Episode #23: Divorce Proofing Your Marriage

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Dr. Connie Omari
Hey, hey, hey, black people. Welcome to the black Marriage and Family Therapy matters podcast, where we connect black families to black therapists. All right, this is Dr. O.

As you know what I’m coming to you today with 10 awesome tips that you need to divorce proof your marriage. Now if you’ve been following us on the podcast, which I hope you have been you know all about it. Earlier this week, we spoke with Latoya Nelson about divorce. And she brought awesome insight into what we needed to do to begin to immediately implement skills, resources and tools to get through a divorce. She also provided us with resources in contact information for how you can follow up with her, should you be going through something or a similar nature at this time.

So if you have any questions about that, or if you would like to follow up with her, please follow up on our previous podcasts. And you know what, I’m just going to ask you to go there after we complete this now anyway, because she gave awesome and amazing resources and tips.

So to pick up from that conversation earlier this week, I decided I was going to do my own research and add 10 amazing ways that we can stop and implement unhealthy behavioral patterns that we might already be doing, immediately begin the process to divorce proof our marriage.

Now, why am I even going over this with you right now? Well, at the end of the day, you know, it’s easy for us to think, okay, we’re in love right now, or I love my spouse, my spouse loves me, this isn’t even an issue. If you’re in a good place in your marriage, it is probably even more important that you begin practicing these strategies, and knowing what the strategies are so that you can practice them in a healthy manner. Because it’s a lot harder to fix something when it’s already broken than it is to go ahead and start implementing positive strategies now to encourage where you’re coming from.

Also, a lot of people end up selling things, because they don’t do things intentionally. So maybe you’re not in the best place in your marriage. But it’s not really in any major danger either.

Well, it’s never too late to begin the process of divorce Proofing Your Marriage because you can not take you will learn how important it is not to take things for granted and implement positive things so that it won’t go in the wrong direction. And of course, if you’re already in a bad place, that can even one or two of these techniques can be very helpful in terms of redirecting you and helping you to get back on a good place.

And furthermore, if you’re one of the people who I have one of the black women that we have that looks to me and listens to me because they’re interested in my course, then you’re probably looking to get into a relationship. And if that is the case, this will also be very, very helpful for you. Okay, because it provides you with the tools and resources that you will notice start your marriage off on the right place.

Okay, so without further ado, I’d like to give you the very first tip. The first thing I want to encourage you to do is make time to connect lovingly with your spouse every single day, not two days. About a week, not five days out of the month, but on a daily basis. And you want to do this because it’s so much easier to be reminded of how you love each other and how you feel about each other when it’s done consistently.

One of the things I’m thinking about is, you know, as with any relationship, of course, a marriage is going to have its trials and tribulations, there will be conflicts, there will be disappointments, there will be feelings of just like for one another, right. But if you already have a pattern of telling your spouse, how much you love him, and connecting with them on a regular basis, then this will not It’s not that the bad times won’t be an issue. But you’ll have some level of comfort, right, and some ways of buffering things in between your conflicts to kind of coach you through. And even if let’s say you’re having a big fight, because sometimes fights can be very difficult to get on the other side of In fact, most fights are kind of hard times for relationships.

Well, if you’re used to being told on a regular basis that you care about your spouse, you love your spouse excetera, that it’s going to be a lot easier to say, Okay, this is just a season, this is just a moment as opposed to this is just you know, I have nothing to counter out this back counteract this difficult time. And this is a difficult time for us in the marriage. So please, as much as you can, please try to remind your spouse, that you care about them. This doesn’t have to be done elaborately. You know, you can send little emojis throughout the day, you can send a little text messages to each other, it really doesn’t have to be extensive. But it really is a good practice to begin the process of letting your spouse know that things are going well. Okay, compliment your spouse regularly.

Now, this is kind of a continuation of for our last strategy. But you know, compliments are very, very important. Like, I want you to think about yourself at a job, won’t you be more encouraged to do the job and do a good job, if you knew you were going to get a pay raise. Or if you knew you’re going to get more accolades from the boss more recognition, maybe a promotion, maybe a reward that encourages positive behaviors?

Well, we forget that our relationships are very similar to that. One of the things I teach in my course is how to use some of the things that make you successful in life. Right? It’s successful in your relationships in your marriages. So please, if you are in relationships to others, it is natural. Please note that part of the survival instinct that we have in our brain is to keep record of the things that we don’t like, if we didn’t know how to do that, then we will be putting ourselves in danger more often.

And we’ve been in situations where we don’t like as you know, more often, finding ways to find things that we do like, like, give compliments are focusing on the positive that is usually done intentionally. So if you’re not intentionally saying thank you for getting the kids ready for school. If you’re not intentionally saying, Thank you for changing my oil, then you’re sending the message that you don’t really appreciate and value your partner. And you know, that’s just really not what you want to do, because they want to be appreciated and valued in the same way that you do.

