How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage

How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
by Evie Shafner, LMFT

How to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage
There are so many positive suggestions about how to divorce-proof your marriage. As an Imago Relationship therapist for over 25 years, I have seen many marriages go the distance, and there are definitely some key things that those that make it have in common.

1) It's ok to go to bed angry sometimes. We all know what it's like to be in the thick of a disagreement with our partner late at night; we are exhausted, and we stay up till 2 in the morning going round and round, to no avail. Go to sleep, surrender, wake up and let the light of a new day bring perspective back into your mind. It’s even possible you don't need to revisit the situation any more, as both people may feel different with some sleep and a new perspective.

2) Be the one willing to be the soother if a fight starts - rather than having to react and defend, be willing to listen, bring kindness and empathy. In Imago, we learn to dialogue at those moments - in other words, be bigger then your partner's negativity - bigger as in showing more love. Humor at these moments can really help. 

3) In order to go the distance, fighting needs to be a seldom occurrence in your marriage - it causes too much damage.

4) Along with that, DON'T CRITICIZE- Ever! When in the history of the world has criticism ever helped ? Never- it's not helpful, only hurtful- and anything you are criticizing your partner about, they probably already feel badly about. 

5) Be a positive mirror for your partner - reflect back to them the beauty of their being, all their best, most wonderful traits, how handsome/ beautiful they are, why you married them etc. Your opinion weighs more to them than anyone else's in the world. Water your partner and they will bloom right before your eyes. Speak glowingly about them in front of friends and family. They'll bloom exponentially. 

6) Hold on to yourself. Keep your friends, your interests, your own passions - they don't have to match your partner's. My husband is a historian, loves to bike ride, watch the news- I don't do any of those things. And he is not involved in my design world, all my spiritual reading, and that is just fine. These differences continue to bring energy and aliveness into our marriage. And we don't need their approval and they don't need ours. Just a mutual admiring and respect. 

Maybe it can be summed up by the mission statement my husband and I created for our marriage from this quote by the Dali Lama- "Be kind whenever possible. It is ALWAYS possible. If you both practice that, who wouldn't want to stay together in that space forever?
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