If you're an adult child of divorce in a marriage that's been struggling, you can learn good marriage-building skills to keep your relationship from going the divorce route. Here are three tips to help:
1. View your parents as examples of what not to do.
If your parents were not good role models of how to keep a marriage healthy and strong, you can learn from their example. If they fought, become determined not to. If they didn’t communicate, learn how to solve problems. If their sex life was bad, work to make yours good. If one of them was angry, or depressed, addicted or emotionally suffering, make sure you’re not, and get help if you are. You can always learn how to do it in a new way.
2. Find other role models for marriage.
Look at other family members, friends, neighbors and even characters in TV, movies and books to get an idea of how it might be done different. Did that couple in the cop drama resolve an issue in a healthy way? Mentally replay it and learn from it. Is your sister’s marriage happy? Don’t be envious – follow her example. Many self-help books can teach you better skills. Don’t hesitate to try new things. 3. Get some counseling.
Ask both your parents what went wrong. If they blame each other, assume they both made mistakes. Do what you can to improve on their record. Get individual counseling to overcome early programming, couples counseling to correct problems before they become tragic.Tina Tessina, Ph.D., has been a licensed California psychotherapist for more than 30 years. She has authored more than 11 books, including "Money, Sex and Kids"; “The Commuter Marriage: Keeping your Relationship Close While you’re Far Apart”; "How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free"; "The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again"; and, “It Ends with You: Grow Up and Grow Out of Dysfunction.” Tina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.