I came across this article recently and thought that I will share it with you all. The article is written with a practical sense that I enjoyed it very much. The number one predictor of divorce is the habitual avoidance of conflict. And what's sad is the reason we avoid conflict is because we believe it will cause divorce. It's like the cartoon where the couple explains to the marriage counselor, "We never talk anymore. We figured out that's when we have all our fights." In the beginning, we avoid conflict because we are so much in love and we believe that "being in love" is about agreeing. We're afraid that if we disagree - or fight - we'll ruin our marriage. Later, we avoid conflict because when we try to deal with our differences things get so out of hand and our fights so destructive and upsetting that we simply shut down. After a few bad blow-ups we become determined to avoid conflict at any cost. Successful couples are those who know how to discuss their differences in ways that actually strengthen their relationship and improve intimacy. Successful couples don't let their disagreements contaminate the rest of the relationship. While it's true that we don't get married to handle conflict, if a couple doesn't know how - or learn how - to fight or disagree successfully, they won't be able to do all the other things they got married to do. Or, put another way, it's hard to take her out to the ball game if you're not speaking. Often couples are so determined to avoid disagreeing they quit speaking. We also need to realize that every happy, successful couple has approximately ten areas of "incompatibility" or disagreement that they will never resolve. The divorce courts have it all wrong. "Irreconcilable differences" - like a bad knee or a chronic back - are part of every good marriage. Successful couples learn to dance in spite of their differences. If we switch partners we'll just get ten new areas of disagreement, and sadly, the most destructive will be about the children from our previous relationships. In addition to skills for handling disagreements, we also have to learn to welcome and embrace change. When we marry we promise to stay together till death us do part -- but, we don't promise to stay the same! We need skills to integrate and negotiate change along the way. The good news is that the skills or behaviors - behaviors for handling disagreement and conflict, for integrating change, and for expressing love, intimacy and appreciation - can all be learned. Couples can unlearn the behaviors that predict divorce - that destroy love - and replace them with behaviors that keep love alive.