We’ve all heard the disheartening statistic that 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. While this stat continues to get tossed around, the reality is that the divorce rate hasn’t been 50% in a long time. There was a divorce surge for couples married in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but in the last 20 years divorce rates have continued to drop. In fact, a study from The New York Times’ data blog, Upshot, reveals that couples married from 1990 on have divorced at a rate of 35% or below. More couples are staying together and there may be good reason for doing so.
The National Survey of Families and Households surveyed over 5,000 married adults, of which 25% said they were unhappily married. Five years later the same couples, many of whom had undergone a divorce, were surveyed again. Close to 80% of the couples who decided to stay together considered themselves “happily married” and “much happier.” Surprisingly, only 19% of the couples who got a divorce reported being happy. So, if divorce isn’t the answer, how do you go about building a happier marriage?
The Blueprints For A Divorce Free Home
Building or maintaining a divorce-proof marriage starts with the place where you and your significant other spend a majority of time together: your home. There are a number of things that you can improve in every room of the house to strengthen your marriage. We’ve outlined important actions or activities that keep couples happy as they relate to key rooms within the home.
Cooking provides a key opportunity for couples to bond with one another. Cook together to facilitate communication, express your creativity and make healthy meals for your family. If one spouse doesn’t know how to cook, consider turning this time into a casual “cooking lesson.”
Romance is a key component of any healthy marriage. If you are unable to spend physical time together because of work or other obligations, keep the romance alive through phone calls or even handwritten notes left for your partner. If your sex life is suffering, have an open and honest discussion with your spouse to deal with the issue before it affects other aspects of your marriage.
Running a household requires a consistent effort on the part of both spouses. Whether it’s reorganizing the garage or dusting the living room, one of the most common arguments spouses have involves the unwillingness of one or the other to do their fair share of the housework. To prevent these disputes, come up with a clear division of labor for you and your spouse. Do your part without complaining or making excuses.
The Dining Room
Having dinner as a family is an excellent way to bond and share information about your day. Try to eat dinner together at the table every night. If you aren’t able to be together for dinner, try to meet for a different meal instead. During the meal, set your electronic devices aside so that you can spend valuable time together.
The Living Room
Your home’s living room sees many of the most important events that take place throughout the year, including the holidays. When Christmas, Valentine’s Day and other important holidays roll around, put some thought into the gifts you buy for your spouse. Giving a thoughtful gift communicates your love and affection for your spouse in a tangible way. Don’t wait until the last minute or forget to purchase a gift altogether, as this can lead to hurt feelings and fights.
The TV Room
Watching TV with your spouse can be a beneficial pastime, especially if you don’t work in the same field and have trouble finding common ground. Enjoying a television show you both like gives you something to discuss, and it allows you to unwind and spend time together without any pressure.
Everyone needs some time to themselves to relax and calm down. Often times the bathroom becomes a refuge for privacy. Respect this need for alone time by allowing your spouse to take a long shower or a hot bath when he or she needs it. Don’t interrupt this time or guilt your spouse into hurrying up. Instead, encourage him or her to spend some time alone so that your time together will be more positive and productive.
The Kid’s Room
Children are a blessing, but they can also be a source of arguments if you and your spouse don’t parent carefully. When it comes to discipline and other important decisions related to raising children, make them together with your spouse as a team. Don’t criticize or disagree with your spouse about these issues in front of the children. Instead, always present a united front and handle any disagreements that may arise in private.