Sometimes, in order to know what to do, you need to learn from people that can teach us what doesn’t work. That’s why we’re looking at divorce advice for mothers by divorced women who have been there and done that. The goal is to learn from them so that we can improve our own marriages before it’s too late.
According to Stats NZ, marriage and divorce are both far less common than they were 25 years ago, but married couples are staying together for longer. In 2017, the median duration of marriages and civil unions ending in divorce was 14 years, compared with 12 years in 1992.
Also, couples that married in 1992 had a 1 in 5 chance of being divorced within a decade. That rose to an almost 2 in 5 chance of divorce within 25 years of getting married.
In 2017, the median age at divorce was 47 years for men and 44 years for women. This compares with 39 years for men and 36 years for women in 1992.
If you’re from the States, here are some stats on when you’re most likely to be dumped in your state according to Hernom.com.
Why is this important?
Well, truthfully, it’s not, but it is interesting.
What is of particular interest is the median ages men and women are getting divorced at, since 2017.
That’s usually the time people start dealing with what is commonly known as a “midlife crisis.”
According to Wikipedia,
A midlife crisis is a transition of identity and self-confidence that can occur in middle-aged individuals, typically 45–64 years old. The phenomenon is described as a psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly shortcomings of accomplishments in life. This may produce feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety, or the desire to achieve youthfulness or make drastic changes to current lifestyle.
I know that we oftentimes laugh at the idea of someone going through a so-called “midlife crisis,” but it does seem to be a real phenomenon., and in this case even relevant.
At the heart of a midlife crisis, is the idea that our identity goes through a transition that impacts our self-confidence.
And during this transition, we consciously or unconsciously start reviewing our age, the reality of imminent death, and what we’ve achieved or not achieved in our life.
This typically produces feelings of depression, regret, and anxiety, which leads to people making drastic changes in their life to recapture a sense of youthfulness.
In a sense, they want to go back in time because where they are in life, as well as their looming future, is freaking them out.
So, it’s almost a case of Kiwis getting married when they hit their 30s (in 2017, the median age of marriage or civil union was 32 years for men and 31 years for women), they stay married for 13 to 15 years, and then, when the cold, hard reality of life passing, hits them in the face, they panic or get depressed and decide to “run away.”
From their marriage.
Sometimes their kids.
All with the hope of starting again somewhere else as a reinvented person. Hopefully younger and more “successful” or “happy” this time around.
I’ve seen it happen. You most likely too.
It is sad for so many reasons, but also understandable on another level.
But, it doesn’t need to be this way.
I truly believe in two principles or concepts that can make all the difference in your life, IF you apply them as soon as possible.
- One, the “Principle of Small Things.”
- And, two, the “Principle of Compounding.”
The principle of small things basically states that small things do matter and lead to big results over time – which is the second principle of compounding.
I have read a lot of research on best relationship advice, and everything I’ve come across implies that small things matter more than big things over time.
It is very rarely the big things that break relationships apart, but almost always small things compound over time into big problems.
But these two principles work both ways.
When we do the small, right things over time, it also yields big, positive results.
The couples I know about who have succumbed to the power of a “midlife crisis,” have been disconnected and absent in their relationship for many years prior.
Their problems did not happen overnight.
When they entered the relationship in their early 30s, they most likely did what most in-love couples do.
They spent time together, talked a lot, experienced new things together, displayed a lot of grace and patience with each other’s shortcomings, gave unconditional love, were more tolerant and open during times of conflict or disagreement, and had lots of physical and sexual intimacy.
But, as time went on, they moved away from these small and seemingly unimportant things, while having to then make up for it with big things at times (read – vacations, gifts, new car, children etc.) – only to still drift apart.
And totally fixable, IF, you’re willing to do the work and staying patient until new seeing new results.
Now, on this site, there are many resources you can use to improve your life and relationships.
But, in this post, I want to give you something very simple and straightforward to consider.
I call them the 8 best relationship advice tips from divorced women.
Why divorced women?
Because they’ve been there, done that, got and sold the T-shirt.
The truth is that after a divorce or breakup, most couples have the benefit of looking at their relationship in hindsight, which could be 20/20 and very helpful moving forward.
