Change Thyself: Lessons on How to Have a Good Marriage After a Divorce

With the divorce rate in the U.S. hitting 30% to 50%, it's inevitable that in the course of dating, you'll run into someone with an ex (or two). And somewhere into that first or second date, you've probably asked what went wrong. I know I have. And when my date begins his answer with the words my wife, I'm ready to duck out.
For these people, it's always about what the other guy did, how awful the ex was. I've always been a believer in the credo that every relationship involves two people. And no matter how evil my ex turned out to be, I played a role. Got to have. So there's bound to be something I need to do differently next time.

Change thyself: that's the lesson emerging from an ongoing National Institutes of Health-funded study of 373 married couples in one Midwest county that began in 1986. The study was launched by Terri Orbuch, author of Finding Love Again: 6 Simple Steps to a New and Happy Relationship. Orbuch, a therapist and professor of sociology at Oakland University, recently analyzed data on the 46% of her couples who eventually divorced and the 71% of those who have since remarried or formed long-term relationships. Her findings reveal which behaviors significantly predict finding a new relationship. And they also yield some lessons for making any relationship better.

Orbuch found her divorced people were significantly more likely to find a new love if they could let go of the past -- and that included not blaming their ex-spouse for the divorce. If you blame your ex, Orbuch says, you're less likely to become "emotionally neutral," an emotional state she found was more strongly linked to finding new relationships.

Letting go of the past is an important emotional step. But there are five specific behaviors Orbuch identified that made the divorced people in her sample twice as likely to succeed in finding a new relationship. People who made at least one of these changes were likelier to find a new love, and 90% of those who did so reported they were happy or somewhat happy.


SOURCE: Francine Russo
TIME
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