Nearly 80% of all divorces are unilateral, meaning a husband can ask for and receive a divorce regardless of the wife’s desires. Of those unilateral divorces I’d venture to say that most wives are shocked when their husbands come to them with the news that they want a divorce.
It is easy to become complacent or assume that all is well in a marriage when in reality your husband is hiding his true feelings. Below is part of a post to the Divorce Support Forum that motivated me to put this article together.
“I don't want to work on my marriage. I want out. Nothing more, nothing less. As I said I feel trapped and I have only two viable options. Stay in my mostly happy marriage knowing that I will 100% regret not enjoying my youth to the fullest or leave now and risk finding out the grass isn't always greener. I walk through my days now with a sick feeling in my stomach as I try to pretend like nothing is wrong. We watch TV and laugh together but I sit there knowing my true feelings while she is none the wiser.”
This post is by a young man who pretends all is well instead of sharing his concerns and giving his wife the opportunity to either work on saving the marriage or prepare herself for the possibility of a divorce.
Do you make assumptions about your marriage and husband’s feelings that aren’t true? Are you 100% sure your husband is as committed to the marriage as you? Nothing, especially when it comes to marriage should be taken for granted. You should “check in” periodically, take an inventory of sorts just to be sure you and your husband are on the same page.
I highly suggest that at least 4 times a year you and your husband have a discussion about the state of the marriage and any issues or problems that may be putting the marriage in danger.
In between those discussions the tips below will help you maintain a healthy relationship with your husband which will strengthen the marriage and keep you both out of divorce court.
Be Generous and Kind:
I’ve often heard folks say that marriage is a 50/50 proposition. It isn’t though. Some days you will give/compromise more than he does, some days he will. The trick to a happy marriage is to not keep score. The true path to happiness is the willingness to give of yourself. If you are willing to give freely and lovingly to your husband what you give will be returned to you.
Let go of The Nagging:
We all have our own agenda and work at our own pace. If you have a request and he doesn’t get it done in what you feel is an appropriate time frame he won’t ever get it done if you nag, nag, nag. One sure way for a husband to feel like he is married to a control freak is to harangue him when he doesn’t follow through with a request.
If you are having trouble getting him to do something you can offer to help him, make it a project you can do together. You can tell him once, put a reminder on the bathroom mirror and if it doesn’t get done hire someone to come in and do it. Spending a little money is far better for the marriage than reminding him over and over that he has failed to follow through.
Learn The Virtues of Forgiveness:
In my work as a Marriage Educator I’ve noticed something that is particular to the wives. They store up information, hold onto and don’t let go of small infractions. For instance, one wife repeatedly brought up the fact that her husband used to work late or when he was home was constantly on his cell phone.
This was a husband who, at that time was starting his own business. He was expending a lot of time and energy into building a business which would support his family. Ten years later his wife was still resentful and angry about the time he spent away from his family.
We are all fallible, we all make mistakes. Be willing to make-up and move on. If you aren’t willing to forgive you will build a wall between you and your husband. A wall that could eventually become a barrier to you having a successful marriage.
Stroke Him With Appreciation:
Men are fragile creatures. They need and long for your appreciation and adoration. When he goes out of his way to do something kind, return it with your gratitude and admiration. I had a friend whose husband would clean the kitchen for her. I remember being in their home one evening while he cleaned the dishes after dinner.
She came in and scolded him for not wiping down the counter-tops. The look on his face was pitiful. He had been so sure that he was helping her, doing something that would mean less stress for her. His kindness was rewarded with criticism. I know it sounds like a small thing but small things add up and can end up in a divorce. So, when he does something kind, whether he does it correctly or not, reward him with appreciation and love.
Take Pride in Your Appearance:
No man wants to be seen with a sloppy woman on his arms. Feel good about yourself when you leave the house and he will feel good about being seen with you. This is a touchy subject for some women. But if you let yourself go after marriage, stop wearing make-up, paying attention to your attire and gain 100 pounds you can expect your husband to lose interest.
If you expect your husband to take care of himself and his appearance he has a right to the same expectations of you. He was first attracted to your appearance, keep your appearance up and you will keep him attracted.
Keep Him Happy in Bed:
This is the big one; don’t let it get away from you. If you lose interest in sex he will eventually lose interest in you altogether. If you lose interest in sex explain to him how you are feeling and work on solving the problem. It is YOUR responsibility to maintain a healthy sexual appetite. Sexually intimacy keeps your husband bonded to you. If he isn’t happy in the bedroom, that bond begins to die.
Don’t withhold sex to punish him for mistakes or slights. If your libido drops see a doctor to make sure that your hormone levels don’t need a bit of tweaking. If you are busy raising children and holding down the fort while he works, put extra effort into carving out time to rest and relax so you are not too tired to “cleave” unto your husband.
Nothing is more devastating than an unwanted divorce. If you are paying attention to the dynamics in your marriage AND putting effort into meeting his emotional needs you are taking pro-active steps that will keep you out of divorce court.