How To Stay Married: 8 Dos and Don’ts
We understand that big marital problems like infidelity and substance abuse can spell divorce, but it’s often the little things that can make or break a marriage. Trying to repair your relationship? If both spouses want to give their union another chance, here are a list of do’s and don’ts we’ve seen time and again help couples stay together.
DO: Tell your partner what you appreciate about her EVERYDAY. You’re thankful that she took your clothes to the cleaners. You love that he makes you tea in the morning. People want to feel that their partner notices the little things they do to express caring and maintain the relationship.
DO: Be available to your spouse. Make her feel like she’s your number #1 priority, even if you work long hours. When she calls you at your office, take the call. When he wants to linger over morning coffee on the weekend, take the opportunity to talk to him instead of rushing to cross things off your to-do list. You want to make her feel like she’s married to you, not your job, your hobbies, or your mother.
DO: Try to make the other person feel good. No couple gets along all the time, but successful marriages are ones in which partners make each other feel good most of the time. Who wants to be around someone who lists your faults, doesn’t acknowledge anything nice you do, or is stingy with affection?
Do: Get It In Writing. If your marital difficulties were so severe that you separated or even filed for divorce, but now the two of you are trying to work through your issues, you may want to explore the legal option of having a reconciliation agreement put in place. A reconciliation agreement is a specific type of post-nuptial agreement that spells out how assets and debts would be divided in the event of a divorce. By entering into a reconciliation agreement, the spouse considering divorce can agree to remain married and dismiss any pending divorce case in exchange for a promise addressing the property distribution in the event of a divorce, so long as it is not completely inequitable. In this way, a reconciliation agreement can provide incentive and add gravitas to the decision you have made to try and save your marriage.
DON’T: Try to change the other person. People want to feel that they’re loved unconditionally. If you continually point out the other person’s faults, or make them feel that there’s something wrong with who they are, you will engender resentment and distance, not growth. So sweep your side of the street – not his.
DON’T: Try to win every argument. Old saying “do you want to be right or be happy?” It is exhausting to be with someone who has to have the last word or treats the marriage as a never-ending negotiation in which they get the better end of the deal. So pick your battles. You can either be right – or you can be happy.
DON’T: Hold a grudge. Forget yesterday and focus on the present. Yes, your partner should say she’s sorry, but she can’t change past transgressions and continually reminding her of them will either create distance or retaliation. Work with a therapist if needed to help get through these difficult emotions.
DON’T: Say everything you think or feel. Honesty is not always the best policy. No one wants to hear about how great your sex life was with your ex. Or that you can’t stand your mother-in-law. Before you speak, ask yourself: will this help or hurt the relationship? If in doubt, keep it to yourself.
Have questions about reconciliation agreements? Want to learn more about divorce, if only to better understand your options? Our attorneys are here to help because your peace of mind is important. Please contact us today to schedule your confidential consultation.