A recent study by marriage researcher Terri Orbuch reveals that when it comes to marriage advice, divorcees may have the best insight. The study, conducted over a course of 25 years, followed 300+ couples through their marriages. 46% of them split up, and some started new relationships. The study asked those divorcees the top things they would have done differently to make their marriage work. Hint: it’s all about the little things.
1. Communicate positively
Of the divorcees, 15 percent said they would have given their spouse more compliments, cuddle and say I love you more. That affirmation builds a solid foundation of trust needed for a healthy relationship. Interestingly, men seemed to need nonsexual affirmation more than women – the couple was twice as likely to split when husbands felt underappreciated.
2. Talk about finances regularly
In the majority of the marriages, money was the number one reason for conflict. Forty-nine percent of divorced people said they fought about money so often that they said money issues would probably crop up in their next relationship. Since every financial situation is different, regular communication is the only surefire way to safeguard your relationship against money conflicts.
3. Check your personal baggage at the door
In order to be happy and present in your relationship, you can’t be hung up on the past. If you’re harboring resentment for something that happened a few weeks ago or if you still think about your ex from time to time, do whatever you need to do to get past it. If you don’t feel like your issues are something you can talk to your partner about, keep a journal where you can make peace with them.
4. Shift the blame from your partner to the relationship
When fighting with your partner, it's best to treat the situation as the relationship being a problem in that moment, not your partner. Instead of saying “you’ve been such a jerk lately” say “why do you think we haven’t been getting along?” Communicate like you’re a team.
5. Sharing is caring
Yep – you learned it in Kindergarden. Communication is the number one thing the divorcees said they would be sure to change in the next relationship. Communicate in a calm way and be an active listener. Share more about yourself. Don’t be passive aggressive.