10 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage

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By Natasha Burton

Be Split Savvy
With a new matrimonial scandal erupting each week these days, we asked Judge Lynn Toler, host of Divorce Court and author of My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius, for her tips on keeping your marriage strong and steady. While there is no guaranteed formula for preventing divorce, there are ways you can protect your marriage.

Always Communicate
Toler says: “It is a cliché for a reason: Communication is incredibly important. Talk. Talk. Then talk some more.”

Talk Right
Toler says: “When you talk, obey these three rules: 1. Wait until your spouse is ready (don’t try to explain anything meaningful in the middle of an argument); 2. Start where he/she is (restate what was said so they know you heard their position); 3. Then gently introduce your point of view and a workable compromise.”

Learn How You Differ
Toler says: “Understand and appreciate gender differences. Just because you’re not thirsty doesn’t mean that your spouse couldn’t use a drink of water. For example, typically women need to cut down on how many words they use and men need to increase the number they are willing to listen to.”

Keep Money in Check
Toler says: “Do a budget. Write down how much is coming in and how much is going out, and make sure the former exceeds the latter.”

Don’t Forget Romance
Toler says: “Rekindle regularly, especially if you have kids. Date nights and time alone increase the love chemicals in your brain and help you fall in love over and over again.”

Stay in the Real World
Toler says: “Don’t trip over technology. When things aren’t going well at home, it’s easy to seek an emotional connection with some person online. The only reason ‘virtual love’ is easy is because it isn’t real.”

Change Your Approach
Toler says: “Many couples have the same argument over and over again. If that is what’s going on, change what you say — no matter how much sense it makes to you — because it’s not working.”

Keep Problems Private
Toler says: “Don’t complain about your marriage to people who are usually unhappy in their own lives. Misery loves company, and you could be misled.”

Talk, Talk, Talk!
Toler says: “Did I already say talk about everything? Well, I’m saying it again.”

Be Alert
Toler says: “The minute you start thinking ‘we’ve got it all worked out,’ you dramatically increase the odds that it won’t. Marriage is the job that never ends; it can be a good job, but it is always a job.”

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