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How to Stop a Divorce in 3 Steps

Dr. Susan Heitler has spent years teaching couples how to stop a divorce. Many of the couple’s she sees suffer from the same problems: lack of communication, increasing distance and loss of love, negativity and bitterness, and sometimes infidelity. 

See if the following story sounds familiar to you:

Anna and Matt were fed up with their marriage. The both shared memories of a loving happy marriage that seemed like a distant dream and after years of fighting and bitterness. The fighting became so common they decided the only solution was to live separate lives. Anna and Matt withdrew from each other, barely seeing or speaking, and even dated other people.

Finally, Anna decided they had had enough of this marriage limbo. “Matt, I hate our marriage. We don’t speak; we’re barely married anymore. I can’t take it. At the same time, I know I still love you and I can’t stand the idea of divorce. I think that’s why I stuck around in this situation.”

Then Anna made a proposal, the first step in how to stop a divorce. “Let’s end it—I mean out OLD marriage. I want a new marriage with YOU, a great one.”

Matt thought, too—about the high cost of divorce, how unpleasant it would be to start a new life all over, and how his own parent’s divorce had hurt so much as a child. He agreed.

Matt and Anna have the key idea here: focus on starting a marriage, not ending one. But where do they go from here? When Dr. Heitler sees couples in this situation, she recommends using the 3-L’s cure for how to stop a divorce.


Both Anna and Matt tend to be very stuck on their own opinions. When they disagree, each just restates their own view over and over again instead of having a conversation. They agree to listen fully to each other and digest what the other person said before responding. 

2. LOVE. 

Loving actions reinforce love, and love leads to more loving behavior. Start the cycle by increasing positivity in your relationship. This means being curious about each other, respectful, helpful, sharing adventures and playfulness. It means paying attention to the other even when you are having a bad day. It also means increasing intimacy with small acts such as hand-holding, hugs and kisses, and warm, positive sexual sharing.


Remember that no one is born knowing how to manage a perfect marriage and how to stop a divorce! Being married takes skills—skills that you can learn and practice. And the more you do so, the better your marriage will be. Start by checking out a marriage help book, seeing a couples counselor, or trying out Power of Two—an online service combining the privacy and go-at-your-own pace of a book, with the professionalism and personal attention of a certified therapist.


Anna and Matt may be fictional, but they represent the true stories of thousands of couples. You, too, can start a new marriage with your spouse! Join Dr. Heitler for marriage counseling 2.0. at Power of Two Online. Become a member and message your coach today! It’s never to late to start your happily ever after.

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I'm Dr. Abigail Hirsch. I lead the Power of Two coaching team. We are here to help you stop fighting and build trust, intimacy and love.

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Dr. Abigail Hirsch

marriage counseling online

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant 90-FE-0123. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Servies, Administration for Children and Families.