Editor's note: This article was originally published on Rachael Yerkes' blog, Travel Parent Eat. It has been republished here with permission.
Recently it seems like more and more of my friends are getting divorced. Growing up I think I knew one individual personally who was divorced. Now I have lost track. Scratch that, I don't even try and keep track.
Marriages aren't what they used to be. Or is it the people in them? Either way, with divorce becoming socially acceptable and far too frequent, I thought it would be nice to address what things you can do to protect your marriage from this outcome.
I know that every circumstance is different, this is not my soap box on condemnation for those who divorce, rather this is for those who want stronger, happier, healthier marriages, it involves some practical tips for "divorce-proofing" the relationship.
I mean what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than figure out how to love the people you are with better?
Don't roll your eyes or stop reading … I know this sounds like marriage 101 right? There is a reason this is on the list, but this is not just making an effort to communicate everything better, and talk about anything and everything, but to also change the way you communicate.
What changes should you make?
How about giving up the need to be right? According to one of our readers, "Give up the need to prove you are right. Most often it benefits everyone to just let it go. Less power struggles, more love." What matters more, being right or your relationship?
Don't let yourself grow complacent in your relationship. Don't be content with where you are — want more and work for more. Take notice, you can't just want something, you have to be willing to work for it too. Good thing the work can be fun.
Have date nights, find things you can do together to have fun, laugh, and play. It is easy to grow complacent in your relationship when you aren't actively trying to make it grow.
Couples who play together stay together, but date nights aren't the only solution, work together, pray together, kiss a lot and talk about what you want to change/grow/improve in your marriage. Then take steps to do so.
Again, pretty standard stuff, but it works. Quit trying to change your partner, instead change yourself. You will be a lot happier if you take time to work on you, and quit nit-picking what you have no control over (namely them).
I could spend all day complaining about things about my spouse, but the fact is, he is human and so am I. For everything he can improve, I probably have 10 things I need to work on. Best way to make the marriage stronger is to make the individuals that make up that partnership stronger, which means I can work on me.
Show some gratitude. It is hard to feel grateful for a spouse who is pushing your buttons, but take a minute to say "thanks." Focus on what you are grateful for, it will make you happier, and your marriage happier.
I love the idea of creating a gratitude list, where you write down things you could thank your spouse for when you are in a good mood, that way, when things get rocky, you have a list to look at.
I am sure there are a million other things you can do, but let's start with these few. I mean, I don't want anyone to feel overwhelmed. So, stop trying to be right all the time, play together, focus on improving yourself, and show some gratitude. I promise it works. I am no expert, but these simple tips have worked for me, I have been with my hubby for over 11 years (married over 10), but I still have eternity to go … and I am looking forward to it.
I am Rachael, I have a passion for all things travel. I have an incurable wanderlust, and a need to see and do. I have four littles that call me "mom," I am currently wading through the ever changing tides of parenting. I think food is one of the top reasons for living.