By Michael Griswold for YourTango.com.
Fifty percent. One out of two. Half. No matter how you word it, we all know that divorce is a problem plaguing American marriages. Some end because of affairs, others end because of two people simply falling out of love. Some end because a couple wed before they were ready, others because a couple wed for the wrong reasons. But, no matter why a marriage fails, it doesn’t make the pain hurt any less. That’s the bad news.
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The good news is that saving a relationship is easier than many people believe: the secrets of how to save a marriage aren’t reserved for relationship gurus or couple counselors. Instead, knowing how to save a marriage often comes down to common sense. Common sense and this:
1. Not acting rashly: Some divorces are drawn out forever; other marriages disappear in a matter of seconds (I’m looking at you, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries). But, it seems the former may be the wiser. When two people divorce too quickly, it is often because they haven’t thought things through: they are acting out of anger and impulse. And this makes them much more likely to be burdened with regret later on down the road.
2. Being willing to change: Your relationship is broken for a reason…or, more accurately, for reasons. You bring some of these reasons to the table and your spouse brings some. But, the only changes you can make are the ones that have to do with you. Thus, it’s real simple: if you want to save your marriage, change. If you want to get divorced, then don’t.
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3. Getting outside help: No, outside help doesn’t include your mother-in-law or your spouse’s best friend. Instead, outside help means a professional. Visiting a marriage counselor regularly allows you and your spouse to benefit from the view of an objective party. They may point out things you haven’t realized or offer a perspective that is eye-opening. But, remember: the amount of help they can offer is limited (and not only because of your health insurance plan). To benefit the most from professional help, you must also help yourself as well.
4. Listening: Humans, by nature, are stubborn: it is difficult for us to back down from an argument or admit when we are wrong. But, if you were to ask anyone how to save a marriage, the odds are high that they would reply with one word: listen. Listen to what your spouse is saying and work on meeting their needs, even when that means backing down from your point of view. If you can do this, you just might save thousands on divorce lawyers.
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5. Remembering: One of the reasons the possibility to save a marriage even exists is because of the foundation it rests on: it is a foundation of love. There is a reason you got married in the first place: remember that reason. Think about what you enjoy about each other and focus on that; remembering the good is a great way to cancel out the bad.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Unhappily Married? 5 Tips To Act On Before You File For Divorce.