Divorce: one of the ugliest words in the English dictionary. Just two days ago, I learned that my neighbors, who have four young children, decided to separate. This news just broke my heart. Because of the heaviness on my spirit right now, I wanted to go ahead and blog some of my thoughts on the topic.

First of all, it is obvious that there is a crisis in the American home these days. While I don’t completely trust statistics, let’s face it, the divorce rate is ridiculously high in this country. The more important question, however, is why? Why are so many husbands and wives choosing to release themselves from all matrimonial obligations?

I don’t want to come across sounding judgmental to anyone who has chosen or suffered through a divorce. That is not my intention whatsoever. I understand that every situation is unique and equally complicated; nevertheless, what I will venture to do is share some practical suggestions to anyone who might be contemplating divorce or struggling in their marraige. If you feel you need help relieving some of the pressures in your home and have hope that your marraige can be restored, please read on….

First, start with yourself. Ask, “What am I willing to do to help my marriage?” Stubborness and pride are usually the two biggest culprits in ruining a marriage. If you can identify things that you can let go, or things that you can do that you know will make your spouse happier, start doing these things right now… don’t wait.

Secondly, make a list of all the things that your spouse does that upsets you – even the little things. After all, you may just find that many of the items on the list are just that, little things. And if they are, decide how many of these issues are really worth all the stress and heart aches you are now experiencing.

Thirdly, dig deep within yourself and try to find a positive outlook on the future. While most troubled marraiges cannot be fixed miraculously overnight, understand that if your frame of mind is that it’s all hopeless and lost, then your chances for restoration are limited. Try to believe that, through a slow and deliberate plan, you can reach a solution.

Finally, talk. That’s right… talk with your spouse. Studies show that the #1 reason for divorce is NOT money as some may think. It’s communication. Lack of communication is the #1 reason that marraiges struggle to survive. My advice then is simply to talk through the situations, talk through the pain, talk through the financial crises, talk through the bitterness and the forgiveness…. just talk.

I understand that not all marraige issues can be resolved in just four easy steps, but it has to start somewhere, and usually it starts with a willingness and a perserverence to try… try again… and never give up. Please bear in mind, I am not implying that the onus is all on you either, or that you alone have the control to salvage your marraige. Most definitely, it is a two way street and a collaborative effort. Nevertheless, if you want your marriage to survive, do what YOU can do…. and give it your very best shot.