“It’s Over!” You Disagree: How to Stop a Divorce
Is an impending divorce wreaking havoc on your well-being? Were relationship “red flags” waving for quite some time, but you turned a blind eye to them?
From the outside or even from within a marriage, the relationship may not have seemed at rock-bottom yet.
For this reason, a divorce request catches many spouses off-guard. It becomes easy to fall into a rut of victimization at the shock. However, it’s important to recognize that a divorce request isn’t a divorce itself.
If you readily accept this notion, you may find it worthwhile to search diligently for a strategy on how to stop a divorce.
Should you or a loved one find yourself in this situation, consider the following plan of action on how to change your spouse’s mind and stop your divorce.
Develop a Strategy
Perhaps your spouse already filed for divorce or is still at the asking stage. Now is the time to closely examine the conflict between you. Furthermore, take stock of the issues your spouse has pointed out in the past.
Inevitably, this will not be comfortable. You are launching a campaign on how to stop a divorce, so begin with an open mind.
Be ready to take action. Whether it’s attending a support group, participating in counseling, or adjusting your work schedule to better aid your family time – take the step.
Learn From the Past
Looking forward to a better future often requires a long look at the past. Resist the urge to play the victim during this time. Most likely, there have been misunderstandings created by both parties. However, you need to inspect yourself right now.
Recall mistakes your spouse pointed out. Do they carry weight? If so, how can you change your actions in the future to improve the relationship?
In addition, try to identify the internal causes for those mistakes.
Have you been an angry person who has created tense feelings that your spouse can no longer tolerate? Have you been neglectful of your spouse as you focus too much attention on work or others? Have you let your family intrude on your life as a married couple, not establishing good boundaries for the two of you?
This accomplished, you can then determine a better approach.
Take Stock of Yourself
It may seem counter intuitive to focus so much on yourself with a divorce in the works. Yet you are the only one who can change you, so that’s where your focus should lie. Pointing the finger at your spouse is counterproductive.
How are your self-care, self-esteem, and self-image?
These can all affect the nature and outcome of a relationship, especially when mired in insecurity or resentment. Without taking proper care of yourself, genuinely reaching out to a disconnected or distant partner is going to be even more of a challenge.
Go Back to the Beginning
Return to the foundation of your relationship. In other words, go back to the basics, Marriage 101, if you will. A “sudden” request for a divorce usually occurs because relationship fundamentals have been ignored for too long.
Learn or relearn the proper skills required for a successful marriage. These skills should include effective communication, positive conflict resolution, and how to maintain the connection.
Resolve to make the changes necessary. It is often necessary to get the help of a professional to guide you through this process. Don’t hesitate as you will need all the help you can get.
Address Your Past Hurts
Bitterness, whether it developed from your childhood experience or as a product of a dissatisfying adult experience, is detrimental to you and your current relationship.
One of the most rewarding undertakings can be addressing your past hurts. The process is generally necessary because along the way you learn more about how you got to this point.
The challenge here is to understand more fully how the experiences of your past may have caused you to behave in ways that probably undermined your success in this relationship.
Your goal is not to be a perfect person or partner, but only to recognize how your participation has been shaped by your background. Moreover, once you really get it, how you would prefer to behave moving forward.
Ask yourself, “What kind of partner do I aspire to be”?
How you aspire to be as a person and what you would like to change or do differently, gets driven by a deeper understanding of yourself. Having an open mind and willingness to change is the key.
About the Author
Dr. Stan Hyman is a licensed psychotherapist and life coach in private practice in Miami, Florida. He works with couples struggling with powerful issues such as divorce, infidelity, loss of trust and intimacy. He often works with couples on the brink of divorce, helping them to gain clarity on what path they will ultimately choose.