Maybe you hope to one day be able to be friends with your spouse after the emotional strain from your Texas divorce settles, but the idea of a “friendly” divorce may still sound laughable. According to Psychology Today, though, there are concrete steps you may take to reduce conflict and work toward a positive outcome for both of you.

Although you and your spouse may both want to assign blame for the disintegration of your relationship, it could help to uncover the outside forces that drove you apart, such as health problems, a family member’s death or career issues. These influences can cause an emotional struggle for any couple, and the resulting stress is frequently a catalyst for relationship troubles when dealing with them takes a certain skill set that one or both spouses have not developed.

Successful communication is the result of several skills, including not only the ability to set aside emotion and express yourself clearly, but also to truly listen to what your spouse says. If either of you lacked any of these skills before, you will probably not suddenly and spontaneously acquire them during your divorce. Instead, you will have to consciously identify any deficits you may have that are holding you back, and then work to overcome them.

If you do want to honestly discover the mistakes that contributed to your impending divorce, start with your own, not so you can criticize yourself, but so you can learn from them for the next time. These tips are educational, but should not replace the advice of an attorney.