Not everyone does it, as many are too pissed off or sad, but some do.
And we can learn from them.
By learning from them the hard-earned lessons of what rips relationships apart, you can save yourself a lot of time and heartache.
So why not take the time to learn from them?
By taking note of the following divorce advice for mothers from divorced women, it might give YOU the opportunity to make the necessary changes now, which could reduce the potential of going through a divorce yourself.
Wouldn’t that be awesome and time well spent?!
So here they are. I won’t elaborate on them too much. Just make note of the big ideas.
8 Pieces of Divorce Advice for Mothers from Divorced Women
1. You should be yourself, but the BEST you that you can muster day after day.
After years of being together, many couples start taking each other for granted.
Because it’s so easy to do.
He forgets to take out the garbage and she lives in sweatpants.
Again, the small things.
They always add up.
Please make a mental note of this somewhere in your brain.
The big things in a relationship don’t matter half as much as the small things that compound over time.
Yes, there are obviously the big things that really screw a relationship up, like cheating, but I’m not talking about exceptions. More the rule.
And one of the most overlooked “small” things you can do to improve your relationship, is to strive and become the best version of yourself.
For YOURSELF first, and by extension for your partner!
ALWAYS aim to be the best version of yourself for your partner as it communicates self-respect as well as respect for them.
It also conveys that your relationship is important enough to you, that you don’t take it, and by extension your partner, for granted.
Whether you feel like it or not, it’s important that you keep your partner front and centre every single day.
Because by doing that, you are maintaining a standard in your relationship that reflects its importance to you.
So ask yourself, what can you do to start being the best version of yourself?
Sleep more? Less?
Get a job?
Start a business?
Put makeup on?
Put less makeup on?
What can you do?
What must you do?
2. Some of the silliest arguments can happen because one of you forgot an appointment or didn’t show up for a date.
This was more difficult to solve in years past, but today you can sync your calendars and show up at exactly the right time.
The bigger question is, why is this important?
It’s important because it communicates respect for the other person.
It also communicates that your relationship is important enough to show up.
One of the most vital elements of all healthy and happy relationships is respect.
When you honour your partner by treating them with respect and dignity, your relationship wins.
The other part of this relationship advice tip is that silly arguments eventually become major sources of relationship conflict.
These initial silly arguments can very easily develop into criticism, contempt, lead to defensiveness, and eventually cause withdrawal.
And once these four toxins have moved into your relationship, you are on a slippery slope to divorce or breakup.
If your partner is important to you, make sure you show that in even the smallest of ways.
And yes, showing up on time when you said you would, is such a small way.
3. Use social media sparingly to communicate.
If you are a couple, make time for face to face communication.
According to Bustle.com, arguments about social media are becoming increasingly common in our age of digital dominance.
They cite a survey of 2,000 British adults, where one in seven married couples have considered divorce on accounts of their spouse’s relentless activities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
That’s for every 100 married couples, 14 considered divorce because of relentless activity on social media.
I expect that number to rise in the future.
Use social media for sharing cool stuff, as well as connect with people you live far away from.
It’s great to connect with grandparents and friends living in other countries.
It’s absolute shit for arguing with your partner over some trivial matter.
Do not hang your dirty laundry in public.
One, people don’t want to see it.
And two, it’s not helpful at all.
Do not kid yourself.
You are poisoning your relationship.
Social media, like any other form of technology, is great when used for the right purposes.
Communicating with your partner is not one of them.
Yes, of course, it is convenient.
But not as your main source of communication.
As I said on Instagram a while back, which got a lot of reaction from people:
Some issues cannot be resolved via text message. Looking each other in the eyes and sorting things out might be old school for some, but it still beats talking with your thumbs!
4. Sex and intimacy are important.
I appreciate that this topic is very sensitive and controversial.
But, research showing that sex and intimacy are super important for the overall well-being of our relationships is mounting.
I’ve been married for more than 12 years and we have two children, so I get how sex and intimacy often times take a back seat in your mind during this period of raising kids.
Especially if you add to that working a demanding job or building a business.
But, the reality is that sex and intimacy cannot be pushed to the side as unimportant or be put in the too-hard basket.
