Prevent Divorce with Annual Performance Reviews?

Annual Performance Reviews for Marriages?
Can They Prevent Divorce?

Elizabeth and John Edwards. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren. Kate and Jon Gosselin. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. The

media bombards us with stories every day of infidelity and revenge during and after divorce. These battles are between husbands and wives who at one time loved each other and committed to support each other until “death do us part.” Why do more than 50% of marriages crumble into dust? And why do so many divorces end up in fierce court battles? What can be done to prevent divorce?

Maybe we have unrealistic expectations on what it takes to nurture a relationship. So many long-married couples take each other for granted and co-exist in sheer boredom. They stopped communicating many years ago, so every unspoken minor irritation adds to the plaque of an already calcified communication channel. Gradually, they drift apart and grow in different directions. They no longer share their hopes, dreams, and joys with each other. They only talk about shallow everyday stuff. They just co-exist until one day, one of them gets energized by someone else. It might start with very innocent flirting, and next thing you know, the hormones are raging full blast. And you know what happens after that. By that time, it’s often too late to rebuild the marriage. Mutual trust is long gone. So how can we save relationships while there’s still a chance to recover and prevent divorce?

Most of us know that in the business world, well managed companies have annual performance review processes. Some have reviews on a more frequent basis. When done well, performance reviews are candid, humane, and inspiring discussions between a manager and employee, intended to motivate the employee to improve communication, performance and loyalty. Sometimes “360 degree” feedback from peers, customers, and direct reports are included in the discussion. Goals, results, and mutual expectations are discussed. By “checking in” on a regular basis, any cracks in the foundation can be identified and corrected before any further damage happens.

If having a regular “check-in” helps companies perform well, why do we expect marriages to last 20-30 years without having a regular “check-in” process? Why don’t we consider institutionalizing an annual performance review for our marriages, or some other periodic process to prompt a husband and wife to re-assess their level of satisfaction with their marriage? If dissatisfaction is caught early, there’s a greater chance of recovery and rebuilding the marriage. And then maybe we have a real opportunity to prevent marital breakdowns and divorce.

What do you think? We would love to hear from you.


2 Responses to Prevent Divorce with Annual Performance Reviews?

  1. Deborah April 1, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    After 25 years of marriage I totally agree that it is important to check in every once in awhile to see what is working and what is not quite right yet or even threatening to your partner. I remember one time my husband, who never shops and who’s entire wardrobe was purchased mostly by his mother at holidays, started to put his closet attrire into a donation pile and headed to the mall. I was afraid, very afraid, wondering what change had taken place, was there a new inspiration for this, perhaps someone else? What else was this new man going to demand from me and would I support it, I wanted the man back and his old clothes. I soon realized that he simply wanted a change. I was threatened because I am forever on the go, always chasing a new vision, always inspired and learning new things. I realized this can be very scary for him as well, probably more so than his new clothes (which I had planned to simply counter affect by getting high school skinny all of a sudden so he’d be worried someone would want me!)were for me. So I am trying hard to pause and remember how important he is in my life and to let him know he is valued. I also encourage him to have fun and grow but accept that he does it at his own pace. I try to add new adventures to our life, from a new life to even new intimate adventures, what man can turn that down. It is not easy to maintain a long relationship but is well worth it. Thanks for the great blog, I’ll check in for my feedback at dinner!

  2. Melva Green March 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm #


    WOW! Until reading this, I’d never even considered such a thing. But it makes PERFECT sense! In fact, the whole idea of prevention is a notion that many never consider as it relates to marriages. But as the old adage goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”. Thanks for this thoughtful strategy. I’ll be sure to share it.

    Be Well,


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