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Divorce-Proof Your Marriage By Asking Your Spouse These 3 Questions

Alexandra Stockwell, MD, teaches you why you shouldn't wait until you’re in a crisis to establish what you want in your marriage.

Marriages end because individuals don’t know what they want and/or haven’t communicated it to their spouse.

So if you want to divorce-proof your marriage, start by figuring out your answer to these questions.

  1. How do you define “security”? 
  2. What constitutes a satisfying sex life?
  3. How do you feel about how we communicate? 

Will these questions guarantee that you won’t have struggles in your marriage as the years go by?

Of course not. They will, however, contribute to a conversation that is VITAL to the overall health of your marriage.  

You’re likely to still argue, even slam doors, and there may well be times you don’t necessarily like each other that much. However, that does not mean that you don’t love each other. Part of expanding that love for one another is to be clear about your expectations in your marriage and how you BOTH define a successful relationship. 

 

DO NOT WAIT UNTIL A CRISIS TO TRY AND FIX YOUR MARRIAGE. 

Waiting to talk and share your honest answers about the aforementioned questions will only set your relationship up for more stress, hurt, and resentment. If you do suffer from stress, hurt, and resentment, hope is not lost–but it’s definitely a harder road to travel.  

Whether your marriage is brand new, you just had kids, or you have been married for 30 years, there is always room for awareness and self assessment. Your goal should be to establish what you want, share that with your partner, and come to an agreement on what works best for each of you separately, as well as for both of you as a couple.

Emotional intimacy – which comes with the ability to share your truth in a loving and kind manner – is key to a successful marriage.

Passion, love and strength arise from clear communication and mutual understanding of what each partner wants within the marriage. And not having clear communication and mutual understanding of one another’s desires undercuts the connectedness in a relationship.

In many circumstances, the wants and needs of one partner don’t necessarily line up with what the other one wants–that’s normal and it’s truly not a problem! One partner may be more introverted, and the other more extroverted. One may want the lights on during lovemaking, and the other not. One may want children right away, and the other one wants to wait. One may be ready for retirement as soon as it’s financially feasible, and the other one wants to continue working because it is stimulating and gratifying.

 

In many circumstances, the wants and needs of one partner don’t necessarily line up with what the other one wants--that’s normal and it’s truly not a problem! Click To Tweet



There is absolutely nothing wrong with having different desires, and expectations, so long as both partners come from a place of love and a willingness to collaborate on satisfying one another’s needs. 

Some couples get into trouble when they believe that these kinds of differences will cause problems. Wanting to avoid conflict and believing that compromise is effective, needs and desires are not shared and questions about the partner’s needs and desires aren’t asked. When you think about it, it makes sense that this lack of communication leads to resentment, fear, and disconnection. And, more often than not, it also leads to divorce. That’s right, not being clear about what you want and not telling your partner is one of the main underlying reasons that couples get divorced.

I’m going to assume you care about having a great relationship. You know that means caring about your partner, their hopes and dreams. So how are you going to open the lines of communication to get to know one another more deeply? How are you going to start sharing what you want and being more open to what your partner wants? Put differently, how are you going to “divorce-proof” your marriage?

The key is to identify important topics and consider your own desires and needs FIRST.

Then share them with your partner and ask about theirs. Listen to their answers and be willing to hear what they say. Even if you don’t like the particulars, you can listen from a place of love and understanding. Because being willing to hear what is most important to your partner goes very far in creating connection between you two.

As you answer the following questions, aim to be as frank as possible. While being kind and considerate, leave as little room for inference as you can. When there is a misunderstanding or a gap between words and actions, revisit the topic.

Allow your discussions to be ongoing where you share more as you get to know yourself more deeply, over the course of your whole relationship. In other words, make room for your answers to develop with your personalities and lived experiences, and continue to update one another accordingly. 

 

1. How do you define “security”? 

This is a VERY BIG question and that’s the reason it comes first. What exactly is “security” for you? Is it financially based? Is it emotionally based? Does your partner think it means buying a home? Is “security” knowing that you can trust your partner to do the right thing in any situation? Or, is it knowing EXACTLY what your partner will do in any given situation? 

Ultimately, both partners should start with this question and find a genuine answer to “what do you need to breathe more easily?” Is it emotional security that brings you comfort? Is it financial? Is it feeling on the same team? What else do you need and want, to feel secure in your marriage and in your life?

Of course, there are a thousand different directions this conversation can go, and part of the purpose here is to create a natural spring board for additional conversations. 

Is it emotional security that brings you comfort? Is it financial? Is it feeling on the same team? What else do you need and want, to feel secure in your marriage and in your life? Click To Tweet

 

2. What constitutes a satisfying sex life?

Physical intimacy is hugely important to many people, and one of the foundational elements of a passionate and juicy relationship. It’s time to consider what it is that truly matters to you when it comes to sex, and what is needed for you to feel satisfied. 

Yes, there are physical sensations that result in a satisfying sex life – but it goes much deeper than that. After all, you could have one night stands every night of the week and that may satisfy your physical desires but is that FULLY satisfying in the way you want in your marriage? 

In passionate marriages it’s key to understand the WHY behind the physical intimacy. Both WHAT is satisfying and WHY is it satisfying. Do you like sex because it makes you feel emotionally connected to your partner, or do you need to feel emotionally connected in order to have sex? 

Do you feel sexy when you are intimate? Do you need to feel sexy ahead of time, or does the actual act of intimacy give you the confidence to perform the activities you and your partner desire? 

 

Do you feel sexy when you are intimate? Do you need to feel sexy ahead of time, or does the actual act of intimacy give you the confidence to perform the activities you and your partner desire? Click To Tweet

 

You also need to be very specific about how you want to touch and be touched. Your wants and desires as they relate to your physical intimacy need to be stated clearly enough that your partner will understand, something that can be rather daunting at first. So start by talking about why you love sex (or don’t) as that promotes vulnerability and authentic sharing, and then you can talk about specific positions and activities you desire! For some couples it will actually work better to get graphic before becoming vulnerable. Go with what works, because the most important thing is to have the conversation.

WHAT DOES SEX MEAN TO YOU? Is it more related to emotional feelings? physical sensations? Role Play? Is anything missing from what you currently experience with one another? How can you set things up to improve things and have both of you happy with it?

3. How do you feel about how we communicate? 

This is a big one. 

Consider that you may think you communicate with your partner just fine, but they may not see things similarly. Depending on your relationship, this topic might lead to pointing fingers and undue complications which won’t be helpful, so cultivate curiosity and prioritize being open to new and different perspectives.

After all, communication is the MOST IMPORTANT part of your relationship. It’s what sets the context for everything else. 

Are there rules when you communicate? For example, if you’re in an argument, do you agree that there should be no name-calling? Are you allowed to swear? Those may seem like inconsequential rules, but if you don’t see eye to eye, those little issues can cause micro-barriers which inhibit your conversations. Instead of being willing to open up, those micro-barriers create division in your marriage which lead to you feeling closed off from one another.

Your ability to communicate hinges on your willingness to open up about your desires and remain steadfast in them. It also means that listening to your partner and respecting their needs will open up new vistas and deeper connections.

The most crucial part of communication is having both you and your partner be on the same team (and both of you fully BELIEVING you are on the same team). When that happens, conversations come from a place of love, with a sense that everything that happens is meant to improve the team (versus tearing each other down). 

Is there anything you want to improve when it comes to talking and listening? Be real and share it well.

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