How to Stop a Divorce

You've invested months, years or perhaps even decades in your marriage, and now it seems to be crumbling. Divorce is expensive, painful, time-consuming and hurts friends and family members, not just the affected couple. If one spouse is willing to make an effort, you can stop divorce in many circumstances. Read on to learn how.

Invest time in your marriage. Good marriages don't just "happen" to lucky people; they must be tended to lovingly. Spend time alone away from your children, put your hobbies aside and make the relationship a priority.

Recognize and eliminate unhealthy patterns in your relationship. Notice the way your compulsions keep you calm and occupied, but separate from your spouse. If every Saturday consists of a full day of shopping or golf, ask yourself what you're hiding from.

Feel and restore the power of your emotional connection. The marital bond must provide a comforting place where you can share your hopes, make mistakes and feel loved. Nurture feelings of connection by reflecting on your spouse's actions and motivations with compassion.

Bring the spark back into your love life. Engage in loving touches that don't necessarily lead to intercourse. Give your spouse a back rub, guide your partner's hands and use gentle touch to reintroduce intimacy into the marriage.

Practice conflict prevention, and fight a fair fight. Sharing fun experiences make it easier to shrug off conflicts that stem from petty differences. Be the first to apologize and the last to lay blame in an argument.

Take ownership of your flaws and wrongdoings. Look in the mirror, and ask, "How am I contributing to this negative dynamic?" If you think your spouse is dishonest, consider your own trustworthiness. If you think your spouse is cheating, consider your fantasies about having an affair.

Begin the healing process after an affair. Although healing takes time, the first step to prevent divorce is for you or your spouse to end the affair abruptly. Communicate about the cause of the affair, pursue fun activities together and make a deliberate effort to forgive.