Q. I’ve noticed that many of the young people in this country are getting divorced. Do you have any tips or suggestions for people interested in preventing divorce?
A.Below are four tips for married people who want to reduce the odds of divorce.
i) Decide That Divorce Is Not an Option. There is power in intention and positive thinking, so toss ideas of divorce out before they take root, and decide that, barring physical or emotional abuse, you are in it for the long haul. Making the decision that divorce isn’t an option helps put everything else in perspective.
It’s harder to see an argument over who drank the last of the milk as important when you know, without a doubt, that you will be with this person forever. But it’s not enough to decide on forever on your wedding day. It’s a decision you have to make and commit to every day.
ii) Forgive and Move On. All couples argue now and then. No matter who was right and who was wrong, it isn’t enough to forgive; you also have to move on. Over the years, small disagreements can pile up into one big mess if there are grudges being held. So, once a disagreement is over and a compromise has been reached, do everything you can to forget it. And, never bring it up again. It isn’t fair to your partner to bring up an old issue during a new disagreement, long after your partner thought he or she was forgiven.
iii) Communicate. Communication creates intimacy and trust and keeps everyone on the same page about what’s going on in the marriage.
Open up about absolutely everything, from the mundane things that happened during your day to the monthly budget to your dreams for the future. Chitchat and deep conversations are both important for a healthy marriage.
Over the years, you’ll probably hear stories about your spouse’s college dorm, best friend from childhood, and first car a dozen times, but when talking stops, both spouses feel isolated and alone.
iv) Be a Cheerleader for your spouse.
Hearing that that your spouse is proud of you and believes in you is even more important than hearing that he or she loves you.
Make sure to support your loved one through the big events, such as job interviews, weight-loss, and promotions, but more important, make praise and compliments a part of every day.
And be sure to say thanks. Even if taking out the trash, giving the baby a bath, and washing the dinner dishes are part of the daily routine, it’s important to know they are appreciated.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.