Why do people file for divorce? Well, it all depends on who you ask. Now, these seven reasons aren't in any order. And, I'm not saying they're biblical reasons to divorce. But, they're the most common reasons I've heard from working with struggling couples over the years.
- Poor communication
- Lack of sex
- Marrying the wrong person
- Loss of personal identity
- I found my true soulmate.
Every situation and every marriage is different. Usually, so are the reasons people have for leaving the marriage.
However, the ways to overcome the issues and prevent divorce are pretty uniform. Yes, they will look different in every home, but research and study show some pretty clear patterns for couples that do well.
We’ll hit eight of these patterns in this post.
#1 They get grace.
They realize both spouses are profoundly imperfect and profoundly in need of grace and forgiveness. When spouses decide to love each other despite faults, as opposed to holding faults against one another, it sets a marriage free. For the believer of Jesus, you simply offer the same grace and forgiveness you get from God to your spouse. Pretty simple: Forgive as you have been forgiven. The closer you are to Jesus, the more love you have to offer. Healthy marriages are often characterized by strong relationships with the Lord.
#2 They spend time together.
The Gottman studies show that, if a couple spends five hours of undistracted time together each week, they are typically in the top three percent of marital satisfaction. Crazy! It seems like you really reap what you sow. Invest much, reap much. Invest little, reap little. Take time each week to spend time together and watch what is does for your marriage.
#3 They express gratitude.
Thriving couples typically choose to dwell on the good in one another. For most of us, we have plenty of good traits and plenty of bad ones. The couples who focus on the good actually like each other. Shocker, the ones that don’t get on each other’s nerves.
#4 They reject porn and prioritize sex.
Sex has some pretty mysterious power – both for the bad and good. When a couple prioritizes sex and intentionally comes together consistently, it can do wanders for a marriage. Plus, a good sex life in marriage often has a by-product of helping other areas of marriage as well. Pornography is one the primary enemies of a good sex life in marriage. If this is an issue in your marriage, seek the help of God, friends, and professionals.
#5 They adopt a rescue mentality.
We all have seasons of struggle. It could be anxiety, depression, fatigue, or a health issue. When these times hit, it usually isn’t real pretty. If your spouse hits a tough season, you can take an offense mentality or a rescue mentality. An offense mentality just gets ticked on how negatively the struggles impact you. A rescue mentality is going to war in prayer, service, and blessing to help your spouse out of the ditch. I have had several rough stretches and my wife taking this rescue mentality has me forever grateful for her and more in love with her than ever.
#6 They talk.
Typically, the better a couple knows one another, the better the marriage. So, if spouses are authentic and vulnerable with one another regarding stresses, struggles and victories, a unique closeness is obtained. This takes a willingness to share and a willingness to be a safe and non-condemning place for your spouse to share. Try taking thirty minutes a night, letting your guard down and sharing everything with one another.
#7 They acknowledge risk and take precautions.
A lot of amazing people have fallen to affairs. So, if we don’t think we are vulnerable, we are naïve. If David fell, so can you. A good practice is to avoid close friendships with the opposite sex. If you allow a close emotional tie with someone of the opposite sex to form, don’t be surprised if the physical wants to follow. Most don’t set out to have an affair – they allow themselves to get to close to someone and….BOOM!! the unthinkable happens.
#8 They adopt an investment mentality.
They recognize the importance of marriage and intentionally seek to grow as a husband or wife. Then, over time, they become expert lovers of one another and richly enjoy the institution. Everything takes ongoing attention to thrive. If you are not in an investment structure, join us at gracemarriageathome.com.
We always say this, but can’t say it too much. Grace and love do not mean tolerating abuse or ongoing infidelity. If you are in this situation, prioritize your safety, and get help.
Divorce is painful. Thriving marriages are fun and helpful. Practice these eight things and avoid the pains of crisis or divorce.
If you are going to be married, why not choose to enjoy it? Don’t try to simply tolerate one another, grow in enjoyment of one another. Marriage is a great gift from God. You get to do life with your very best friend and enjoy some pretty good fringe benefits as well. 😊
So, think of the areas listed, where do you need to grow?
- Time together
- Rescue Mentality
- Protecting Your Marriage
- Adopting an Investment Mentality
Pick the areas that you think need the most attention in your marriage and work together.
If you see a lot of areas for growth, there is some good news—you are normal! Now, let’s try to get abnormal and have marriages that stand out like a light in this dark world.
Brad Rhoads is Co-Founder of Grace Marriage.