The season of family squabbles and high tension is upon us. Even though the holidays are some of the best times of the year they often bring with them a lot of added stress. Unfortunately, more often than not this stress gets taken out on those we’re closest to – generally our spouse. With such a high divorce rate in our country, it’s scary to think what the straw that broke the camel’s back may be. Below are a few ways to not only avoid divorce, but also to strengthen your marriage, not only during the holiday season but all the year through.
You did know that this would be first on the list, didn’t you? When it comes to any type of relationship, spousal, parental, even that between coworkers, communication is always the first step to keeping everyone happy. Silence and lack of communication are the worst enemies of happy marriages.
A little bit of empathy can go a long way. When your partner shares with you how they’re feeling, regardless whether it’s positive or negative, make a choice to cater to their emotional needs first. This means, instead of rushing to meet the material needs that they have brought to your attention, take the time to really listen to what they have to say and focus on their feelings.
This means you have to be open to change. You have to accept that you can’t always have exactly what you want when you want it, your partner has wants and needs that should be met as well. Go ahead and make changes to your routine if you know it will help your spouse in the long run. Let your spouse know that while you’re trying, it may take you some getting used to. Then really show them that you’re putting your best foot forward and that you’re sincere. Ask the same of them in return.
Yes, sometimes it can be hard to be honest, especially if you know you’re honesty is going to hurt the feelings of your husband or wife. However, lies can and will do so much more damage. Respect your partner and yourself enough to be upfront and honest about your feelings, struggles, and outlooks. Ask your partner to be totally honest with you as well. Even though you both may hear things that you don’t want to, it will strengthen your relationship if you allow yourselves to work through these issues together.
These aren’t foolproof ways to make sure your marriage never ends in divorce, however they are wonderful stepping stones. Take the commitment you made with your spouse seriously and follow the steps above together. Remind yourselves that you’re on the same team and you have a common goal – and then fight for your marriage. Sometimes being able to make it through the toughest times will lead you to happiness in your marriage that you didn’t realize was possible.