This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. In the hope of helping someone have a long and happy marriage, I’ve created a list of common problems that lead to divorce.
Communication: My husband will tell you that marriages survive because the Husband learns that the Wife is always right. While this is true in my house, it may not be so for everyone. 😊 It is correct, though, that one of the challenges of marriage is communication. Often couples nag one another (yes, men do it too), or fail to listen to one another. This causes frustration and anger, and often ends up with intentional acts to irritate each other. If your marriage has gotten to this stage, it’s time to take stock in how you approach your marriage. Are you making decisions for your family without talking to your spouse? Do you disregard your spouse’s input because it does not make sense to you? Do you raise your voice to your spouse? Do you ever apologize when you’ve treated your spouse disrespectfully? If communication is an issue in your marriage, consider seeing a counselor to help you identify the problem areas, or search for books on the topic. Most importantly, recognize that communication requires at least two people, so fixing the problems requires work from both.
Finances: Many couples choose for one parent to raise the children while the other works. Stay-at-home parents place themselves in serious financial risk in the event of divorce or their spouse’s death. Kentucky Courts are not overwhelmingly generous when it comes to financial support, and employers are not keen on hiring people who have been out of the workforce too long. To protect yourself, get a prenuptial agreement that guarantees maintenance in the event of divorce, and make sure your spouse has life insurance. Another common problem with finances is the lack of money management in marriages. Credit cards get maxed out for vacations, shopping sprees, dining out, and toys. 401k’s get drained to pay debts, then tax problems result from the failure to withhold enough taxes from the 01k withdrawal. If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, consult with a debt manager or financial advisor. Get a budget. Don’t overspend on children. No child ever died from not getting the newest game system.
Infedelity: I wish I had a nickel for every time a person told me that their infidelity “just happened”. Infidelity doesn’t “just happen”. It is a choice to have an extra-marital affair. I’ve heard explanations for having affairs such as being emotionally or physically neglected by their spouse, or not being attracted to their spouse, or being “noticed by someone else. Regardless of the reason for having an affair, staying married is a choice. Instead of choosing to have an affair, a person could choose to talk to their spouse, forego activities that lead to affairs, engage more with family, or seek counseling. There are countless ways to improve your marriage, but it must be an intentional choice to do so.