The Best Marriage Advice Comes From Divorced People

A young couple listens as an older woman talks.This may sound absurd, but in fact, the best marriage advice just might come from people who have learned from their mistakes. Not everybody who gets a divorce will take the opportunity to reflect on why the divorce occurred. But those who really look at their part and what behaviors they and their spouse engaged in that led up to the divorce may learn from those experiences and develop new and more successful strategies in future relationships. In a recent article, Dr. Terry Orbuch of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan explains why divorced people may have the best advice for a great marriage.

Orbuch, a psychologist and author, has followed 373 couples for more than 25 years and found that nearly half have divorced. She surveyed those couples and asked them what they learned and what they would do differently next time. One of the top responses was to be more affectionate, both verbally and physically. The participants said that they realized how critical it is to affirm the value of your spouse through actions and words. And surprisingly, the men in the study expressed a desire for more nonsexual attention and affirmation than sexual attention. Orbuch suggests, “Do something to demonstrate that your partner is noticed and appreciated every single day.”

Another important issue was money. Orbuch found the couples realized that regardless of how each partner views finances, they should share their goals and perspectives with each other and develop a plan that will accommodate their individual and combined desires and needs. The participants also said that they realized the importance of letting go of the past. In fact, the happiest couples were those with the least amount of bitterness or resentment about past life experiences or other people in their lives. Lastly, Orbuch found that the couples who made their relationship a priority were the most likely to stay together. She suggests that couples spend time discussing things other than family, jobs, or money. Making an intentional choice to put the relationship first is essential for a healthy and long-lasting marriage.

Bernstein, Elizabeth. (2012, July 24). Divorcé’s guide to marriage. Study reveals five common themes underlie most divorces. From the Wall Street Journal Online. Retrieved from

Related articles:
9 Secrets for a Lifetime of Like, Love, and Lust
7 Tips to Resolve Conflicts about the Cash
You Can Wait Too Long to Address the Problems in Your Marriage

© Copyright 2012 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Jim Snipes

    July 30th, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I truly believe that the best teacher is wrong actions. As the title indicates who better to teach us the wrong actions than those that have already committed the actions. Myself I sit and listen to everyone those that are not married those that are married and even those that don’t ever plan on being married. Many times what they say is mere rubbish but occassionally I will find a diamond in all of the soot and coal that they are espewing.

    So my suggestion would be to be understanding and to not disgard anything until you have fully understood where it is coming from and if it can be utilized in your life.


    July 30th, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Sometimes someone who made a mistake in something can offer you the ebst aqdvice in something new for you.They have been down that road before and know the pitfalls to avoid.SO it would not be wrong to say divorced individuals can offer the best advice.And I am happy to see that at least some of the divorced participants of the study exhibited the understanding of issues after their divorce because not everybody learns even after a failed marriage,I have seen examples like that.

  • 321...Kenny

    July 31st, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    If these people have the best advice then why didn’t they apply it in their own marriage? Or i it yet another case of fall-once-and-then-you-learn? Or some people can only offer advice and not follow it themselves?

  • EmilyWiggins

    August 1st, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I think what you said with your second question is absolutely spot on with this analysis. This is totally a case of fall-once-and-then-you-learn….

    The best teacher in our society is failure and these people certainly have achieved the failure aspect.

  • Trina

    August 5th, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Marriage advice from people who are divorced? No thanks. Why not get that advice from couples who have been married for years? They can tell you all about the ups and downs, the good and the bad, but how to stick with it to keep that marriage going.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.