Nomalanga: Six Ways For Women To Avoid Divorce

black-woman-crying1By Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses

Anyone who has been married for at least five years  and still has a healthy and functional marriage, if they are being honest, will tell you that they have had at least one rough patch, probably more. Best selling author, Laura Doyle, wrote a very controversial book years ago, based on her experience with her own marriage that had reached the “divorce-point”. By following six simple principles, outlined in the book, “The Surrendered Wife,” she was able to not only avoid a divorce, but she was also able to experience marriage in a much more joyful and peaceful way.

Please be warned; if you have some sort of aversion to “submission” (as a lot of modern women do), these principles may rub you the wrong way but, having read the book that these principles are based on, I can assure you that while there may be some seemingly similar points, it is not the same. I also caution anyone reading these principles, not to dismiss them until they have tried them. What have you got to lose? Maybe…just, maybe…your marriage can change for the better.

The principles are as follows:

1. Do at Least Three Things a Day for Your Own Pleasure

Ladies, let’s be honest-being tired, hungry and overwhelmed are bad for you and they are even worse for your marriage or relationship. In order to be your best self, you need to be patient, compassionate and open to intimacy and that becomes less and less likely when you do not practice self care. Says Doyle,

“Self-care — focusing on your own pleasure — takes the pressure off your husband to make you happy (he can’t anyway). Your good mood also signals to him that he can succeed in delighting you, which inspires him to want to do just that. By treating ourselves well, we also teach other people how to treat us. Having fun every day is not only critical for a satisfying romance, it’s part of a life well-lived.”

2. Relinquish Control of People You Can’t Control

As Doyle puts it, “‘Helpful’ in wife language is controlling in husband language.” Seemingly helpful suggestions about how your husband should drive, dress or what he should do at work are just a masked way of telling him that he is incompetent, or at least less competent than you, which is why you are telling him what to do. Criticism and being controlling are a sure way to kill the intimacy in a relationship, no matter how good your intentions are. According to Doyle, “Intimacy needs safety and encouragement to thrive, and vanishes with criticism.”  Give your man his space and let him run his own life. If you trust him to make the best decisions for himself, he most probably will and then you will be reminded why you fell in love with him in the firs place.

3. Receive Gifts, Compliments and Help Graciously

“Receiving is the opposite of rejecting,” says Doyle. Even if your man gives you a gift that is not exactly what you had in mind, be wise enough of a woman to focus on the fact that he thought of you and gave you a gift, rather than fixating on what you did not get. When he offers to bathe the kids, for example, accept his help graciously. He may not do it perfectly or do it like you do it, but remember that rejecting a gift, compliment or help greatly reduces the quality of your marriage and your life. The more gracious you are, the more gifts you are likely to see coming your way.

4. Respect The Man You Chose

If you find it hard to respect your man, it’s probably not because he does not deserve to be respected. You’re smart-right? You picked him-right? Well, if he seemed like a god choice when you married him, you should consider that the reason why he doesn’t seem that way now is that you have stopped focusing on his good traits and have shifted the focus onto his shortcomings. Doyle reminds us,

“A man who feels respected by the woman who knows him best also feels self-respect, which is far more attractive than cowering and hostility. Lack of respect causes more divorces than cheating does because for men, respect is like oxygen. They need it more than s*x. Respect means that you don’t dismiss, criticize, contradict or try to teach him anything. Of course he won’t do things the same way you do; for that, you could have just married yourself. But with your respect, he will once again do the things that amazed and delighted you to begin with — so much so that you married him.”

5. Express Gratitude Three Times Daily

Doyle puts it best when she says,

“Gratitude has magical powers. It turns an ordinary meal into a feast, an average relationship into a lifelong romance and an ordinary husband into your hero.”

Its easy to focus on all the things you do and start to feel like you’re doing more and that it is unfair. Why should you thank him when you do so much more? Well, there is a chance you have overlooked the many things he does and he feels just as unappreciated as you do. Be grateful and take every opportunity to thank your man when he does even the smallest things, like changing a light bulb. Another bonus is that you can’t be grateful and resentful at the same time.

