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Sorry, but no Marriage is Divorce-Proof

The divorce rate may be falling, but with nearly half of all marriages still ending in divorce, it is hardly surprising that hundreds of relationship coaches and marriage counsellors are advising people on how to ‘divorce proof’ their marriages. Just as no ship is unsinkable, though, no marriage is immune to divorce.

I do not wish to detract from the efforts of these individuals; they are ultimately, after all, actually arguing that a large number of divorces can be avoided through effective preparation, planning and tolerance. When they choose to present their advice as something which is guaranteed to prevent a divorce, however, they misinform their readers.

Perhaps such headlines are inconsequential, though. The majority of married couples will be more than capable of realising when their union is at an end, but what of those that don’t? Can the circulation of such articles lead people to presume that divorce is never an option? That separation can always be avoided? It’s unlikely, but it concerns me, nevertheless.

You see, whilst there are an abundance of resources available that discuss how a struggling couple can save their marriage, there is very little available on when it’s appropriate to proceed with a divorce.

It is undeniably noble to attempt to resolve marital discord and prevent a divorce, but delaying the inevitable can, in our experience, generate antipathy between spouses. This resentment can have significant and negative repercussions when the couple do decide to divorce, particularly when the time comes to discuss the contentious issues of dividing assets and agreeing childcare.

Perversely, then, under certain circumstances, attempts at marital reconciliation can do more harm than good. Both halves of a couple will nearly always make considerable efforts in the hope of resolving their problems, but, in some instances, these attempts will prove to be fruitless.

Both spouses will rarely simultaneously decide to divorce, however. Generally, one spouse will conclude that they should file for divorce when the other feels that further attempts at resolution are appropriate. It is in this situation that one spouse can take offence; concluding that their partner is preventing them from moving on and harbour significant resentment towards them as a result. When one spouse decides that they want a divorce there is unfortunately very little, if anything, that their partner can do to change their minds.

When circulating the belief that a marriage can be ‘divorce-proof’, the writers and orators of such beliefs can lead some to believe that they can repair their relationship, irrespective of how damaged it may be. I have already stated that this is a noble ideology, but it is simply not true. Some marriages must end in divorce and acceding to the need to end a toxic relationship is a vital step in recovering from a failed marriage and laying the foundations of a happy life. If both halves of a marriage feel that divorce can be avoided, then of course they should do their utmost to circumvent it. If, however, it is inevitable, then it is far healthier to accept it, learn from your mistake and move on without guilt. You may leave with a heavy heart but, in time, this will heal and happiness will ensue.

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