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Monday Mom challenge: Keeping your relationship on track

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Strengthen your marriage

First it's one friend, then another. Before you know it, a slew of friends have announced they are divorcing. It's like a germ that gets spread. In even the most sure, strong marriages, the end of friends' marriages can feel like a body blow. If these friends, these people you thought were so secure in their relationship split up, is there any hope for you? Should you even bother?

Married couple

Of course you should. But keeping a marriage together, continuing to work on your relationship in the midst of the increasing and changing stress of life, is hard, hard work. You have to keep at it. Instead of letting your friends' splits demoralize you, let them strengthen your resolve to keep your marriage strong and healthy.


Every marriage is unique

Every marriage has its strengths and weaknesses. Every marriage has its public face and its private realities. You don't know the real details of your friends' situations, and they don't know yours. And don't forget, there are two sides to every story.

Comparing your marriage to your friends' marriages isn't fair to any of you. Having some respect for the uniqueness of each marriage helps you to concentrate on your marriage and concentrate on what you needs to do to keep your marriage strong.

>> 20 Ways to spice up your marriage after kids

You are not your friends

Just because your friends are having marriage trouble doesn't mean you will, too. It doesn't mean you won't but it doesn't mean you will. Don't let your sympathy and compassion for your friends struggles compel you to look for issues in your situation where there may be none.

>> How to keep your marriage emotionally hot

You may still have struggles in your marriage -- now or in the future -- but they are your issues alone, not your friends. Keep the distinction clear.

Make time for your marriage

Amid the supporting of friends through their struggles, it's not enough to know your marriage is different, or even appreciate your marriage. You have to make time for your marriage and keep working on your relationship. Work at basic communication, set aside time for date night, and be kind to each other. Express your feelings in constructive ways and reiterate your commitment.

>> Your kids AND your marriage: Both are important

Take nothing for granted

Divorce, no matter when and where and how it happens, is hard and sad. When it happens to people you care about, it can feel even harder and the fallout can be unexpected. If you are fortunate enough to have a strong relationship, cherish it and grow it -- even while supporting your friends who are struggling.

Don't take your marriage or your partner or any aspect of your situation for granted. You and your partner deserve that -- and even your divocing friends would likely want it for you, too.

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