Number three, love your spouse the way they want to be loved. Okay, so listen, it doesn’t matter if you like to receive gifts, okay, if your spouse likes to receive affection, then you’re not giving your spouse what their needs are. And I’m glad I started this with the concept of gifts, which because you know, that’s something I see a lot, like a lot of times, people want to spend their money. So you know, they’ll associate Well, I bought you a nice gift for Christmas with showing that partner affection.

Well, really, when we get into some of the money, things that we have going on, and I think whether or not to merge money with your spouse is a personal issue. But you know, money is generally like if my husband has a lot of nice money to buy, buy me a nice gift, I have access to the money to you know, so that’s really not not saying he records from podcasts. I’m not saying you have to buy me nice gifts. But what I am saying is that, you know, that’s really not too impressive because I have access to the same money. So you want to make sure that you are really giving your partner what they need and not what you need in return. And that really starts with a conversation.

Number four, let’s take care of your appearance. And this goes both ways. You know, I think we live in a society where we’re really big and I’m grateful to this about breaking the mold so I’m not saying everybody has as to where, and I’m speaking for women now, but we don’t have to necessarily wear a size to, you know, and be 105 pounds. Like, I’m not saying that you have to do that. But I am saying take care take consideration into what you’re doing. And I can speak on the challenges of having children. And being a working mom and things like that some times during, you know, handling those rules, it does make it a little bit harder, you know, for us to be as put together as we like to be. But it’s also important to remember that, you know, men are visual creatures, and they’re going to be attracted to what you look like.

And not only that, and what you look like as a direct result on how you feel. So I’m not saying you don’t have to be superficial, look, Beyonce is taken, okay, we can all look like Beyonce, that’s her role. She’s dominating, she’s doing her thing. But you have something beautiful within you. And when you are in that space, when you are in the place where you feel like Beyonce in your way, you can invest, you produce it, it achieved it, and you attract greatness, like it almost comes to you like a magnet. Because when you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, you attract that type of energy, that will continue to complement that. So take care of your appearance, not necessarily for the other person, but for yourself and in return, other people will benefit.

All right, number five. Now I know y’all know, it’s important to be faithful, right? If fidelity doesn’t help anything, but I want to tell you about a quick study that was even more important in terms of really helping you to understand the importance of the faithful. So A study was done by Dr. Alfred Cooper, which studied 576 couples who have been married for 50 years or more. So this is important. This is not people, you know, who have like five years under their belt. But these are people who are really seasoned within the marital aspect. And it found that 95% of the spouses agree that fidelity was essential to a successful marriage.

And 94% Agreed strongly that marriage is a long term commitment to one person, long term. So you know, I’m not saying and we talked about this earlier this week in terms of infidelity. infidelity is survivable. But we know that it doesn’t help the marital dynamics, for sure. And in terms of divorce Proofing Your Marriage, you know, it’s something that you really want to try to refrain from.

Okay, so listen, there is no perfect spouse, okay, except me, me, my husband is is blessed with the perfect spouse. I’m just kidding. Just kidding. There is absolutely no perfect spouse that exists. But will we learn to accept our spouses for who they are not who we want them to be? Not substituting our spouse for somebody else who is has what we think we want or has what we think we need or value, but except our spouses for what they have to offer, we find that we’re able to not be attracted to ourselves, or not satisfy ourselves, we’re able to truly and authentically love in value and appreciate another person. And that’s important, okay? Because if nothing else, we don’t want our spouses to be unfaithful to us. Okay? Because guess what, honey, your spouse might not have it all together, but neither do you. Okay? So the answer is not cutting out on your spouse. Instead, it’s finding ways that you can appreciate your spouse, embrace your spouse, and connect more to spouse in an intimate way.

Next, we want to discuss doing things together. Okay. So we had on the podcast earlier, Dr. Eric Williams, who spoke about how important it was to do things together. And he gave recommendations about listening to books together on Audible, he talked about watching Netflix movies together, he really talked about quite a few things that we could really use to connect to our spouse. And this was, this was the podcast on toxic masculinity. So please, if you haven’t done so already, go back and listen to that one when we are done. But if you find ways to do things together with your spouse, even as I mentioned earlier, when things are difficult, when you’re having a hard time connecting on other things, maybe it’s an issue about the kids, maybe it’s an issue about work or your in laws, whatever it is, you can have something relatively neutral and platonic that you can work on it has nothing to do with anything, but it’s something that you can just come back together with and follow up on. Okay? So please try to do things together with your spouse.

Now, just as it’s important to do things together with your spouse, it’s also important to find ways to spend time apart. Now, spending time apart is essential because you have to get in tune with who you are making sure that your needs are being met. And making sure that the needs that you want for your spouse to fulfill that they either have chosen not to, cannot fulfill you fulfill for yourself. And the only way you can do that is if you engage intentionally. There’s that word again, intentionally on self care. So finding things to do by yourself. I know as women that is particularly challenging, because we are defined oftentimes, exclusively by our interactions with others.