6. Strive to be Vulnerable

Says Doyle,

“Intimacy and vulnerability are directly connected. If you want intimacy, then you’ll need to take the risk of admitting that you’re lonely, embarrassed or hurt. This is not the same as weakness; it actually requires great strength.

When you’re vulnerable you don’t care about being right, you’re just open and trusting enough to say “I miss you” instead of “you never spend time with me.” It means you simply say, “ouch!” when he’s insensitive instead of retaliating. That vulnerability completely changes the way he responds to you.

Vulnerability is not only attractive, it’s the only way to get to that incredible feeling of being loved just the way you are by someone who knows you well. There’s nothing like the joy of intimacy that results from vulnerability. It really is worth dropping the burden of being an efficient, overscheduled superwoman to have it.”

If any of the principles above feels like it’s “too much”, remember that successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Marriage is no different; people with successful marriages are willing to do what people with miserable marriages (usually on the highway to divorce) are not willing to do.

These principles work-let me know about all the awesome changes you start to see as you practice them.

Nomalanga helps Black Women thrive in their lives and careers. She is a Social Commentator, an Editor at Your Black World , Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and the reigning Mrs Botswana. Visit Nomalanga’s blog at

47 Responses to Nomalanga: Six Ways For Women To Avoid Divorce

  1. My Sister,

    (2) And (4) are dead on it. Men can be Jackasses at times and to be truthful most of the time and this is coming from a man.

  2. Are black men crazy? How would divorce such a beauty! Look at her flawless face, perfect skin color, lips, inviting eyes although streaking with tears. Whoever divorced her is nuts.

  3. I got some more for wives:
    1) Keep your weight down and your health up.
    2) Keep your mama and your friends out of your marriage.
    3) Make love to your man, especially when you want to say you’re “too tired” but he isn’t.
    4) Your husband should be your only source of male attention. There is no need to show the world your cleavage when you already have a man. Who cares if you still got it, it belongs to your husband.
    5) Do not let your children walk all over you or your husband.
    6) Remember that money does not grow on trees.
    7) God comes FIRST.

    And for husbands:
    1) Keep your weight down and your health up.
    2) Keep your brother, your buddies and your cousins out of your marriage, and do not make her feel like your sports are your mistress.
    3) Make love to your wife ONLY, not to her sister, cousins or so-called friends. Or that girl at work that only started flirting with you after she found out you were married. Or your boss.
    4) Your wife should be your only source of female attention.
    5) Do not let your children walk all over you or your wife.
    6) Remember that money does not grow on trees.
    7) God comes FIRST.

  4. Pingback: 6 ways women can avoid divorce | YNaija

  5. Interesting…my take is simple …I would live to be “submissive” in a word.
    The bar is this though…qualification! If one has been masking a life that appears to be qualified or appears that he has managed well…marriage is when u find out the truth the whole n nothing but the truth…there is so much to consider in this life as a unit…and both will have Ample time to submit to the other…he has strengths in this area and she has strengths in that area…male chauvinism….. Nope! I am man so what I say goes….nope! I am man so I know better….nope…I have seen woman drug thru the mud because he knew squat! N was totally unqualified to lead….these situations require co-piloting…n that’s ok too…still a growing process…alot of honest communication…will answer it!!!!

  6. “The Mother is every child’s very FIRST TEACHER! The Mother is EVERY child’s most Influential Teacher! She is that child’s FIRST IMPRESSION! And that First Impression is the Lasting Impression!

    If the Mother ain’t talking about Nothing, the child ain’t talking about nothing! If Mama ain’t thinking about nothing, the child ain’t thinking about nothing! If Mama don’t want to do right, the child don’t want to do right!

    Children will imitate their parents, but Mama especially. she is that FIRST TEACHER. She is shaping, influencing, and teaching that child even while the child is still in the womb, through bio-chemistry of her OWN THOUGHTS!

    As a Blackwoman, it is true that “you” have a mission of Responsibility to Uplift “yourself” in Righteousness, Wisdom, Knowledge, Strength, and Pure Spirituality that your entire BLACK NATION may ascend to do the same!”

    The Black woman is like the Black Soil…she is a RICH and FERTILE FOUNDATION OF BLACK MOTHER EARTH!



