1. Be more affectionate.
Fifteen percent of those interviewed said they would be more affectionate with their spouse, whether giving compliments, cuddling and kissing, holding hands, saying “I love you,” and offering emotional support. According to the Wall Street Journal, there are four components of displays of affection that divorced people said were important: How often the spouse showed love; how often the spouse made them feel good about the kind of person they are; how often the spouse made them feel good about having their own ideas and ways of doing things; and how often the spouse made life interesting or exciting.” The study divorcees didn't specifically identify sex as something they would change, but while physical
connection does play a large part, sex is not the only or even the best way to stay connected. "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 money more.
Not surprisingly, the number 1 area of conflict in all marriages is money. Nearly 50 percent of divorced people from the study say they fought about money so much in their marriage that they are sure money will cause problems in subsequent relationships. Thoroughly discussing your money plans and financial goals can help a marriage. Because money matters can be approached in so many ways, it’s important for couples to talk about money and talk about it often. Couples should discuss their personal spending and saving styles and come up with a plan that suits each person’s preferences as well as their joint needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but if there is frequent communication, it’s less likely that conflicts will grow out of hand.
3. Forget about the past.
Everyone has a past. For better or worse, those experiences have shaped our beliefs and attitudes — and, if we’re not careful, can distort our present and future. That’s why experts say that in order to have healthy, happy relationships, we have to let go of the past. “This includes getting over jealousy of your partner's past relationships, irritation at how your mother-in-law treats you, something from your own childhood that makes it hard for you to trust, a spat you had with your spouse six months ago.” It can be hard work to be at peace despite past wrongs, but it’s effort well spent.To relieve pent-up emotions, try journaling, chatting with a friend, working with a counselor, or writing a letter and tearing it up. If you’re not emotionally healthy yourself, you can’t expect to have a healthy relationship with your spouse.
4. Let go of blame.
There are multiple ways of seeing a problem. By getting your partner's perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective. When you’re fighting with your spouse, it’s easy to get caught in the blame game. So easy, in fact, that 65
percent of the study’s divorced participants blamed their ex-spouses. More women blamed their exes (80 percent) than men (47 percent), but holding onto blame is unhealthy both for the relationship and the individual. “Those who found blame in factors such as being incompatible or too young, experienced less anxiety, insomnia, and depression than those who blamed their former partner or themselves for a break-up,” says experts. Those who held on to anger were less likely to move on and build a healthy new relationship. To remove blame, look at conflicts with the desire to solve a problem, not hold the other person accountable. "There are multiple ways of seeing a problem, by getting your partner's perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective."
5. Communicate more openly.
By and large, communication is the No. 1 thing divorcees said they would work to improve in a new relationship. In fact, 41 percent said they would do it differently. For starters,it’s important for each partner to be open about who they are and reveal more about themselves personally. Talking about topics other than work, the relationship, the house or the children, helps your partner understand you better. "It doesn't have to be emotional, but it should be about issues where you learn about what makes each other tick." But it’s not only what you say that counts — it’s how you say it. Couples need to communicate calmly and in a caring way, using active listening to understand the other spouse.
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