How To Stop a Divorce (7 Practical Tips to Save Your Marriage)

Divorce is a challenging and heartbreaking experience that can cause significant pain and suffering for all parties involved. 

However, just because you or your spouse has filed for divorce does not mean all hope is lost. I have always counseled my clients to think long and hard about saving their marriage before proceeding with a divorce. 

This article is designed to help you understand how to stop a divorce and provide you with practical steps and strategies to save your marriage. 

While some marriages truly are irretrievably broken, many can be saved. It is not easy work, but there is hope. 

Tip 1 – Understand The Reason For The Divorce 

The first step in stopping a divorce is understanding the reasons behind the decision. There are several common reasons why couples choose to file for divorce. Some of the most prevalent reasons for divorce include:

  • Infidelity: When one spouse cheats on the other, it can cause a breakdown of trust and emotional bonds.

  • Communication issues: When couples struggle to communicate effectively, they may find it challenging to express their needs and feelings, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts.

  • Financial problems: Financial strain and disagreements over money management can cause significant stress in a marriage, leading to divorce.

  • Substance abuse and addiction: When one partner struggles with substance abuse or addiction, it can lead to erratic behavior and a communication breakdown, ultimately leading to divorce.

  • Growing apart: Over time, couples may develop different interests, goals, and values, causing them to drift apart emotionally and leading to a breakdown in the relationship.

  • Domestic violence and abuse: When one partner is physically or emotionally abusive, it can create an unsafe and unhealthy environment that may lead to divorce.

If you have any chance to stop the divorce and save your marriage, you will need to identify the root cause of the marital problems. This is where you must start. 

Have an open, safe, and honest conversation with your spouse and attempt to identify the root causes of your marital problems. 

Tip 2 – Take Responsibility for Your Part in the Divorce

When attempting to stop divorce and attempt reconciliation, you have to own your part in the marriage breakdown. 

Here are some steps you can take to take responsibility and work towards saving your marriage:

  • Recognize your contribution: Recognizing your role in the problems that led to the divorce is essential. Take responsibility for your actions and behaviors and acknowledge how they may have contributed to the issues in the marriage.

  • Reflect on your behavior: Reflect on your behavior and identify areas where you can improve. Consider seeking professional help to address any underlying issues affecting your behavior and relationship.

  • Apologize: Apologize to your spouse for any hurtful behavior and take steps to make amends and change your behavior. It’s essential to show that you’re committed to making changes and willing to save the marriage.

Tip 3 – Learn to Communicate Effectively

Communication is the foundation of any successful marriage. Effective communication strategies are crucial for promoting understanding and cooperation in marriage. 

Here are some tips that can help you communicate your needs and feelings effectively:

  • Be clear and specific: Communicating your needs and emotions clearly and precisely is essential. Use “I” statements to express your feelings and needs rather than blaming or criticizing your partner. Take a chance to communicate what you want out of the marriage. Your marriage is already headed toward a divorce, and you should be honest and open and share your wants and desires.

  • Listen actively: Communication is a two-way street, so listening to your partner is essential. Try to understand their perspective and ask questions to clarify their points.

  • Avoid defensiveness: It’s natural to become defensive when discussing sensitive topics, but defensiveness can hinder effective communication. Instead, try to remain calm and open-minded and focus on finding solutions together.

  • Use nonverbal communication: Nonverbal communication can convey as much meaning as words. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions, and try to use these cues to enhance your message. Maintain eye contact. Don’t cross your arms or your legs while having a conversation. 

  • Practice empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and consider how they might feel.

  • Take a break if needed: If the conversation becomes heated or emotionally charged, it’s okay to take a break and return to the discussion later. This can give you both time to calm down and collect your thoughts.

Tip 4 – Seek Professional Help

Be humble on this and admit you need help. I have had hundreds of clients save their marriages through counseling. Sometimes it takes outside help to identify and change the destructive patterns causing the need for divorce. 

Seeking counseling, either from a professional or a religious leader, can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Identifying Destructive Patterns: Counselling can help couples see destructive patterns that cause marital issues. Sometimes couples have a blindspot to their habits, and a counselor can help identify these unhealthy patterns and harmful coping mechanisms. 

  • Improved communication: Counseling can help couples learn to communicate more effectively, which is often a major source of marital problems. Counseling can teach couples how to listen to each other and healthily express their thoughts and feelings.

  • Increased understanding: Counseling can help couples better understand each other’s perspectives and needs. This can lead to greater empathy and compassion, which can help couples resolve conflicts and improve their relationship.

