in a while, giving kind, selfless support and encouragement in any relationship you have in your life can go a long way.
Have sex with your spouse. We all crave assurance—if not in words, then in body language—that we are still desirable to our partners. It was pointed out in this article that there’s a major and obvious connection between the loss of a spouse’s interest, and the appeal of having an affair.
We want a partner not who is just willing to have sex with us, but who wants to have sex with us. The need to be desired is as important, if not more important, than the sex itself. So, be open and talk to your spouse about sex, and share how your needs may have changed over time. Communication is big in relationships.
Admit that you could get divorced. Not too many want to talk about divorce, or what it would look like if your relationship were to come to an end. Yet, it’s like pretending that you’ll never get sick. That will not keep you healthy. We tend to handle delicate things more carefully when we remain conscious of them, and are vulnerable to them.
One thing that I try to bring to surface in sessions, when it fits, is what made you want to be with your partner in the beginning of your story together as a couple. You had what it took to fall in love. It’s entirely possible you have what it takes to stay there.
If you find yourself in a place within your relationship where you need assistance, reminders, or unbias mediation to get to a place exploring the possibility of finding out if your relationship can be a healthy one, and continue to grow, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
1. Be a cheerleader for your spouse.
2. Rememeber that nobody can do everything.
3. Recognize that fairness, not equality, is the goal of marriage.
4. Have sex with your spouse.
5. Admit that you could get divorced.