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“The key to staying married is deciding not to get a divorce. It’s that simple.”

~ Lisa Marie Hayes

No one gets married to get a divorce, however, sometimes things just don’t work out as you’d hoped. Many factors influence if and when a couple divorces. Sometimes one or both spouses change over time, leading to emotional and/or physical disconnects. Sometimes infidelity or betrayal plays a part in the desire to divorce. And, sometimes, divorce arises because of a tragedy (i.e. the death of a child or financial ruin).

Truthfully, there are a million reasons why couples get divorced. But, at the end of the day, this one thing remains the same – couples get divorced because they are no longer compatible for some reason. And, guess what? It’s not always someone’s fault. People change. Circumstances change. These inevitable changes can sometimes lead to a separation or divorce. But, regardless of the reason, most divorces are overwhelming, complex, and emotionally painful for everyone involved – i.e. children, pets, mutual friends, and even extended family members.

Ironically, people assume that young adults can bounce back from divorces more quickly because they are still young and vibrant. However, that’s not always the case. The impact of getting divorced reaches everyone, regardless of age, gender, those with kids and those without them, race, culture, economic status, and educational background. No one is immune to the after-effects of a divorce. 

Getting divorced in your 20s still hurts

One may even reckon that divorces hit young adults harder than older ones because when you’re young you have a more romanticized view of love. Most haven’t been tainted by a never-ending train of bad relationships yet, so they truly believe that love and marriage are forever – when that may not be the case. Many young adults lead with their hearts because they retain a bit of their childhood innocence.

So, they dive head-first into love – and marriage. They go with their gut, and even though it’s good to go with your gut most of the time, sometimes it can lead you astray. What originally looks like “forever” may actually be “for right now.”

The result? A painful divorce. The good news is that your marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce, even if you are young. You can put certain safeguards in place that will help you not get divorced. You can work on your marriage with the actionable steps listed below.

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Actionable Steps


1

Communicate

I can’t stress this enough. If you want a happy and healthy marriage, you’re going to have to communicate every day – multiple times a day. You also have to talk about easy topics and hard ones. You need to feel that you can express your thoughts and feelings to your spouse without getting criticized, dismissed, or judged. 
 
Another good thing about communication is it prevents you from being blindsided. If something is “off” in your marriage, you can address it right away if you have good communication. This is important because it can prevent a future divorce. Communication provides you with an opportunity to work on your marriage before it gets to the point of no return.
 
So, talk to one another about anything and everything, and try not to take offense if you hear something you don’t like. Remember, marriage is a learning process.

2

Be accountable

In other words, don’t pretend that you play no part in the current state of your marriage. “It takes two to tangle.” Literally. Be accountable. Even if you believe you are innocent in everything, there is probably something you said or did that contributed to the decline of your marriage. This is a tough one because no one wants to accept blame – even partial blame. It’s much easier to blame the other person. But, that’s not fair.
 
You are both responsible for keeping your marriage afloat. So, if you have grown distant from one another because you work an insane amount of hours and have little time to spend with your husband or wife – own that. Admit that you could have made more time for your spouse. And, if you turned to outside relationships or alcohol to fill the empty void left by your workaholic spouse – own that too.
 
No one forced you to cheat or turn to alcohol as a form of “escape” or comfort. It was a choice you made. In this scenario, both people are to blame for what’s happening in their marriage. It doesn’t matter who started it first. Be accountable, be honest, and look within before pointing fingers at your spouse.

3

Recommit to each other

More specifically, recommit to one another and to your marriage. Vow to work on the marriage together. Address your issues and make a plan on how to tackle these issues. You must identify and address these issues as early as possible. You don’t want them to lead to a divorce, so gather your courage and broach the subject with your spouse. 
 
Consider renewing your vows and enter into this phase of your marriage with a new and fresh perspective. Get to know each other again. Reconnect by going on dates and spending time just talking about everything – i.e. your dreams, hopes, fears, and everything else under the sun. Go to a couples retreat or vacation together to realign yourselves, so you’re one cohesive unit. 

4

Seek counseling

The truth is, no matter how hard we try, sometimes we need a little extra help in making things work. If you have tried several times to get your marriage back on track, but are still struggling, it’s probably time to make time to go speak to a relationship or marriage expert such as a couples counselor, marriage counselor, marriage and family therapist, or family psychologist. This expert can help you pinpoint the true origin of your relationship issues, so you can work through them – together. He or she can also teach you coping skills while helping you improve your communication and problem-solving strategies.

5

Read more about this topic

If you are interested in learning more about “how to not get divorced,” check out the following articles: 10 Tips for Preventing Divorce, 20 Most Common Reasons for Divorce, and How to Fix a Broken Marriage: Life-Changing Steps to Save a Marriage From Divorce.

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About the Author


Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn


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