For BRIDES, by Jillian Kramer.
You’ve likely read some scary — and outdated! — research that says nearly half of marriages end in divorce. But rather than fret you’ll one day become a statistic, why not work on protecting your marriage instead?
“You don’t need to do monumental actions to divorce-proof your marriage,” says relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer. “The most important thing is to maintain a sense of intimacy and connection, and to not let your anger build up to the point where you have grievances and grudges and can’t reconcile the conflict.”
Here, experts give nine ways to divorce-proof your marriage today.
Always greet one another with affection. “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,” suggests Greer.
Show your support. “Men especially want you to be their cheerleader,” says relationship expert Rachel DeAlto. “They want someone who encourages and supports them. Even if you don’t agree with everything they do — who does?! — try to be supportive every day.”
Do a daily check-in. “Make it a habit to check in on each other with a hands-on ‘I’ve got your back’ sign, such as squeezing or massaging their shoulders and asking how they’re doing,” says Greer. “This offers them the opportunity to unload and know you literally have their back.
Get physical. “Sex is a need, not a want!” says DeAlto. “If you aren’t having regular sex, you need to find out why. It may not be every day you’re having sex, but every day your partner should feel desired.”
Express your appreciation. “People often take their partners for granted,” Greer says. “Still say ‘thank you’ — even for the small things like doing the dishes, a cup of coffee in the morning, etc. Saying ‘thank you’ never grows old!”
Talk over your feelings. “A huge relationship killer? Couples not talking,” DeAlto says. “Let them know when you are happy, let them know when you are sad. Most people that love you will want to know how they can help to keep you in your happy place.”
Send special messages. “Make a point to send a special text of joy,” says Greer. “Think, ‘I miss you,’ ‘I love you,’ and ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you.’ Anything that will make your partner happy or reference something you share together. Always make sure your text conversations are not only about responsibilities like picking up the kids, what you’ll have for dinner, when they’re coming home, etc.”
Be kind. “Studies have shown that couples headed for divorce often name call and get nasty during arguments,” DeAlto says. “A divorce-proofed marriage avoids that and the couple remains kind to one another — even when you want them to sleep on the couch.”
Let go of anger. “Agree to disagree if you can’t resolve a fight, then come back and talk about it at another point when you’ve both had a chance to cool off and think about the disagreement a little further,” advises Greer.