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“There were no warnings; he just told me yesterday that he wants a divorce.”

I hear this same plea from women who call me and are shocked and off balance when their spouse hits them with this news.

Many of us are so busy with life, career, children, family, maintaining our health, appearance, and some social life, that we don’t have a lot of time to nurture our relationship with our partner. (Just one more thing to take care of!) But, there are warnings before your partner checks out.

Men who feel unneeded, unappreciated, or feel like they can’t please their partner will give up. Some of the signs are: they come home later, make excuses for their time away, show less interest in family activities, and gradually initiate sex less often. They may also be more irritable and critical.

To prevent this gradual decay, I recommend a technique that is useful with children: Give your spouse 10 minutes of undivided, uninterrupted, nonjudgmental time every day. Listen and say at least one positive thing that you love about him. You might have to dig, but there is always something. Make sure it’s an honest, truthful statement. Make eye contact and don’t expect anything from the encounter. The rewards will come later.

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