Divorced People Share 9 Things You Should Know About Marriage Before It’s Too Late

Typically, we go to our married friends for marriage advice. But divorced people might actually know a lot more about this kind of thing—after all, they’re the ones who’ve witnessed what you don’t want to happen, happen, first hand.

The cold hard truth is about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce, according to the American Psychological Association. The silver lining? That many people probably know a lot more about the topic than married people do.

If you’re feeling like there’s some trouble in paradise, take a cue from some of these divorcées so you can fix your marriage before it’s too late.

Here are the top pieces of marriage advice from divorced people.

  1. Don’t wait for them to change

    If you’re constantly upset about the nature of their personality, you have to know that they’re not going to change their ways.

    “One of the biggest mistakes I made was hoping that my partner and I would change. This is the mistake you should never, ever make. If you keep noticing that you are looking forward to a moment when things will change, I have to tell you — this is mistake № 1.” —Alexandra

  2. Keep the spark going

    That’s not to say you need to constantly be doing over-the-top gestures for your spouse—that’s not what this is about. Keep it simple and genuine, and you can’t go wrong.

    “You have to keep it romantic. And ‘romantic’ doesn’t have to mean candles and flowers and getting all dressed up. You can bring home a pizza and make that romantic.” —Eddie

  3. Argue, don’t fight

    Disagreements are a common and even healthy part of any marriage. It’s really a matter of how you argue, not how often you’re doing it. The argument needs to be productive, not just you two screaming and yelling at each other at the top of your lungs.

    “Learn how to fight fairly and productively.” —Steve

  4. Put yourself in each other’s shoes

    You’re a team, after all. Try to think of whatever situation you’re in from your partner’s point of view. It could help you understand things better.

    “Remember the expression: ‘Walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins.’ Empathy is key. I think the major reason Dan and I got divorced is because we never truly tried to understand for the other person’s point of view.” —Anne

  5. Don’t bring work home

    Your relationship should come before your job. So work hard, and if you need to put in some overtime, of course do it. But it’s important not to make work the most important thing.

    “It was hard to feel the love when he put in a 12-hour day at the office, and then logged in when he got home.” —Avalon

  6. Check in with each other regularly

    If you go too long without talking about what’s upsetting you, things can build up and be hard to fix after that point. Take time each week or month, whatever works for you, to talk to your partner truthfully about anything that might be bothering you.

    “Every month, set a meeting with your partner to make sure nothing that’s bothering you is going unmentioned. Be honest.” —Kenny

  7. Pick your battles

    Fighting about every little thing won’t get you very far in your marriage Try not to sweat the small stuff, and save the arguments for more important things than, say, dirty socks on the floor or hair snaking the shower drain.

    “Toothpaste tubes and toilet paper rolls should be on the bottom of the priority list.” —Tony

  8. Remember that no one is perfect

    Try to think back to why you got married in the first place. It wasn’t because your spouse was perfect, because nobody is.

    “Neither of you is perfect. Once you’ve decided to be committed to one another, whatever bumps in the road come along, hang in there and work it out.” —Lisa

  9. Don’t forget to laugh

    What fun is a marriage if you aren’t laughing with (and sometimes even at!) each other?

    “Don’t take yourself so seriously. Laugh, and make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.” —Gerald

Do you follow any of these unofficial rules to marriage? What’s your best piece of marriage advice?