Five ways to prevent divorce in your marriage

English divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag warned divorce shouldn’t become the ‘default option’ when a relationship hits the rocks. She spoke to FEMAIL about the steps to take instead.

1. Decide if there’s still something to fight for 

There will always be situations where the marriage is definitely over, especially if there is any form of abuse.

But after that it depends on the couple’s own views on what is accepted and what you can never come back from. Some matters can be impossible to solve whereas others could have solutions if you were to talk about it.

Sitting down and talking through where things are going wrong can allow you time to determine if there is something still there to fight for.

2. Lean into the problem 

It is also very easy to distance yourself from your spouse when times are tough. But this can be more damaging in the long run. Like any living thing, a marriage needs to be nurtured and cared for.

You must spend time together and feed the marriage with positive experiences. If your marriage survives on purely negative interactions, then it will obviously wither and die.

Try not to focus on what your partner has done wrong but on what you can work on together as a partnership to make sure that it survives.

We will all make mistakes, but it is how both parties react to that which will determine what happens to the marriage.

3. Don’t talk about divorce as a knee-jerk reaction 

If you come across issues don’t immediately start talking about divorce – this is neither helpful nor healthy.

Instead focus on the marriage itself and what it and you both need for it to work.

Recognise why you have got into this situation and what needs to change to avoid it happening again.

I profoundly believe in the power of reconciliation, and sometimes all it takes is for both parties to sit down and address it as a viable option.

It’s surprising how adversarial things fundamentally become in a divorce. I think it’s because there is so much at stake for people: their whole life’s work, their children, their home.

Anger and hurt can so easily blind people. It is important, therefore, to do your best to look beyond these emotions, as they are so very often destructive and debilitating and people become very intransigent on the little, insignificant things.

4. Be prepared to listen and fight for each other 

It may sound clichéd, but a marriage is a partnership and both sides have to be prepared to work at it as well as think about their partner’s needs and desires.

If someone feels they are not being heard, then it causes damage that is hard to overcome.

Listen to each other and be prepared to fight for each other rather than caving when the going gets tough.

So, if your marriage is having difficulties, stop and think. Talk things over. Remember the reason you got married in the first place and the things that you like about each other. 

Rationalise what has gone wrong. Is it really that bad that you want to completely end your life together. Have you really drifted apart, or have you just changed, and it is now important to regroup and discover what new loves you could share? 

And knowing that the law now supports an easier ending to the marriage means your energies can instead be directed in determining whether instead it can be saved. 

5. If you do divorce, don’t get bogged down in regret 

Don’t get bogged down in regret. And don’t fret about people judging you. I hope the move to no-fault divorce will make society less censorious when marriages end. 

There seems to be an irresistible temptation for those around a couple to weigh in with judgement and taking sides, especially when adultery is in the picture. 

They don’t understand that a lot of what causes people to part is hidden way under the surface of the marriage. And what people at that crossroads of their life need is support for their futures, not judgement about their pasts. 

As a divorce lawyer, you must have a real understanding and compassion for human nature and take it as it comes. 

That is why I campaigned for no-fault divorce to become law in the first place – because divorce shouldn’t be mixed up with animosity, mudslinging, shame, or guilt. 

People separate, it happens, it’s pretty natural when you have long lives and free, independent people that they might change in different ways and want to take new directions. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. 

One chapter ends, another begins, and if you throw yourself into that that next chapter it can become the wonderful time of your life.  

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