As the glow of the holidays begins to fade, people in struggling marriages begin to lose their strength to combat marital problems. Divorce begins to look like the best solution. In January, divorce inquiries increase and filings begin to spike. If you’re not careful, your marriage could fall victim to the dreaded “January Curse.” Luckily, there are well-proven ways to avoid an emotionally and financially taxing divorce and reignite the spark in your marriage.
- Get your finances in order. Unfortunately, money issues are one of the most common marriage conflicts. According to certified financial planner Stanley Cory, “It comes down to the breaking of trust. If you’re carrying a lot of debt, it creates a lot of anxiety. Money is a very emotional issue.” If you and your partner are often arguing over bank account balances, take the time to create a solid financial plan. Consult an expert if necessary.
- Spend more time together. Make sure your spouse feels like you’re more than just roommates. If you only see your partner briefly each day, it isn’t much of a marriage. Prioritize having time together whether that means a date night out, cooking a meal together, or snuggling up for a movie. The last thing you want is for your spouse to feel isolated or abandoned.
- Increase communication. If time together ends in fighting or is unenjoyable for any reason, talk to each other to figure out why. Listen to understand why your partner isn’t happy and determine how to take action. Don’t be afraid to share areas you think could be improved in your marriage. If you say nothing, your spouse can’t read your mind to know what to change.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t blame your partner if you have poor behavior. If you are struggling to find work, never exercise or find yourself becoming too friendly with people you are attracted to -this isn’t your spouse’s fault. Owning up to your imperfections will help a marriage far more blaming your partner.
- Be flexible. You can’t have your way 100% of the time in a marriage. Learn to “pick your battles.” Decide which fights are truly worth having and let the rest pass.
- Maintain your appearance. It’s common for married couples to “let themselves go” and stop spending much time on staying physically attractive for their partners. However, it’s still important to show your spouse you care about your health and how you appear to them. Keep exercising and dress up every once in awhile. The effort can make more of a difference than you realize.
- Be more intimate. Between work, children, and other responsibilities, sex and intimacy can sometimes seem like more of a luxury than a priority. Prioritize it. Couples without an active sex life are far more likely to consider divorce.
- Embrace small gestures. Never underestimate the power of small gestures. Give your spouse more compliments. Clean up a few extra items around the house. If your partner is sick, grab them soup on your way home from work. Small gestures add up and the effort is appreciated.
- Stay positive. If every small problem brings up the topic of divorce, it makes a relationship feel rocky and unstable. Instead, when times seem rough, look at the big picture. Remember why you fell in love with each other in the first place and consider all of the wonderful memories you have shared. You can still create more great moments.
- Get professional help. Sometimes it can help to seek an outside opinion. Divorce should be used as a last resort. Experts can often help you reconnect in ways you couldn’t figure out how to do on your own. The little extra effort it takes to talk with a professional might be just what your marriage needs.