I read an interesting book this week called "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty.
In it the antagonist loses 10 years of her memory and is surprised to find herself with three children and separated from the man she thought she was happily married to. Surprise! I won't go on with what happens in the story, but it's a fascinating look at how a marriage can go from happy to over in a fairly short period of time.
I've seen it happen with people I care about as well, and it's not pretty.
But HOW to avoid it?
I've thought of a couple things that seem to ring true across the board.
1. Your marriage should be the number one relationship in your life - always. Kids will come, but kids will also go and live their own lives. Hopefully, a spouse is with you forever. I know a lot of people who put a lot of other things before their marriage: work, children, friends, hobbies. All of those marriages have taken the first step towards ending. Even if they don't end, they won't be as happy as they could be.
2. Communication. You really have to talk things out. Another thing that I wondered about is how many separations end in divorce simply because the couple couldn't or wouldn't open up about their feelings.
3. Selfishness on the part of one or both spouses is probably the single main contributor to divorce. If you're not thinking about how you can help your spouse and their true needs (more money and perfect children don't qualify as true needs), then you are succumbing to the selfishness trap.
4. Time. Regular time together and regularly having intimate moments. You won't divorce someone that you love to spend time with. Guarantee it. Be best friends.