Although many Georgians may not think it, a majority of divorces are not due to the high-conflict reasons that keep showing up in celebrity marriage scandals. Cheating, addiction or abuse may have their place in some divorces, but nearly 60 percent of marriages end because of a “slow erosion toward cohabitating strangerdom.”

These low-conflict types of marriages tend to fail because one or both of the spouses get so busy with life outside the marriage that he or she has little time for his or her partner. As spouses pay less and less attention to each other, they drift apart and lose the connections and attraction that originally drew them together.

One of the biggest problems for spouses is turning down opportunities. Good opportunities are opening up for individual spouses constantly and it is very difficult to turn down something that could be interesting, good for a career or that provides a sense of giving-back, but taking on too much can leave little time for a marriage. The director of the Hallowell Centers for Cognitive and Emotional Health says that couples need to create specific time for each other in which they devote their attention to each other, rather than to their jobs or extracurricular activities.

Sometimes, however, couples need to have honest conversations about what they need from a partner. It is important to talk about what sorts of changes spouses want from each other, big and small. These conversations may come at a risk; it may turn out that a spouse is unwilling or unable to meet his or her partner’s needs. Although, if the partner can make those changes, spouses can often trick their brains into falling back in love.

Source: The Kansas City Star, “Till tedium do us part: Couples who want to avoid divorce had better sweat the small stuff,” Heidi Stevens, Sept. 8, 2011