Just Listen: How the McCourts -- and You -- Can Stay Friends After Divorce

05/16/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

After the dust settles in the McCourts' divorce case, here are 10 rules for them -- and you -- to remain friends.

  1. Cooperate versus turning every disagreement into a fight.
  2. Compromise versus having to be right and win at all costs.
  3. Take responsibility for causing problems versus blaming the other person.
  4. Show humility versus self-righteousness.
  5. Express appreciation versus never saying "Thank you."
  6. Say "I'm sorry" versus being defensive.
  7. Be quick to forgive versus holding a grudge.
  8. Be proactive versus passive or reactive.
  9. Give the other the benefit of the doubt versus being quick to criticize.
  10. Show a commitment to what's best for children versus being self-centered and self-serving.

Sadly, if they had been able to follow these rules before, they might not have had to become ex's.

More than 20 years ago I created a therapy for helping divorced couples to remarry their ex-spouses. It was such a positive, under utilized option that within a three month period I appeared on Oprah, Today and in the New York Times to describe it. Ironically, it was much easier to help ex-spouses who had lost their self-righteousness and been humbled by life after their divorce and who followed the rules above than it was to keep two self-centered, blaming, victim minded spouses together.

Given what we see in the media lately, I've been thinking that maybe it is an idea whose time has come again.

More trouble is caused in this world from the unforgiving than the unforgivable.

If you haven't passed the point of no return and want to read more about how to prevent going there, check out: The 6 Secrets of a Lasting Relationship: How to Fall in Love...and Stay There (Perigee, $15.95).