BigThink.com cited a study done by a group of psychologists from George Mason University who found that,
There may be more to sex than you think. Not only can it make you feel good physically, it can lift your spirits. In fact, it can give your life meaning … (it) shows how sex one day will cause a greater sense of meaning in life and a more positive mood the next day … In another interesting outcome, the research showed that to have sex increase a sense of well-being the participants had to be in more intimate relationships. Intimacy was a greater predictor of the positive afterglow…
So, what does this mean for you?
Simply this – for the sake of your marriage, you might need to put down the PlayStation, take off the sweatpants, or put some lipstick on.
Here is an important truth I have learned – unless you make time for sex and intimacy, even when you don’t feel like it, you will keep putting it off but it will erode your relationship over time.
5. Pay attention to both your financial goals and objectives.
While a little mystery is fun and exciting, not so much when it comes to your bank accounts.
Disagreements and conflict around finances almost always make it to every list of “top-whatever reasons couples fight.”
As with sex, money is also a very sensitive matter.
We have different outlooks on finances and that can impact our relationships.
If you are a saver or investor, and your partner is a spender, it will create friction and most likely massive conflict over time.
It’s therefore super important that you both know how you think about money.
You should know how much you’re spending and where.
Here is my very manly take on this – you are partners in a “business” and the business is “marriage.”
You signed a contract on your wedding day that makes marriage a contractual relationship in the eyes of the state or government.
You wouldn’t hide financial information from an actual business partner – unless you’re a really shitty business partner – so it’s important that you are both transparent in your marriage partnership as well!
At the end of the day, being transparent about finances is good for business.
And your long-term happiness.
6. Before you get married, pay attention to their friends.
This is such an important piece of relationship advice.
You can learn so much about your partner by looking at the people he or she chooses to spend most of the time with.
And friends are at the top of that list.
The reality is that most of us pick our own friends and they most often have the same traits and values that we do.
That’s why we are attracted to them.
That’s why we get along.
Obviously with differences here and there.
But at the heart of it, you can learn a lot about a person from their friends.
So, if you don’t get along with their friends, it’s a safe bet you’ll have trouble five years down the road.
Don’t take this for me – this is advice from a divorced woman.
But it makes sense.
The first thing I did when I met my now wife, was introduce her to my best friends as well as family.
Everyone loved her – still do – which gave me massive reinsurance that she was a good fit, but she also learned heaps about me.
Take the time to hang out with his friends or get to know her friends.
It will tell you a lot.
7. Don’t fall into a rut after marriage.
This is another brilliant piece of relationship advice and comes back to what I said earlier about small things.
It is so easy to fall into a rut after marriage, that you don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s too late.
Do the small things that matter.
In fact, do the small things you did at the start of your relationship, and there won’t be an end.
That’s assuming that the things you did at the start were actually good.
If you were a douche or screwed around behind your partner’s back, don’t keep doing that.
Date your spouse.
Get a babysitter.
Go on cruises (if you can).
Go away for the weekend without the kids and have sex more than once a day (especially in the mornings).
Spend a little more on a hotel or restaurant than you normally would.
It’s important that each of you feel important to the other.
One of the best ways to do this is to put yourself in situations where you can behave and act like you were young lovers again.
8. It’s time to make the decision that you WANT to be happy.
This last one is probably the more important one on the list.
So many people look to their partners to fill the cup – so to speak.
They want their partners to make them happy.
Now, it’s obviously important that we make each other happy in a marriage, but it’s not your partner’s job.
You need to make the decision that you want to be happy.
And you need to put the things in place that make you happy.
But it comes down to a willingness first. A decision to be happy. Because it comes from within.
And when you both decide to be happy, the likelihood becomes that you will both work hard to BE and STAY happy – within yourselves.
Two healthy and happy individuals make a healthy and happy relationship possible.
If one is a crutch for the other, it will eventually cripple the whole relationship.
I’ve seen it happen.
Take away …
This has become a long article.
But these 8 relationship advice tips from divorced women can literally save your marriage and life.
Make the time to go over them again.
Make a mental note of them.
Look at your own marriage right now, and ask yourself which of these eight things you need to work on.
Then go to work.
Do not wait for tomorrow.
Remember, small things matter.
They do become big things over time.