Preventing divorce – What Are the Ways?
Preventing divorce is a difficult task and one that about 50% of marriages fail to do. In fact, it is likely that you or someone you care about is struggling with preventing divorce right now. With those kind of odds, it seems hopeless, but it can be done! Couples with long term marriages (30+ years) will tell you there are certain keys. Here are some of those keys:
- Commit to the marriage. There are numerous cultures around the world where the divorce rate is near zero. Why? The common denominator is that divorce is not viewed as an option. It may be against the law or against the norm of their society. In cultures where divorce is an acceptable choice, couples can decide in advance that it is not a choice for them. Once this “out” is off the table, couples are forced to find answers to their differences.
- Have correct expectations. Most of us go into marriage expecting to “change” our new spouse for the better. In reality, change is slow to come about, if ever. Each of us needs to accept our spouse for the way they are and love them for that.
- Get outside help when it is needed. Even the best of marriages can get better by talking with a good counselor. Better yet, difficult marriages are often saved. Churches often offer marriage counseling for free or have good referrals to competent marriage counselors. The cost of good counseling is far cheaper than divorce. See the next point.
- Count the cost of divorce before giving up on the marriage. Attorney’s fees are expensive but that is just the start. Consider . . .
- The cost of two homes instead of one.
- Child support, alimony.
- The effects on children.
- Know that to choose divorce will greatly disappoint God. God’s standard from the very first marriage has been marriage between a man and woman for life. God tells us that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). You took a vow before God and your friends that you would stay married. To not honor your word would bring further disappointment to the Lord (Numbers 30:2).
- Remember God’s goal for our life. We often think that the only goal in life is to be happy. God’s goal is that we grow and mature and become more like Him (Ephesians 4:13). When we realize that God put our spouse in our life with all his/her imperfections to help accomplish that purpose, we can better accept his/her difficult to live with areas.
- Learn to honor your spouse above yourself. If I focus on meeting his/her needs, I am showing love even when I am not “feeling” loving and maybe when they don’t even deserve it. Two good things usually happen. First, our emotions follow our actions and most people say they begin to “love” again. Second, the spouse receiving the honor will usually soon reciprocate. It often becomes a win/win situation. Preventing divorce, in light of the above keys, is best done prior to marriage. Couples should always receive premarital counseling and discuss these and other areas to confirm that they are ready to make a life commitment. Unless a couple can say, “Divorce will not be an option for us. We will find a way to work out our differences no matter what it takes,” they should not get married in the first place.
If you are already married and feeling “trapped,” consider all the ramifications of divorce for you, your spouse, and your children for many years to come. Don’t make a hasty, emotional decision. Rather, seek the help you need.
About The Author
First published on All About Life Challenges. http://www.allaboutlifechallenges.org