A Divorce Attorney's Tips on Staying Married
By: Georgia Thomas, Esquire.
I have been a divorce attorney for seventeen (17) years. I have heard from my many clients why they chose to exit their marriages and leave their spouses. I began to notice that many shared certain problems, obstacles, or mistakes that resulted in their failed marriages. The good news is that couples can avoid these issues and stay married, well, not just married, but happily married.
The following is simply to guide you in the right direction. I do not pretend that it is the bible on happy marriages. As a matter of fact , it is possible that you already know all of this and more or you believe that your marriage does not need any guidance because it is perfect for you. If so, great, this is the ultimate goal, finding the recipe that works for your marriage. For those who may need it, note that I develop a little more the issues that have created havoc in many, many marriages, thus I spend more time on them.
So here it goes:
1. Make your marriage a priority. Do not let work, children, financial issues, problems of
any kind become a priority in your life. Throughout the years, you will face one or more
issues, some of them major, that will test you to the chore. Be ready to deal with them
together, but Never let them supersede your marriage, this loving relationship to one
2. Guard your marriage. You two are the only guardians—and God-- of that relationship.
A repeated example of when a spouse fails to guard his/her marriage is by keeping any
contact or interaction with an ex. You should know better, but if you do not, hear me,
hear me loud and clear: Exes are from the past for a reason and should remain in your
past. There is no reason to meet or speak to an ex for “closure” or because it is totally
“innocent.” Closure happened when you broke up and if one still needs more closure,
purposely ignore him/her by blocking his/her telephone number, remove him/her as your
facebook friend. After all, we , as adults know that cheating does not happen overnight,
it starts with a telephone call from a friend, or an ex, a smile, an innocent friendship.
3. Be Loyal- you and your spouse are two unique individuals who have now become a team
of one. No matter what transpires in any situation you will face jointly or individually
no one else is more important. Be there for each other- always. You know that this
person has your best interests at heart and because of that, your loyalty lies with him/her.
To maintain it requires open communication. No issues are off limits, so be prepared
to share joyful and painful moments and face serious problems. Your spouse should be
your best friend, not the neighbors, the coworker, or friends from your church or any
group. I repeat, go to your spouse for advice on an issue, for ideas on a project, to cry, to
laugh, to play, to implement your goals in life.
4. Sex. I bet you heard this word before. Are you really doing often enough? That is the
key question. And if you answered “no”, your marriage will ultimately get in trouble.
Sex is actually not so hard to do and it is so much fun. For example, have a date once
a week which could include diner and a movie, go for a nice walk holding hands and
hugging each other from time to time; go for a drink, go dancing, go to a cooking class or
a painting class, peruse an art gallery, go away just the two of you for a few days as often
as you can afford it. I heard a celebrity couple state that they go to a different hotel once
a week and that the novelty keeps everything interesting. So maybe you do not have
that kind of income, but how about once a month, every 3 months, every six months, or
once a year. Finally, nothing keeps the spark more alive than SEX. Yes, it is surprising
that many couples forget to have sex and make love to their spouse regularly. This is a
Big mistake. The many “reasons” used for violating the unspoken rule of marriage are:
“ I am so tired....I am under so much stress at work....Not today....Again, we did it two
days ago.....You do not understand”. I am telling you right now to just stop it. Sexual
intercourse between spouses is a beautiful and sweet necessity. Moreover, there will be
times when you share your body with your spouse even though you are not really in the
mood. Do it, and the favor will be returned to you when you need it. Now, if you never
want to have sex or make love to your spouse, immediately inquire with the appropriate
professional to get to the root of the problem.. If you are shy or inexperience, speak to
your spouse, and together, through happy trial and error, you can ultimately experiment
great sex. You both deserve just that.
5. Arguments- You do not need to win every argument. Remember you are an adult, a
spouse, not a spoiled brat. However, if something is important to you, then by all means,
make it known to your spouse, even demand that you be heard, and make sure that he/she
understands why this is so important to you and why he/she must respect that.
6. Appreciate your Spouse- A routine may slowly make the relationship very dull. After
all, you are living with this person, you see him/her everyday, soon enough you stop
appreciating your spouse or even really noticing the person. Remind yourself of the
beginning, so keep buying her/him the flowers, keep surprising her/him with the gifts,
keep showering him/her with the compliments, and keep paying attention to her/him, the
person and act accordingly.
7. Show your Spouse Love. You must know how your spouse wants you to show him/
her love. Is it by showing him/her affection: kissing/hugging/love making, by buying
her/him gifts, by writing him/her love letters, or by communicating with him/her, etc. I
must caution you here that it may not necessarily be how you want love shown to you.
That is quite ok as your spouse will know what you want and shower you with it.
8. Compromise. This is extremely important in any long lasting marriage. You must
remind yourself that you are no longer a single man/woman and the days of doing things
your way are gone. You must always include your spouse’s likes and dislikes, goals, and
dreams in any decision you are making as it may affect both of you or just your spouse
now or in the future. Thus, both of you must give and take constantly without keeping
track who is doing what, this is not a competition. This is simply teamwork.
9. Trust. No trust in a marriage equals a no-marriage. Trust is a necessary component of
a healthy and happy marriage, not an option. You must trust your spouse’s words and
actions and be able to “take that to the bank” and to rely on them to be fully functional
and productive in the marriage but also in this world. You would be a fool to trust
everyone, but trusting your spouse is a Must.
10. No break. Spouses do not have the luxury of taking a break, no matter how temporary
you think it will be. Attack any major problem as if your life depends on it. Do not
ignore problems. Be ready to ask hard questions as well as to receive painful answers.
Do not be afraid to seek help from a trusted mutual friend, a priest, a pastor, licensed
professional, or anyone you trust. Do not move out of the marital home, unless safety is
an issue. Otherwise fight together to save the marriage and have your happy ending.