How do you prevent divorce and keep your relationship happy? Relationship experts agree: It's all about the little things that happen every day. Over time, these can build up and create irreconcilable differences.
According to law firms, 1 in 10 divorces are caused by bad habits that become addictions. JMW Solicitors mentioned gambling, alcoholism, shopping, and pornography as some of the prime reasons for divorce. But it starts long before that. Spouses claimed lack of respect and lower personal hygiene caused a rift in a married couple's relationship.
"Research shows that there are a lot of little things people do that can indicate serious problems in relationships," says Carrie Cole, a couples therapist from Texas.
Although it seems bleak, couples can stop divorce in its tracks by changing certain behaviors. According to The Telegraph, approximately 13,000 marriages could be saved if both people commit to breaking bad habits.
Here are 7 things you need to stop doing in your marriage:
1. Trash Talking Behind Your Spouse's Back
A frustrated comment to your office buddies about your wife or hubby might seem innocent, but in reality it paves the way for issues down the line. "Women may fall into this habit if they're surrounded by people doing the same thing," Carrie Cole says. "If your close group of girl friends are constantly talking poorly about their own husbands, it may feel more normal for you to chime in and say, 'You think yours is bad? Listen to mine.'"
Complaining about your spouse can fuel negative thoughts and promote anger towards him or her. "It shows a lack of respect for him and your connection, even if he never finds out," Carrie says.
2. Fighting When Emotions are Running High
Beware, because an emotion-driven fight usually doesn't end well. Extreme anger, frustration, or sadness can cause either partner to say something they'll regret. Not only that, but experts say women are often the first ones to "raise issues aggressively."
Research shows that women tend to react emotionally to situations, whereas men will often let their emotions "settle down" and think about the conflict before reacting. Regardless, it's always a good idea to pause before a fight before chewing out your partner.
3. Not Greeting Each Other When You Leave or Return
Remember the days when the two of you had romantic hellos and goodbyes? Maybe you've been together a long time, and "Honey, I'm home" doesn't seem to matter all that much. Wrong! One of the key ways to keep your marriage healthy is to always acknowledge each other, especially during leaving and coming home.
"Make a point to say hello with a kiss when you come home from work "” not just a quick peck on the cheek "” to truly say hello and convey good feeling and happiness at seeing your partner at the end of the day," says relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer.
Go to the next page to see more telltale signs your marriage is headed for the rocks.
4. Focusing on What He/She Does Wrong
Your partner will never do everything right. Fixating on their faults instead of their good qualities is the quickest way to kill a relationship over time, according to Cole. Comparing him/her to an ex, whether aloud or in your thoughts will cause a rift which may not heal easily.
Remember, while you're looking at someone else as a shining example of what a good spouse should be, someone could be jealous of you for the great husband or wife you have. Focus on the good.
5. Bottling it All Up
While keeping the bad stuff to yourself may seem good for the relationship, it's not what good partnerships are made of. Being honest about your emotions and relying on your partner to work out a solution along with you creates a bond of trust.
Sue Johnson, Ph.D, says that pretending everything is okay when it's really not "creates a pattern of refusing to be emotionally honest."
If you don't fight at all, that's also a warning sign. Diane Gehart says: "When you don't even bother to bring up something that bugs you, it means you've stopped putting energy into the relationship and could be emotionally checking out."
6. Not Thinking about Things from Their Perspective
It may be cliche, but walking in your partner's shoes from time to time is a good thing. This time, relationship therapists say men struggle with this more than women. As a rule, women tend to have more empathy than men, which allows them to better understand another's point of view.
Although men struggle in this department, it's up to both partners to be compassionate and understanding towards each other.
7. Neglecting to Stop a Fight When Things Get Out of Hand
While disagreements are a normal part of a healthy relationship, the way you fight could point to your marriage's success or failure. Experts say it's important to know when a fight is creating more problems instead of solving them.
"When people shut down during conflict, it's usually because their heart rates have skyrocketed to over 100 beats per minute, which throws you into fight or flight response," Carrie Cole says. "When that happens, you lose access to the part of your brain"”the frontal lobe"”that gives you communication skills. So sometimes you literally can't speak coherently, even when you try."
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