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How To Avoid an Impending Divorce

How to Avoid an Impending Divorce

Besides birth, death, marriage or separation, divorce is one of the most potentially impactful things you can experience in life.

There is an unsettling and mournful finality to divorce that is, for most, heart wrenching. It is the slow or quick dissolution of something you once held as sacred and precious.

Researchers estimate that 41 percent of first marriages end in divorce. That may sound discouraging at first glance but the research published by also bears out that the overall divorce rate has recently hit a 50-year low. This drop is likely due to COVID 19, even though earlier in the pandemic signs suggested that divorce rates were trending upward. New research suggests that more couples have been brought closer together and their commitment to their marriages deepened.

Equally encouraging is that even if you find yourself in a marriage in crisis and grappling with an impending divorce, there is not only hope, but also one effective measure you can take to avoid a divorce. 

Your divorce headed spouse might be very grateful that you implemented this one method.

Before arriving at some high, uncertain bluff,  where your options feel stripped down to the bone and the only certainty is that there’s no turning back, let me share the best and only way I’ve found to stop a divorce:


Use procrastination as a strategy, a way to let time work its magic as a barrier or a salve to impetuous, rash actions or reactions. Here are some ways to procrastinate that are both reasonable and tactical.

Ask him to wait

Simply ask for a waiting period until the last child is off to college. This is sensible and will force him to think about the children instead of just himself in this scenario. It will forestall any immediate action and allow time for reflection.

Take time to find adequate counseling​

Take months and months, because time is your ally if you want to create distance from what may have been a reflexive or momentary urge for either you or he to leave the marriage.

This is not meant to allow for sweeping your marital problems or issues under the rug, but it allows sufficient time for the storm to pass.  Not all marriages are equipped to weather squalls and storms. Take in the sails and begin patching them on your own, even if that means staying becalmed in the Doldrums until you land upon some capable counseling for both of you.

Postpone a divorce until you can find appropriate living arrangements for both of you

This is another stalling tactic but is especially valid if you have children where sharing custody means you will want as comfortable a situation as possible for them when it comes to any visitation arrangements. 

This is a very good approach in any effort to buy time because it can remain very open-ended and difficult to call into question.

Explain that a divorce is like a wrecking ball on the family​

This again is effective because it is very hard to argue with the facts and statistics of how damaging divorce can be, both in terms of emotional hemorrhaging and collateral damage done to children, friends and extended family who are often caught in the middle of any decoupling, let alone a protracted divorce.

Final thoughts

Divorce is an emotional train wreck. We all have to take the train, but if we knew the train we were getting on was going to go off the rails we’d doubtlessly let that train leave the station and wait for the next one.

Word of advice: Wait for the next one if at all possible. What’s your hurry?

Or, it could be that by stalling the train even momentarily, you avoid the crash altogether.

Lisa Ryan LPC

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