You know that old saying, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” Well, it’s true. We look back over experiences and choices in our lives, and can see more clearly what could have been done differently than when we were right in the middle of it. And the same goes for divorce.
Although people tend to learn more readily from their own mistakes than from the errors of others, there are times when learning from someone else can save you a great deal of heartbreak. With the current divorce rate it would seem that there are more than enough people who can share the wealth of their wisdom with us, and help us avoid the pitfalls in marriage that lead to unnecessary divorce.
Everyone talks, even when they aren’t saying much. But when your only conversations are about your annoying job is, your friend’s summer vacation plans, and what your child said to her teacher yesterday, you may be talking, but you aren’t really communicating.
Different people have different styles of communication. Add to that the fact that men and women often feel like they’re speaking different languages. You now have an almost perfect recipe for a communication breakdown. Overcoming these hurdles can be difficult, especially for people who are not naturally given to confrontation.
Dr. Terri Orbuch, a professor at Oakland University who is better known as “The Love Doctor” of radio and TV, has a simple rule for overcoming this obstacle: The 10 minute talk. “Every day, for 10 minutes, the couple should talk alone about something other than work, the family and children, the household, the relationship. No problems. No scheduling. No logistics.”
While this may feel strange at first, and you might find yourself floundering for something to talk about, if you stick to it, you will discover that talking to your spouse about meaningful things becomes more natural and more comfortable as time goes by. So speak up! Talk about what’s going on in your head and your heart. It will get easier, we promise.
Love, and the way we express it, doesn’t conform to a single idea. Some people express love physically, some through the giving of gifts, and others through words. What matters most, though, is that you express love to your spouse in the way that they need it expressed.
This is a very important difference. For example, if you express and experience love through the little things that your spouse does, their ‘acts of love’ so to speak, but your spouse prefers more physical expressions, like hugs and cuddling, you need to communicate your love in a way that they are best suited to receive it. It is rare that two people end up in a relationship together who both communicate their love in the same way.
For this reason, you need to find out how your spouse wants love communicated, and you need to tell them how you want it expressed. It’s no good going through daily life thinking that you are showing your love to your spouse and they are convinced that you don’t really love them at all, simply because you both speak different love languages.
According to Gary Chapman, author of ‘The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate‘, says that “…each person has a primary love language that we must learn to speak if we want that person to feel loved.” So find out what your spouse needs in order to feel loved. If you both learn to speak each other’s love languages, you would be amazed at how well your relationship will be able to weather those inevitable storms. To take the love languages test for free, go here.
Join us next time when we will be sharing a few more things that a surprising number of people wish they had known before getting divorced. After all, it may have changed the way their relationship evolved, and might even have saved them from getting a divorce.