I’ve talked about this before, a lot of this has to do with the way we’re socialized, you know is from a very early age, we’re doing things like playing with dolls, we’re doing things like you know what we do play roles. A lot of times we’re caretakers like being teachers or maybe whatever it is nannying, babysitting, whatever, my daughter was really funny the other day, she had a couple of coins in her hand. And what she did was asked me if I would be her babysitter. So she had these coins in her hand, and she had a one of her little baby girls, and I guess she was hiring me as the nanny for that time. So that just goes to speak to how easy it is, and how familiar and how normal it is for us to think that taking care of others is our priority.

And yes, it should be, you know, essential, very important to you. But we never want to forget the importance of re filling your cup. You can’t think about a car and I tell my mom’s this all the time thinking about a car, if you are driving it girl when you run out of gas, okay, how far do you think that car is going to go on? Okay, or your oil, you know, you got to make sure you are getting that oil maintenance done on a regular basis or your car won’t move. Think of yourself and your body and your mind in your relationships. As such, you will not be able to be as effective as you have the potential and the capacity to be as long as you are doing things like the collecting your own self care. So please refill your own cup.

Next be friends with your partner. I can’t tell you enough, sometimes it amazes me that people are often are easily more likely to be nice to like their friends and their spouses. You know, sometimes I’m like, wait a minute, would you say something like that to your friend, you know, or somebody that you really cared about? Well, why do you think you can talk to your spouse like that. And you know, we find that when people do that, and they don’t know how to really be friends with their spouses, and one of the things that we see a lot is relationships that start off as friendships generally a fair awful lot better outcomes, because they have a form of something to connect on.

Like we spoke about a couple of strategies ago, you know, you need something to connect on something that you like, because, you know, love is very, very superficial, you know, and, and like you can come and go basically Love is a choice, right? Like I choose to love my husband every single day, even when sometimes I might not want to or even sometimes where it’s hard and vice versa. Like it’s a choice, you know what I mean? In any given moment, you can revoke that choice. We all know that, right? So we want to prevent that to be able to have a divorce proof marriage, okay. So please, as much as possible, be friends with your partner, and choose partners that you are friends with because that love these, you know, it really can be overrated, okay, especially when you’re in this thing for the long run. And hopefully, that’s what you’re looking for when you make the decision to get married.

All right, next Terms of Endearment. So, you know, that includes things like baby, you know, honey, you know, whatever it is, I don’t know what your you know, baby talk is I have one friend that calls her, her husband now lovey, I like that. But Terms of Endearment are just really great ways to really connect and just really signifies that partner, as somebody that have compassion, and love.

Well, one of the best ways that you can do this is specifically to say it and I know that, you know, I’ve been in situations where it’s helped a lot if my husband has to talk to me about something that’s important or serious. I really appreciate when he starts it with, you know, babe, I don’t like the way you talk to me today. You know, I can hear that a lot better. then feeling like attacked or feeling like he doesn’t endear me right and vice versa. So we really need to be practicing that, as well, when we are talking to our partners and talking about our partners, that’s really, really helpful.

And finally, and there’s these three little words that sometimes bring lots of discomfort or comfort, you know, this case, hopefully comfort to militia is I love you. So, you know, as you know, I know, five minutes ago that oh, look, what’s love got to do with it. And from the perspective of just the feeling itself, I think that’s that perspective still stands. But being able to say it, see that evokes like, it evokes like connection, right? And it evokes as you’re trying to think vulnerability and sensitivity.

Now, when you’re talking about it from that perspective, it does mean a lot. So saying it, showing it in different ways, but really being articulate, and being willing to let the person know that and it doesn’t have to be like these long drawn out love letters, it could be at the end of the phone call lovey Bay, you know, or telling your, your partner spouse while you’re at work. So I was thinking about you, love you looking forward to seeing you, you know, when you get home this evening, those are all ways that she said or you know what, sometimes saying, I love you, it is hard for people, right? You know, none of us are perfect is it people that some of us don’t even grow up with it. So again, finding ways to say it in your spouse’s language is very, very important, okay. And those are things that you know, you kind of have to figure out by figuring them out like by by asking your partner spending time with your partner.

Okay, so I’ve given you 10 strategies, for things you can do to show your partner that you love them, or to divorce proves your marriage, I’m gonna go over those 10 strategies one last time, you want to make time to connect lovingly with your spouse every day.

Compliment your spouse regularly, both privately and in front of others.

Love your spouse in the way that he or she wants to be loved.

Take care of your parents.

Remain faithful to your spouse, do things together with your spouse, do things independently from your spouse, be friends with your spouse.

Use Terms of Endearment with your spouse on a daily basis. Say I love you to your spouse every day.

All right. These are Dr. O strategies for divorce Proofing Your Marriage. It’s been a pleasure for you to invite me into your life today to learn these techniques. And I look forward to providing you with plenty more. All right.

Thanks again for your time. I hope you have a wonderful day. Peace and blessings, Doctor O.

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