In these turbulent times, when relationships can really take a beating, it’s become almost trendy to deep-six that melancholy marriage. Many people today see divorce as an easy solution, one which no longer carries the old social stigma. But, particularly when stress is taking its toll, this might be the worst thing you could do. With no partner to share the pain, a divorce could quickly turn your problems from bad to “Don’t even ask.”
If you care about preserving your marriage, you need to be aware of a few lightning rods that are nearly certain to attract that stroke of doom to your once-loving union. In order to give your marriage a fighting chance, you must avoid these six destructive triggers of divorce:
Divorce Trigger #1: I Won’t Be Happy Until I’m Divorced
It ain’t necessarily so! In a study at the University of Chicago, sociologist Linda Waite found that, on average, unhappily married people were no happier after a divorce than those who decided to remain married. In fact, a full two-thirds of study participants who decided to stay with their marriages actually described themselves as “happy” when retested five years later.
Divorce Trigger #2: The Debbil Made Me Do It
Your partner may behave in such bizarre and inconsiderate ways that you feel compelled to request a separation, if only to salvage your self-respect. However, if you do, your spouse will feel absolved of any responsibility for the break-up. After all, you were the one who insisted on it!
Don’t fall into this trap. What you need to do instead is fight for your relationship. Champion your marriage! At the very least, you’ll have called your partner’s bluff.
Divorce Trigger #3: Everybody’s Getting One
Well, not everybody. While it is true that the current divorce rate in America stands at around 50%, it is also true that 50% of marriages do not end in divorce.The glass is still half full.
Divorce Trigger #4: Saying the Word “Divorce”
In the midst of a heated argument, it’s all too easy to shout in anger, “That’s it. I want a divorce!”
Now, you may just be going for the “wow” factor here, and not really mean it at all. Unfortunately, once you’ve uttered the word “divorce,” it will hang in the air between you like a dead fish at low tide. Do it more than once, and you’re headed down the slippery slope to Splitsville. If you want to keep your marriage intact, never mention divorce to your mate.
Divorce Trigger #5: Talking to Your Lawyer
Never, ever, seek out a divorce lawyer on your own. Once your mate learns that you have done this, you’ve drawn a line in the sand. The two of you will now reside in opposite enemy camps, and there may be no turning back. Visit a lawyer only when you both have decided together, as a unit, that there truly is no other way.
Divorce Trigger #6: Seeing Divorce as Glamorous
Sure, the hot celebs may all be doing it, and their subsequent marriages might even have the look of absolute bliss — at least, until they, too, crash and burn. While the antics of the glitterati can give divorce the appearance of glitz and glamor, the sad truth is that getting a divorce of your own will not turn you into a rock star.
Divorce Should be the Very Last Resort
Divorce is not a magic potion. In and of itself, divorce will not resolve your mid-life crisis, clear up your acne, or help you win the lottery. If your marriage is truly past the point of no return, you may not have an option. But if you feel there is even a shred of your marriage worth saving, then watch your back, and beware these six triggers of divorce.
“The Book of Inside Information,” Editors of Bottom Line, Boardroom Classics
“National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends,” Centers for Disease Control
“Divorce Rates in America,” Marriage 101
“Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages,” Linda J. Waite et al