The Divorce-Proof Marriage

By Greg Smalley
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The number of people pursuing divorce was 34 percent higher during the period of March through June 2020 compared to the same time the previous year. But by following eight straightforward guidelines, most marriages can thrive.

A new survey on divorce conducted by LegalTemplates has revealed what many experts have feared: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased divorce rates across the U.S. — particularly in newlyweds and couples with young children. The number of people pursuing divorce was 34 percent higher during the period of March through June 2020 compared to the same time the previous year. But by following eight straightforward guidelines, most marriages can thrive.

Some people say the three most beautiful words in the English language are I love you. If that’s the case, then the four most heartbreaking words, in my opinion, are I want a divorce.

Why is the divorce rate spiking?

The pandemic has helped some couples grow closer together. They feel more connected and a deeper sense of love and appreciation for their spouse. 

For other couples, the prolonged stress of physical distancing, health problems, financial turmoil, job uncertainty or loss, home-schooling, the lack of child-care, being confined in close quarters and mounting losses acts like a pressure cooker about to blow. This is why fighting, domestic violence, substance abuse and pornography are all on the rise. But these unhealthy coping behaviors will only exacerbate existing problems and place even greater strains on a fledging marriage.

Another reason is that unresolved conflicts and deep issues that have been ignored and buried for years have exploded to the surface. Many couples have concealed their marriage problems by creating emotional and physical distance — buffers that allowed them to stay disconnected but married.

Often couples spend time away from each other while at work, fitness centers, church or school functions. They spend time apart while watching TV, scrolling through social media, caring for children and doing hobbies. These activities created space between spouses … and kept marriage problems hidden. When they were busy doing all of these other things, couples didn’t have to invest in their spouse or open their heart to being known by their spouse. They could keep the conversation at a superficial level.

Now the disconnection is painfully obvious. As Erica Komisar explains in a Wall Street Journal article “Lockdown Is a Stress Test for Relationships,”

Being alone together has become a stress test for marriages and other intimate relationships. Couples who were ambivalent or on the fence about their relationships, or who weren’t cognizant of unresolved conflicts, now face the stark reality that they feel claustrophobic, bored and incompatible with their partners.

Strategies to divorce-proof your marriage

While divorce rates have spiked during the coronavirus, there are ways to divorce-proof your marriage. It’s not easy, but with God’s help, it is possible to avoid becoming yet another divorce statistic. These eight strategies will help you and your spouse strengthen your marriage:

Reaffirm your commitment

Matthew 19:6 says, “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Divorce-proof your marriage by removing the word divorce from your vocabulary. Make the decision to stay married and do whatever it takes to build your marriage.

Invest in you

A marriage will only be as strong as the health of the individuals. You have to take care of yourself because you can’t give what you don’t have. Make sure to take time to do things that you enjoy, but also remember to relax and recover your strength. Enlist the help of a Christian counselor to help you deal with your personal issues — we all have baggage from the past!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

Invest in your spouse

Show them how valuable they are to you. Acknowledge their special traits or virtues. Learn what makes him or her feel adored and appreciated. Ask about your spouse’s goals, passions and dreams, and then help them pursue those desires.

Invest in your marriage

To divorce-proof your marriage, you must invest in it every day. Pray and read the Bible together. Share a devotional. Prioritize date nights. Take up a shared hobby. Have sex often and in a way that you both like. Simply spend time together.

Practice healthy conflict

Even the best marriages have conflict. But you can divorce-proof your marriage by dealing with the issues that surface instead of sweeping those problems under the rug or avoiding problems.

Surround yourselves with couples who have strong marriages

Be deliberate about forging friendships with husbands and wives who live out their commitment to a God-honoring marriage.

Get help

Counseling isn’t just for emergencies — it can be preventative, too. If formal counseling isn’t your thing, join a support group where you can find instruction, encouragement and accountability.

Yes, you can divorce-proof your marriage

God designed marriage to last a lifetime. He cares deeply about your relationship with your spouse and wants to see your marriage succeed. Commit your marriage to Him and then start to build a stronger marriage by making these eight strategies part of your regular conversations with your spouse.

© 2020 Focus on the Family.

Learn How to Cherish your Spouse and Have a Deeper Connection

Do you cherish your spouse? Couples who cherish each other understand that God created everyone different, and as a result they treasure the unique characteristics in their spouse. We want to help you do just that. Start the free five-part video course called, “Cherish Your Spouse”, and gain a deeper level of connection with your spouse.

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