Many people assume the worst when they hear that a couple is getting divorced. They automatically assume that someone cheated, or at the very least, that a very specific, singular problem as at the heart of the split.
The reality, however, isn’t nearly so simple. Infidelity isn’t always at the center of a divorce, and couples may split up for any number of reasons… or overcome any number of obstacles (including an affair) to stay together!
This raises a couple of important questions – first, why do people think this way? Second, what really causes divorce?
Part of the reason people might want to make such assumptions about divorce is, well, fear. If they see divorce as something that happens only as a product of infidelity, then they can put all of their focus on avoiding that specific problem. If there’s no affair, they’ll never get divorced – this is delusional thinking. It’s much more complicated than that, but when people oversimplify these kinds of things, they can feel like less of a threat.
So, why do divorces happen?
The ugly truth is that divorce is the final stage of the long, slow death of a marriage. Divorces happen over time as the connection between a couple falls apart, as they drift away from each other, as they continue bad habits and neglect the important parts of their relationship. All of this, though, is just the lead up – and no matter how bad it gets, divorce is ultimately a choice.
Divorces don’t just “happen” – a couple has to throw in the towel and decide that the marriage is not worth saving.
There’s no single event that makes them happen, and they are by no means inevitable. We can always decide to break the cycles of negativity, to reform our habits, to change the way we treat our spouse and the way we approach the marriage. Just as divorce is a choice, so is building a strong, healthy, happy marriage!
In both cases, it’s a combination of many factors that make or break a marriage.
Divorce is the last straw of a slowly crumbling marriage, but it’s the details that really do the damage – not spending time together, forgetting to compliment and flirt with one another, taking each other for granted, negativity, putting each other down, letting your sex life fall by the wayside… and on and on. The actual decision to divorce comes later. The damage is often done over a long period of time, and even if a divorce is preceded by an affair, what led to the affair? These things don’t just “happen” without circumstances that develop over time.
The good news is, though, that all of these same factors are what can protect your marriage from divorce. By spending time together, complimenting and flirting with each other, appreciating each other’s contributions to the household, staying positive, working together to solve problems, maintaining a healthy sex life… and so on, you can build up the strength of your marriage to make an affair less likely, to keep fights and conflict to the bare minimum, to drastically reduce your chances of even considering a divorce – and above all, to make your marriage happy and fulfilling!
It’s the little things that count, so be aware of how you approach your marriage over the course of each day, not just when it’s “date night” or you disagree with your spouse. How you treat each other - and the amount of effort you put into the relationship - are the biggest factors that lead to divorce, or protect you from it!
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com