Why People Get Divorced: Tips for Staying Married
DudeDad and I celebrated our 10th year of marriage this spring.
Ten long years of mostly blissful weddedness under our belts, and, if you count the years we spent together before actually tying the knot (and we do since our toddler was sleeping in the first row at our nuptials), we’ve been doing the whole happily-ever-after thing for even longer.
Soon, the years we’ve spent together are going to pass the years we spent separately.
From what I hear, this is sort of an accomplishment in today’s world.
When you look at the reasons why people divorce nowadays, I can see why 10 years is something to give a fist bump over!
As a professional married person, I have some pearls of wisdom to help you newlyweds make it to the double digits.
1. Lower your expectations. Can’t be disappointed then! I decided long ago to just expect my husband to come home from work and play Playstation every single day of life. It’s what he did when we met at 18, so I knew he was capable of it. Now, when he comes in and cleans the kitchen or gives the Dudes a bath after work, I get to be pleasantly surprised. Twelve years later, I still feel that way. I choose to appreciate his efforts and not expect them. That way, when he has a particularly bad Tuesday, I’m not shooting him with eye daggers for leaving the kitchen sink full; he does the same for me.
2. Don’t be naggy. I know, you want your Dude to pull his weight, pitch in, and all of that. He needs to pick up his socks and put away his shoes and, seriously, if you trip over another one of his stupid golf clubs, you might Elin Nordegren him with them. I get it. But, guess what. So does he!
He needs to pick up his socks and put away his shoes and seriously, if you trip over another one of his stupid golf clubs you might Elin Nordegren him with them.
He knows that you want him to walk the dog and change diapers and mow the grass and sweep the foyer, and put. Away. The. GOLF. CLUBS. Your nagging him to do it isn’t why he does it, he does it because he wants to, and he knows he should. Nagging is stressful for everyone involved. It wastes time, and it’s usually done with some ugly behind it. Instead, have a serious, one-time sit-down with him about the things you want him to do. Let him know what bothers you and how he can fix it, then listen when he gives you his list for you. Then, leave it. If he doesn’t start putting those golf clubs away, then it’s a-ok to chase him down your driveway with them. Kidding. Mostly.
3. Tell your in-laws to take a hike. You and your spouse are partners, everyone else is on the outside of that. Unite to fight evil. Or in-laws. Or, whatever. Not allowing your extended family members to cause stress in your relationship doesn’t make you a bad person–it makes you amazing. Remind yourself of that when your mother-in-law starts her passive-aggressive guilt trip about you missing Sunday supper, and you decide to ignore her wholeheartedly.
4. Laugh together. And at each other. And at other people. Take breaks from the stressors in your life (aka your kids, if you’ve got ‘em), and get back to the things you liked about each other before you even got to the loving part. DudeDad and I go to the movies. And tell really stupid jokes. And play the hand slap game. We’re sorta kids like that.
5. Learn how the two of you communicate before you get married. I know, it’s like Dr. Phil wrote this thing! DudeDad and I have never had a screaming match. We don’t fight–we barely even argue–and that’s because we talk. And, by WE talk, I mostly just mean I talk and he listens (or pretends to). But it’s what works for us. I need to say a lot of things, cry myself snotty, and then say some more things that probably don’t make any sense. He needs to sit quietly and stare at me until it’s over, and then do everything I said. It’s what works for us, and we figured that out a long time ago. Every human communicates in their own way, and figuring out how you best communicate as a couple will help you avoid some of the ugly that sends people running to the lawyer’s offices.