The 5 Things to Prioritize in Your Relationship to Prevent Divorce
When we first fall in love, we want it to last forever.
We pray that the word “divorce” never crosses our lips.
However, the reality is that not all marriages (or long term relationships) last forever.
Here’s what you should prioritize in your relationship to decrease the chances of breaking up.
My first recommendation has to be communication, and I believe that good communication is actually key to the other four topics. Good communication, both in the bedroom and outside of it, is key to a successful relationship. With good communication, you can work together to navigate the ups and downs that all relationships go through over time.
If your partner is doing something you don’t agree with, or behaving in a way you find confusing or seems out of character for them, ask them what’s going on. Gaining a deeper understanding of your partner is much more helpful than judging them for being different than yourself or trying to guess what they are thinking.
Clear, kind, compassionate, and judgment-free communication with your spouse. Try and learn more about their differences instead of judging them, or trying to make them more like you. Communicate your needs, feelings, and expectations of your partner, and ask them to do the same with you. Try to always listen. You don’t have to agree, but listen and try to understand their unique perspectives, even when (and perhaps especially when) you don’t agree with them.
It is so incredibly important to be respectful of your partner and treat them kindly at all times. Sometimes we take our partners for granted and treat them in ways we would never treat a friend or co-worker. Remember, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and compassion at all times.
Even if you’re in the middle of a heated argument, there is no reason to stop being respectful of each other. Slurs and insults have no place in a healthy relationship. It’s okay to feel frustrated or angry, but not okay to take it out on your partner.
Always treating your partner with respect, even if emotions are running high. If you feel yourself escalating into a non-respectful place (or your partner is), remove yourself from the situation until you can calm down. Productive communication happens when everyone feels respected and emotionally safe.
Another key component to having a successful long term relationship is trust. Which can feel easier said than done for many folks. Ideally, the relationship can be built on a foundation of trust, that is reinforced and maintained over time. However, that’s not always the reality.
Sometimes trust is broken, and it can be hard to repair. Challenging, but not impossible. Using clear and kind communication, work together to co-create what each person needs in order to feel safe and trusting. Constant checking in and monitoring of your partner isn’t healthy and breeds resentment and other issues over time. Instead, ask yourself why you don’t feel trusting of your partner, and then communicate that with them.
Working together to build a relationship where each person feels emotionally secure, and safe to trust each other. Instead of ‘monitoring’ or ‘snooping’ behaviors, talk to your partner about where you think your feelings of insecurity may be stemming from.
This one is sometimes the most challenging for people to navigate. Over the years when I’ve told my couples clients that they need to see their partner as an individual that is separate from themselves, they are often shocked. They say “Isabella, we want to grow closer, not further apart!”. However, seeing your partner as an individual can actually help create intimacy and foster a long-term erotic relationship.
You are both unique entities coming together to co-create a relationship. Not one person.
Honoring your partner’s individuality is key for a happy romantic life and thriving erotic relationship. While “sameness” and shared interests boost bonding hormones like oxytocin and create feelings of security, it is in the honoring of the individuality and “separateness” that eroticism can thrive. In the words of Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity;
“Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery. Love likes to shrink the distance that exists between me and you, while desire is energized by it.”
Treating your partner as a unique being, one that is separate from who they are in relation to you. Remember that eroticism needs a little mystery to thrive. You don’t have to do everything together, or agree on all the same things. In fact, the very differences you may be trying to change might be what could keep the spark alive over the long haul.
I saved my favorite for last dear ones, sex! Sex is immensely important for a long term relationship to thrive (except in the case of folks who identify as asexual). Sex improves mood, builds connection and intimacy, and completes stress cycles in the body, all great reasons to have more of it.
By focusing on the four previous points you will create a healthy and stable long term relationship, and create an environment where eroticism can thrive. Make sure to:
1- Communicate your sexual feelings, needs, and expectations.
2- Always treat your partner’s sexuality with respect.
3- Trust your partner and communicate sexual insecurities to navigate emotions of jealousy and fear.
4- Acknowledge and honor that your sexuality and your partners are unique and separate. Instead of trying to be the same, co-create a sex life together that celebrates your differences.
Making time for sex! Expand your definition of what sex means to you. It doesn’t always have to be penetrative or genital focused. Maybe sometimes it’s taking turns giving each other all over body massages. Take the time to prioritize intimacy, I am always a fan of scheduling sex, which shows your partner that intimacy, pleasure, and connection with them are important to you.
How To Prevent Divorce
Preventing divorce is a two-person job, that requires each partner to have the patience for the ebbs and flows of outer and inner life. External stressors like job changes, moving house, childrearing, and a myriad of other things will change the relationship. Internal influences like stress, grief, hormonal changes, mental health, physical health, and many others will affect the relationship too.
Both parties need to show up emotionally for one another, have the patience to go with the flow, and keep committing to and prioritizing the relationship. I hope these tips help, and I wish you all happy and healthy romantic and sexual lives.
Before we part ways… I feel it’s important to note that a relationship ending doesn’t have to mean “failure”. Preventing divorce isn’t always what’s best for the individual(s) involved. Sometimes parting ways is what’s best for everyone. If that’s the case, I feel we should still consider the relationship (and choosing to end it) a success.
It is my hope that these tools are helpful for every individual to cultivate healthy and joyful partnership skills and tools.