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How to Repair Relationships Instead of Divorce

by Melody Causewell

Married couples face many challenges, leading many of them to divorce. The prospect of divorce is frightening, but you can use a variety of alternatives to avoid that final step. You can learn to regulate your emotions and communicate better, increase your financial stability and become more intimate -- all proven methods to improve outcomes for married couples. Working on your relationship helps you avoid taking off your wedding rings.

Self-Regulation

Problems with regulating emotions may lead to relationship issues, researchers from Purdue University and the University of Minnesota noted in a 2011 study published in the "Journal of Abnormal Psychology." Authors South, Krueger and Iacono reported that the temperament of an individual is the deciding factor, not only in the manifestation of mental-health issues, but also in the appearance of marital dissatisfaction through behaviors and thought patterns. These findings suggest that you may enjoy a healthier and happier marriage if you can resolve your personal emotional issues.

Communicate

Withdrawal during conflict and negative interactions between partners very often leads to thoughts or discussions about divorce, said University of Denver researchers in the academic journal "Family Process" in 2002. Authors Stanley, Markman and Whitton also found that male satisfaction is linked more to negative interactions, while women's dissatisfaction is often based on lower levels of perceived connections with her husband. Despite these differences, divorce potential across the board is related more to how you and your spouse argue than to what the arguments are about. Effective communication through open honest discussion is an important step in decreasing your potential for divorce.

Financial Stability

Economic factors play a role in overall marital satisfaction, according to 2011 research conducted through Kansas State University and published in "Psychological Reports." In this study, data from a sample of 310 married couples was examined for relationships between indicators of marital satisfaction, socioeconomic variables, religiosity and finances to determine their impact on individual decisions to remain in relationships. Higher levels of financial satisfaction are related to higher levels of marital satisfaction, suggesting that those with fewer financial stressors may enjoy improved marital stability. Working together to improve your economic position may not only improve feelings of cooperation, but may have a direct effect on your marital satisfaction.

Intimacy

Decreasing negative attributions surrounding intimacy may improve overall relationship satisfaction, according to research published in the "Journal of Marital and Family Therapy." In this study, authors Kirby, Baucom and Peterman found that negative intimacy attributions -- such as blaming intimacy issues on your partner -- along with more negative communication styles decreased the amount of marital satisfaction experienced among a sample of 84 couples, four additional men and 12 additional women. Focusing on positive communication and avoiding blame for intimacy problems may serve to improve your marital relationship and help you to avoid divorce.

About the Author

Melody Causewell has been a writer in the mental health field since 2001. She written training manuals and clinical programs for mental health organizations. She has published feature articles "Leaven" magazine and has been published in "Natural Awakenings." She has a degree in psychology, a Masters degree in social work and is a La Leche League leader.

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