  • Better conflict resolution skills: Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, but how couples handle conflict can make or break a marriage. Counseling can help couples learn healthy ways to resolve conflicts, reducing tension and improving marital satisfaction.

  • Increased intimacy: Counseling can help couples reconnect and improve their intimacy. Couples can build a stronger emotional connection and a more fulfilling physical relationship by addressing underlying issues affecting their relationship.

  • Improved mental health: Marital problems can take a toll on a person’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and other issues. Counseling can help couples address these issues and improve their overall well-being.

Overall, seeking counseling to help overcome marital problems can be a positive step toward improving the relationship quality and building a stronger, more fulfilling marriage.

Tip 5 – Learn to Forgive 

Unforgiveness and resentment can poison any marriage, and no marriage will successfully be brought back from the brink of divorce without learning to forgive.  

Forgiving is difficult. Forgiving does not mean forgetting, and it does not mean trusting. Forgiveness is to be freely given, but trust must be earned. 

Learning to forgive can have numerous benefits in helping to overcome marital problems, including:

  • Improved emotional well-being: Holding onto resentment can take a toll on a person’s mental health, leading to stress, anxiety, and depression. Learning to forgive can reduce negative emotions and improve overall emotional well-being.

  • Reduced tension: Resentment and anger can create tension in a relationship, leading to further conflicts and problems. Forgiveness can reduce tension and create a more positive, peaceful environment.

  • Increased empathy and understanding: Forgiveness can lead to greater empathy and understanding between partners. This can help couples see each other’s perspectives and needs more clearly, leading to more harmonious interactions.

  • Strengthened relationship: Forgiveness will help strengthen a relationship by creating a more positive, supportive environment. Couples who learn to forgive and let go of resentment can build a stronger, more fulfilling marriage.

Learning to forgive and let go of resentment is an important step in overcoming marital problems.

Tip 6 – Rebuild Trust

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful marriage. To rebuild trust in a relationship, couples should:

  • Acknowledge where there are trust issues: The first step in rebuilding trust is acknowledging a problem. Couples should openly discuss trust issues and work together to find a solution.

  • Communicate openly: Rebuilding trust requires open and honest communication. Couples should be willing to listen to each other and respectfully express their thoughts and feelings.

  • Take responsibility: Both partners must take responsibility for their actions and commit to making changes to rebuild trust.

  • Set boundaries: Setting clear boundaries can help rebuild trust and create a more positive, respectful environment.

  • Be consistent: This is the key. Trust is earned. Whatever you say you are going to do,- do it. Wherever you say you are going to be – be there. If you make a promise, keep the promise. 

  • It takes time: Rebuilding trust takes time and consistency. Couples should be patient and willing to work through challenges together.

Overall, rebuilding trust is essential in overcoming marital problems.

Tip 7 – Create a Shared Vision for Your Future 

Dream big. Have a shared vision for your future together. When you and your spouse share a common vision for your future, you are more likely to work together toward your goals and support each other through challenges.

To create a shared vision of your future with your spouse, follow these steps:

  • Set aside time to talk: Find a time when you and your spouse can sit down and discuss your future. Choose a quiet, comfortable space where you can both feel relaxed and open.

  • Reflect on your values: Think about your core values and beliefs, and discuss them with your spouse. What do you both value most in life and how do you want to incorporate those values into your future?

  • Brainstorm your goals: Make a list of your individual and shared goals for the future. What do you want to accomplish in your career, your family life, and your personal growth? Be specific and realistic.

  • Identify common themes: Look for common themes and values in your goals. What do you both want to achieve together? What are your shared priorities?

  • Create a shared vision statement: Use your common themes and values to create a shared vision statement for your future. This statement should be a brief, clear description of what you want your future to look like and how you want to achieve it.

  • Plan for the future: Use your shared vision statement to plan for your future. Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps and create a timeline for achieving them.


Can I Stop a Divorce After It Has Already Been Filed? 

In general, if you were the spouse to have filed for divorce and have changed your mind, you can immediately stop the divorce by filing a motion to dismiss the divorce. 

If you want to stop a divorce after it has been filed, the easiest and fastest option is to file a motion to dismiss the case. 

A motion to dismiss is a legal document that asks the court to dismiss the divorce proceedings. Once the motion is filed, the case will be immediately dismissed. 

A motion to dismiss is relatively easy to file. If you are representing yourself, you must put the caption at the top of the page and then title the motion “Motion to Dismiss.”  

The language of the motion can be as simple as follows:

“Comes Now Petitioner, and hereby dismisses his case without prejudice.”

As soon as the motion is filed, the court must dismiss the case and will no longer have any authority over the case. 

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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