Divorce tips: How to keep your marriage strong in the new year

Couples who meet online are the most likely to separate within the first three years of marriage, according to a recent survey.

These are the findings of a survey by the Marriage Foundation - with one of the main reasons being that the couples are relative strangers when they meet, without support or approval from mutual acquaintances.

However, it seems it is not just people who have met in the world of online dating who are struggling with their relationship.

After weeks of presents, food and spending lots of money, it is not surprising that most people describe themselves as "feeling blue" during January. 

This stress could explain why rates of divorce peak in the first few weeks of the year, as some people may be looking for a fresh start. 

But what can you do to make sure you remain happy and healthy in your marriage?

A wedding cake topper Credit: PA

Divorce tips: How to keep your marriage strong in the new year

Christian Dixon offers relationship counselling services in Dudley and has shared his top tips with ITV News:

  • Firstly, as a couple you need to communicate, it may be easier said than done, but if you feel you are about to have an argument or a tiff then go outside and get some fresh air. Oxygen is really good for the body.

  • Don't argue in front of your children - once again go outside, got for a walk, go into a park, you don't need to spend your money.

  • Go window shopping, take your time and talk to each other.

  • Finally, establish some sort of working alliance between the two of you, don't interrupt and let each other finish what they are saying.

What if you have only just met, and want to avoid a breakup in the future?

In an interview with ITV News, Helen and Tim from Surrey described how they met through an online dating app in 2016 and shared tips they have for people when they first meet a potential suitor.

Helen says: "You've got a potential number of people who are interested in, in dating. You can also check out whether they got the sort of similar values to you and similar interests to you.

"I think that's really important, so I love literature and books and so did Tim and, you know, that was something that was in common for us."

Tim added: "If you compare online dating with meeting somebody in say a bar, I would say the potential for learning more about the person online is quite high.

"I admit profiles can be slightly polished, but on the whole you can get quite a good picture of somebody quite quickly on that, and you can get an idea and say, yeah I think that person might be interesting, I might like them"

So, it seems that whether you have met someone online or the old fashioned way, the key ways to maintain a strong relationship are:

  • be patient

  • communicate with your partner

  • have similar interests

  • take time for yourself and get out into the fresh air when you need a break.

What to do if you or someone you know needs marriage support or advice:

  • If you are in need of legal divorce advice, you can get this through the government website or helpline: 0345 3454 345

  • Citizens Advice - for advice on ending a family you can visit their website

  • Rights of Women - You can receive family law help on 020 7251 6577 or visit their website

  • Resolution offers help and support resolving of disputes that arise when couples separate

  • Child Maintenance offers a helpline on 0800 988 0988  for impartial information or support, you can also visit their website

  • Divorce Recovery Workshop is a self-help course that will help people deal with the emotional trauma of a relationship that has broken down you can contact them on their helpline 0333 335 0489