    The Goddess Blackwoman [Mother of Civilization] -Akil



  7. I think the 2nd point is valid, but what if you are not the controlling one and he is? What then?

  8. We have been given a poor vision of marriage and that is why you have a HIGH level divorced. We must drop the mental sickness and replant a new seed. We must do better!

  9. These principles should apply to both the man and the woman.
    Both parties “should give and receive” what is spelled out in these principles. It takes two. I don’t think it should be left up to one partner. Why should either partner feel the need to be “in control.”
    It’s not rocket science, do unto others as you would have them do unto you by treating them the same way as you would like to be treated. Is that really “so hard to do?”

  10. Sigh. I hate articles that focus on what else women need to do to please, placate and suck up to men. Women already bend over backwards trying to make men comfortable, to not damage their ego, to speak softly, to let him do what he wants and not seem like she is nagging, to ask instead of demand, to give him s*x even when she doesn’t want to, to take on the burden of the household children and marriage like an oxen.

    Women already bear the brunt of responsibility for their marriages. This type of thinking merely puts MORE blame on women for “holding the marriage together” instead of on them jointly. So no, I can’t go along with this. I think its sexist garbage.

    • Willena. I totally agree with your both parties comment. Mutual respect is the key.
      Deborah, I think both man and woman have certain roles to play. Men and women are wired differently. Women should NOT have to bear the brunt of the bending and giving. Women do tend to voice their displeasure with their mates more than men. Men hold back until it goes to far. That is where the nagging comes in. Not in all cases though.

      • I don’t believe they are wired differently. We’re all human and the Bible says that nothing has overtaken us but what is common to man(kind). We like to think we’re different – and perhaps that’s where the problem starts. Women are to submit to Husbands as to the Lord – but – the husband is to love his wife and give himself as Christ did for His church. It also tells us we are to submit one to another. I see nothing in there that implies this “submission” means that women are “less than” their husbands in any way shape or form.

  11. Though this article is a good one full of helpful advice, Willena & Deborrah, I couldn’t agree more with the both of you more regarding articles like this focusing on what women have to do in order to saved their marriage because it’s one sided and unrealistic. It’s a shame to read articles like this posted by a woman that ours the ONUS solely on women, letting the men of the hook of responsibility in making a marriage work. Personally, in the last the years, I’ve personally know of men leaving their wives, good wives, because they though the grass was greener on the other side. I’m talking men leaving their good and faithful wives with their children, so please, stop these articles passive aggressively blaming women out making suggestions to them on how they should do all the work to make marriage work.

  12. Really good article, thank you.

  13. Excellent article. As a wife, I am so thankful to have learned these lessons early in my marriage. Submission and vulnerability are key. So many women view submission as being weak…It takes a strong woman to submit. BUT only for a man worthy of it, my Mr. is a rare breed.

  14. What about us men that has been submissive,trusting,loving and you have given all of you, your heart, mind and spirit and you still get f****d in the a*s, because your mate decided to step out and cheat after nine years of marriage.I am speaking from experience,what happened to making and honest and trusting commitment to death due us part is no longer respected.
    Today woman allow media, marriage consultants and material wants to interfer with the marriage.They started out loving and under the word of God love your spouses, then, you start disrespecting your vows and start acting and looking at the grass on the others side, thinking the grass is greener, but the truth is, if you just water your own grass, it can be just as greener, but you are so easy to let it go.
    Nobody is perfect, but the system as a built in seek and destory policy we together we stand, divided we fall, Love is h**l working on being perfect if that exist, were all are human, and we make mistakes, but do your best and allow GOD in to make the decision for you. You know, what’s done in the dark will always coome into the light.

    • Intelligent people do not expect perfection from their spouse and understand that all humans are weak. Being monogamous is very hard for an entire life time. People in successful marriages forgive, work to improve their bonds, find out why the spouse cheated and STAY COMMITTED for better or worse, regardless of the circumstances. Emotional pain can heal, but I dont advocate being committed to people who physically abuse and threaten your life.

