Most of us yearn to be in a good relationship where we feel validated, accepted, loved, and needed. Problems occur when we don’t feel like this in our relationships. This may happen due to lack of communication and understanding with your partner. Going beyond the surface, I see following underlying issues that make people frustrated and eventually may lead to divorce.
Knowing your partner and accepting him or her is the basis of a good relationship. If you fall in love with someone based on your idea of who they are instead of getting to know them, this can lead to trouble down the road. You may wind up disappointed, and your partner may not feel accepted and validated. Your partner may show love in his or her own ways, but you may not be able to accept it because you have a preconceived notion of what love looks like. Getting to know your partner will help you understand the ways in which he or she expresses love.
Go down memory lane together and remember why you fell in love with each other. You will rediscover each other again and this process can be very fulfilling. Rehash happy stories from the past when you just got together; this will help you realize that there are many reasons why you love this person, but doing this will also open up the door for getting to know each other better. In addition, you may realize that you were attracted to this person for the same reasons that you are upset about right now. If you don’t find the ways to overcome this, it can lead to failure of the relationship and eventual divorce.
Besides remembering all the reasons why you fell in love with this person, it’s important to understand your partner the way he or she truly is. How can you do this? Engage more in communication and make a point to listen carefully when your partner speaks. Reflect on your partner’s statements to make sure you understand him or her well. This will help your partner feel validated, understood, and accepted. When the person feels this from you, there is a big chance that his or her defensiveness will go down and you may get more of what you truly want or desire.
If you get into a relationship hoping that your partner will make you happy, this will create a big strain in your relationship. You may expect your partner to work on making you happy, but this is a trap for both of you. Happiness is personal quest and skill. The other person can’t make us happy.
This expectation from your partner will make you both feel powerless. You give your power away to another person by expecting someone else to provide meaning in your life. Similarly, your partner may feel powerless due to inability to fulfill this quest. We can’t make each other happy, but we can only enhance each other’s life and happiness. Only two basically satisfied people can be in a happy relationship.
Find something in life that gives you meaning outside of your relationship. When you each have something good going for yourself, you can enhance this by supporting each other and by expressing admiration for each other. This can drastically increase your connection and intimacy level.
It’s natural that at the beginning of the relationship we lose ourselves in the union, but as the relationship progresses we need to start seeking other pursuits that fulfill us. What are those pursuits? They can be hobbies, charity work, spirituality, career goals, etc. It’s important that you find deep fulfillment in something other than your relationship.
This means that you don’t put enough time in your relationship. Basically, this comes across as that in some ways you take your marriage for granted. We go through so much to get married, we spend so much effort on the wedding, but once we are married, we become complacent. We often neglect our appearance, don’t make an effort to treat each other like lovers, or we basically don’t spend one-on-one activities with our partner.
This naturally leads to falling in a rut. We focus on fulfilling other roles, such as parents and householders. This leads to lack of playfulness and fun, and in order to escape this rut and seriousness, some partners may stray. They may compartmentalize their life. Although they may love their spouses and families, this straying can be one of the causes of divorce, so they can experience playfulness, excitement, and fun.
Prioritize your relationship just like you do the other aspects of your life. Get a nanny and schedule one on time and surprise your partner. Book a room in a hotel and spend lunch time together and surprise your partner. Before your partner comes back from work, send the kids to sleep over with a trusted friend or family member, light up candles, slip into something sexy, prepare a bath for both of you, and enjoy your evening. If you’re too tired, order some food so you don’t have to cook. Be playful throughout a workday and send each other suggestive texts, emails, and post sticky notes in the bathroom mirror.
If you want to avoid divorce, it's important to help each other feel relevant and appreciated. This requires extra work, but it's well worth it if you care about your partner.