Tara Parker Pope wrote a recent article in the New York Times, The Happy Marriage is the “me” Marriage. And she implicitly offers tips on how to save your marriage.
For centuries, marriage was viewed as an economic and social institution, and the emotional and intellectual needs of the spouses were secondary to the survival of the marriage itself. But in modern relationships, people are looking for a partnership, and they want partners who make their lives more interesting. Caryl Rusbult, a researcher at Vrije University in Amsterdam who died last January, called it the “Michelangelo effect,” referring to the manner in which close partners “sculpt” each other in ways that help each of them attain valued goals. Dr. Aron and Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., a professor at Monmouth University in New Jersey, have studied how individuals use a relationship to accumulate knowledge and experiences, a process called “self-expansion.” Research shows that the more self-expansion people experience from their partner, the more committed and satisfied they are in the relationship. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/02/weekinreview/02parkerpope.html?no_interstitial
So that is the trick to saving your marriage and avoiding divorce: marry someone who expands you. If you are already married but feeling like a divorce could happen, work on getting expanded. There is always something you can learn or some new way you can grow yourself within the context of your significant other, and vice versa. Actually, I think if all couples aim to be life long students of their spouses, marriages will be happy, sustainable and divorce-proof. It’s about being the biggest you that you can be. This makes you more interesting to the other person, and it makes you happier within your own self. At least, so the theory goes.