Apparently a lot of people are interested in what can wreck a marriage. Yesterday’s post had almost 1000 views in less than 24 hours. Because I’m all about hope, I want to give you seven tangible steps you can take to start divorce-proofing your marriage. These are things I’ve shared with three couples I’ve done marriage counseling with this week. If you’ve hit a few bumps along the way, here are some things you need to start doing:
1. Ask for help. You can’t do this alone. If you and your spouse are rehashing the same arguments over and over, you’re locked in a toxic cycle. Seek outside help. Talk to a pastor. Make an appointment with a professional counselor. Your marriage is worth it.
2. Intentionally be around other healthy couples. If your only friends are other dysfunctional or broken couples, that dysfunction will rub off on you. They will let you get away with behavior that healthy couples won’t. Find a healthy small group of couples and invest in it. Being around other healthy couples will give you hope for your own marriage. Your marriage is worth it.
3. Get on a budget and stick to it. Money is the number one thing couples fight about. Fix the money problems, fix the majority of your fights. Take a course like Financial Peace University. Talk to a financial advisor about how to get out of debt. Sell some stuff. Downsize. Get out of debt. Your marriage is worth it.
4. Have lots of sex. This once or twice a month nonsense isn’t going to cut it. The honeymoon may be over, kids may rule the house, or you may be closer to having grandkids, but a healthy sexual relationship with your spouse is one of the surest ways to divorce-proof your marriage. There are usually always other factors contributing to a less than stellar sex life, but it is extremely dangerous to withhold sex as leverage with your partner. Have lots of sex. Your marriage is worth it.
5. Draw boundaries for your family. This goes two ways. You may need to draw boundaries to keep family in. If you’re going a million miles an hour and if you have to look three weeks down the road to find a free night on the calendar, you’re too busy. Draw boundaries so that the quality of your marriage isn’t sacrificed for the abundance of activities you’re involved in. And sometimes you need to draw boundaries to keep family out, specifically your parents. If your parents are in your marriage in an unhealthy way, if they don’t give you enough space, if it feels like there are three or four people in your marriage, you need to have a hard conversation and draw some boundaries. Your marriage is worth it.
6. Get rid of the porn (guys and girls). Pornography can erode any sense of intimacy in a marriage because it substitutes what God created as healthy with something that is fake and unrealistic. Obviously a huge problem is guys and porn. A porn addiction will erode a man’s ability to connect sexually with his wife because it’s been corrupted by porn. But there’s girl porn as well. A steady diet of romance novels, romantic comedies, and especially reality romance shows present a fake and unrealistic view of love and intimacy. Get rid of the porn in your marriage. Your marriage is worth it.
7. Pray together every night. If your marriage is struggling, you need a divine intervention. Ask for it. The Bible says we have not because we ask not. So ask for God’s help, every night. Before you go to bed, get down on your knees on the side of your bed with your wife and pray for your marriage. It’s impossible to hate someone you’re praying with continually. Pray together with your spouse every night. Your marriage is worth it.
QUESTION: What are some other things that can help divorce-proof a marriage?