Marriage is a relationship of balance. . . and a balance that is easily upset these days. Unfortunately, the solution many people choose to deal with the situation is to divorce. I say "unfortunate" because the vast majority of people enter into getting a divorce with a very optimistic view of the consequences. In fact, people underestimate the cost, the emotional toll, the length of time, the energy, and the consequences for children.

So, they blindly head down the road to divorce. The only ones to benefit from this action? The Divorce Industry, but the couple will not figure that out for awhile. And when they do finally realize this, they will be so angry with each other that they won't care. That is the secret that many divorce attorneys will just not tell you!

But allow me to make an assumption here. Let me assume I am "preaching to the choir." Let me assume that you are already on-board with me about the damage wrought by a divorce. Let me assume that you are not wanting to lose your spouse, that you don't want your children split between homes, that you don't want your finances devastated. Let me assume that you want to save your marriage, but you don't know if a divorce can be avoided.

If your question is "Is it even possible to stop a divorce?" -- then let us try and think through this together. You see, I don't find it helpful to try and convince people to save a marriage. I only try to provide the information you need to do that.

So, consider the following circumstances and factors that determine the likelihood you will succeed in stopping a divorce and saving a marriage. But first, let me tell you that in my 2 decades of helping people deal with a marriage crisis, I never cease to be amazed by two things: 1) marriages that should not, in my estimation, end -- do, in fact, end. 2) marriages that I think are likely to fall apart and end actually find healing and stay together.

One major lesson I have learned through this: It truly takes two people to make a marriage work, but it only takes one to royally screw it up (that is my technical term)!

That said, there are factors that play into the likelihood:

1) How long the problems have been known. This is not a matter of how long the problems have existed, but how long one person or the other has been aware of it. The longer a problem has been known, the longer someone has been asking for change. When that change doesn't ever happen, someone often becomes more and more resentful, eating away at the marriage. So, when a threat is made to divorce, it is often more entrenched and defended.

2) Whether there is infidelity or not. First, let me say that statistics show the majority of marriages where infidelity has happened do manage to survive. Second, let me also point out that I did not say "whether has been infidelity or not." We are talking here about whether the infidelity is current and on-going.

The reason is because the affair becomes idealized as the "better relationship," and that can attract the person involved away from the marriage and toward the paramour. That said, the vast majority of extramarital relationships fall apart. Think about it: one day, the person thinks "that person cheated on his/her spouse with me. . . and that could happen to me!" Any relationship built on dishonesty already has the seeds of its destruction sown.

3) Whether children are involved. Parents are capable of pulling outside of themselves and seeing that a divorce would be difficult for the children. So, while it is easy to rationalize and pretend that everything will be okay, the parents know on some level that they are fundamentally ripping away the security the children have known. This gives more opportunities for healing and restoration of the marriage in relationships where there are children.

4) How a spouse responds to the threat of divorce. This is the one you have control over! You can't go back and redo not changing earlier. You can't stop a spouse's infidelity. And you either have children or you don't. But this one, you have control over.

Spouses that take action, that find the helpful information (as opposed to the lame and useless information floating around) tend to have the best chance for restoration. Why? Because good information will helps you avoid the mistakes that make things worse, helps you to create sensible strategies for reconnecting, helps you to understand what went wrong and what needs to go right. In other words, good information gives you the tools and understandings you need to make some real, lasting changes.

Albert Einstein observed that "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Good information gives you new ways of thinking. And with that information, the chances of stopping a divorce and saving your marriage go up astronomically!

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