One of the saddest things about divorce, as far as we're concerned? Oftentimes, it's not until after you've finalized the split that you begin to really make sense of what went wrong in your marriage.
That's a reality divorcées on Reddit are all too familiar with. On Friday, an "Ask Reddit" conversation broke out on the very subject: "What could you or your significant other have done to save your marriage?" mattthescreamer asked.
The Redditors' responses were honest, thought-provoking and undeniably sad -- the kind of real talk on relationships that those of us in them could truly benefit from hearing. Read through six of the most interesting replies below, then head to the comments and share with us what you've learned about love from past relationships.
1. Wait to marry until you're ready.
One Redditor said he and his now ex-wife would have benefited from growing up "a bit more" before tying the knot. "Twenty-years-old is mighty young and we thought we knew what we were doing, but that wasn't the case."
2. Accept each other's faith (or lack thereof).
An agnostic Redditor said his wife's aggressive efforts to convert him to her faith drove a wedge between them. "After we got married, she fell in with a church who had a philosophy of 'if you're not with us, you're against us,' he said. "Since she fell in whole-heartedly with her church, my lack of enthusiasm made for an increasingly stressful situation without a clean resolution, short of ending the relationship."
3. Talk about your definition of marriage.
It might seem like a difficult conversation to broach, but talking about what each person wants out of the marriage early on is key. That's a lesson one Redditor said she learned firsthand. "To me it means you're together until one of you dies and you work through any issues you have together through communication," she said. "My husband's parents had both been married and divorced with different people multiple times. Later, when I asked him about marriage after we split... he said he never thought marriage meant forever or that we'd have to work through things."
4. Let work take a backseat to the relationship.
Another Redditor said that she wished her husband would have put the laptop down and concentrated on the marriage a little more. "It's hard to feel the love when he put in a 12 hour day at the office, and then logged in when he got home," she explained.
5. Go to couples' counseling.
One Redditor said her husband's eleventh hour attempt to go to couples' counseling was too little, too late. "He should have gone to counseling with me three years before the divorce, when I begged him to, repeatedly, instead of finally offering to try counseling a few weeks after I said I wanted out." By the time her husband made the request, the Redditor said she was done with the marriage.
It's cliché, we know, but it's true: the cornerstone of a strong marriage is good communication. One Redditor said the biggest problem in his marriage was the lack of meaningful conversations with his wife. "We didn't discuss our problems and were both convinced we were doing the best thing for the other person. If we would have just talked, we would have understood each other's needs and understood that exiting the other person's life was not the answer," he said. The happy ending to this story? The couple remarried in November.