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Seven Steps to Divorce

by Norris Law Group on April 28, 2014

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Susan Heitler, Ph.D., is a psychologist and author of books on relationships including From Conflict to Resolution and The Power of Two. In an article in Psychology Today, offers a list of seven steps married couples can take if they are considering divorce as the only option to resolve problems they may be having in the marriage.

  1. Prepare for action. If you truly want to stop a divorce, calm down and devise an action plan—the sooner, the better.
  2. Smother the urge to play victim. Remind yourself of the positive things you bring to the marriage, and showcase them proudly.  At the same time, let your actions speak louder than words.  “Use your words” to openly express your appreciation for your spouse, rather than for comments about yourself.
  3. Clarify what you need to change. Make a list of all the negative comments that your spouse has made to you that now you can see were actually attempts to stop a divorce.  Go over the list with your “almost-ex,” and do your best to not leave anything out.  Then work with your spouse to design a “plan of action” for fixing each and every item on your list.
  4. Look your best. Put a little extra effort into your appearance. Your spouse will notice—and you’ll likely feel a “boost” yourself.
  5. Clean up all the “old hurts.” Work with your spouse to create a list of all the moments that you each recall as having been particularly angry or bitter. Heitler recommends that you and your spouse then go through each item on the list together to “find the mis,” meaning that you each must look for your own role in any misunderstandings, misperceptions, mistakes etc.  But neither of you should comment on what the other did; concentrate on what you may have done that inadvertently contributed to the problem. Then, make it a point to apologize and find ways to avoid these behaviors in the future.
  6. Believe in yourself. Heitler suggests that if, deep down, you believe that you don’t deserve to be loved, change that.  She even recommends a technique known as “temporal tapping” for changing self-defeating beliefs.  With the three longest fingers of your right hand, tap in a circle around your right ear.  Tap from front to back, down and around back up, completing a circle, for up to 10 circles.  As you tap, say aloud, “I deserve to be loved.  I am lovable.  I deserve to be loved.  I am lovable. etc….” Heitler says that temporal tapping reprograms your brain, replacing negative beliefs with positive ones.
  7. Learn the skills that everyone needs if they want to be good at marriage partnership. Learn four skill sets essential for sustaining a loving relationship:
    1. talking together cooperatively;
    2. making win-win decisions together;
    3. preventing anger from spoiling your relationship; and
    4. “pumping up the positivity.”

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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