Divorce is on the rise in the country, probably because marriages take a lot of compromise, time, and commitment.

Stats SA’s marriages and divorces statistics for 2017 show that 25 390 completed divorce forms were processed, an increase of 0,3% from the previous year.

Divorce stats from Stats SA

What’s more, almost half – four in 10 or 44,6% – of the 25 390 came from marriages that did not reach their 10th anniversary.

The findings come from a combination of household sample surveys, administrative data, and population censuses.

To make your marriage work, pay attention to these four fundamentals that will contribute positively to any relationship.

Trust

As a cornerstone of any relationship, trust is the foundation upon which everything else is built.

Speaking to DESTINY, relationship expert and life coach Paula Quinsee says people need to trust in the relationship and their partner to always be there for them, and do right by them.

“You need to trust that your partner will make the relationship a priority, that he or she will protect it and keep it safe in terms of boundaries and knowing where you stand with each other,” she says.

READ: Customary Marriage: If you haven’t filed for divorce, you’re still married

Honest communication

Learning how to communicate honestly – and do it well – in a marriage is a challenge for most people.

“You need to be honest with yourself in terms of what you’re thinking, feeling, needing and what’s working and not working, and being honest with your partner – because you can’t expect your partner to be honest with you if you aren’t honest,” advises Quinsee.

Consider couple’s therapy if you feel that you are talking past, instead of to, each other.

READ MORE: What we learnt about marriage from Jada and Will Smith

Resolve conflict

It is natural to run into conflict when you live with someone. Everyone has their pet peeves, after all. When this happens, don’t sweep it under the rug, because the issue will build up and lead to continuous frustration. “You need to be able to resolve conflict in a way where both parties are feeling heard and valued,” she says. This leads back to honest communication without laying on blame.

Quality time

Find something that you both love to do, and do it together. This contributes massively to a happy relationship.

“It’s about making time for each other, trying things and participating in things together, as well as connecting on a deeper level,” she says.

“That creates experiences, which in turn create moments and that creates memories.”

More numbers

Other interesting stats from the report show that in 2017, the following were registered:

  • 135 458 civil marriages, a drop of 2,9% from 2016,
  • 2 588 customary marriages, a drop of 34,9% compared to 2016, and;
  • 1 357 civil unions, an increase of 0,3% from 2016.
  • There were 14 121 – 55,6% – divorces with children aged 18 years or younger.
  • There were more female, 12 938, than male, 8 878, plaintiffs in divorce proceedings.