  15. While I think I understand that the intent of the article is to coach, teach or inform a woman with “tips” from a wife’s side in a marriage – given marriage is made up of two people – to seemingly imply that one person of that marriage can contribute to preventing divorce is kind of misguided. To avert a marriage breakdown that can or does lead to divorce requires proper relationship conduct on both sides. There is responsibility and accountability of the man/husband as well as the woman/wife. Marriages in most cases succeed or fail because of positives or deficits on the part of both parties. To suggest as some that women are primarily the positive elements in relationships and men are not or that men are primarily the positive elements in relationships and women are not is to speak from anger and pain and contributes nothing to how equally healthy relationships can be built and developed.

  16. GARBAGE…….you my GURL DEBORAH!!!!!!

  17. What’s up with the trade up philosophy? Life is filled with disappointments and victories. I’ve learned to fight for the one person who I picked to carry my last name. My victory is know defined in the context of our happiness. The war of the sexes is won by compromise, patience and a common belief or pursuit of that belief that you can have happiness. I recognize that I love her and my children, MEN/WOMEN……..FIGHT FOR FAMILY, IT’S WORTH IT!!!

  18. Submission is not a one way street.

  19. Pingback: Nomalanga: Six Ways For Women To Avoid Divorce | Healthy Black Woman

  20. After15 years of marriage my husband divorced me because he said that I had not accomplished enough. I had three children in six years, breast fed all, went to law school, moved from east to west coast for his job and took and passed the California bar exam shortly after I weaned my one year old child who was almost 12 pounds at birth and was born naturally after 1.25 hrs of labor. But I had not accomplished enough!! After years of hearing this and putting up with him having this white woman as his best friend to my exclusion (she meddled in every aspect of our lives) plus him controlling everything about our daily lives including how our daughters’ hair was done, I was finished! So he did not tell me he wanted a divorce, but he told all of our friends, I was merely served with divorce papers, I found myself more relieved than shocked. I did not shed a tear. I signed all our worldly possessions over to him and moved into a small apartment with our children. I have never looked back and I do not miss him. He was disrespectful, condescending, racist (he’s mixed race black & white but very white identified and would frequently tell me how awful black people are while I’m black). If I had followed any of those principles though I agree with them, he would have seen them as weaknesses and would have treated me as s weakling. Those principles are wonderful to live and love by so long as the person besides you for whom you practice them is worthy and will appreciate the effort. Marriage is a two way street and if the other person is not subscribing to similar principles it will not work. The other party will become resentful. Further, it is not on women to avoid divorce. If a relationship is not working for you it is incumbent upon you after trying to make it work, to seek your own happiness. The burden is not on us only to save our marriages. Besides being divorced is not a terrible thing unless you make it so and with the advent of online dating, an opening and a sense of adventure, a girl can have a lot of fun. After 15 years of a terrible marriage in which I stayed due to convention and fear of judgment I have recovered and rediscovered myself and love whom I found. I’m never going back. Ladies if you find yourself in similar situation, ask yourself if you have respect, friendship and trust. If you don’t make an assessment as to whether it would be worth working professionally on your relationship to save it and whether you want to. After completing this exercise and you still feel mostly negative feelings then you might want to think about divorce rather than putting up with a partner that is not earning nor cares to earn your love. Remember you only have one life and the way you live it is your responsibility.

    • Anytime a man comes up with some baseless accusation why do some women take that bullsh*? You know he’s lying and something is up, typically another woman. If my husband made friends with some woman and I had no clue about, never met her, was excluded he would be being served divorce papers. Now is a woman supposed to submit to that? Submission my a**. Don’t EVER submit to any man or woman. It’s about mutual respect. I am an adult and I expect to be treated like one, period. In turn I chose to treat my man with his due respect. You know what my crazy husband tried to pull? Ogling some woman to the point where he had to turn around and watch her leaving. Claimed he was turning around to look for a friend. Really? What did I do? Left him sitting there embarrassed as h**l. When he came to the car, oh he was hot. Why did I do that? I told him what he did. He denied it up and down. I said look. I’m not a fool. Don’t insult my intelligence. You showed me disrespect and this relationship disrespect. If it happens again, I will just leave. I refuse to be disrespected ever. You teach people how to treat you and men understand action and respect.

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