Thursday, March 27, 2008

Divorce Lessons I Have Learned

After more than 35 years of working with people who are getting divorced, it is not surprising that I have learned a lot about divorce and the people who are getting a divorce. I have come to believe that it should be harder to marry and easier to divorce. There should be more premarital counseling. Premarital counseling will be the subject of a future blog. It is harder to get a drivers license than a marriage license. Perhaps premarital counseling should be required before a couple could get married. It would help if a couple at least considered if did not agree on issues of finances, employment, children, sex, social life, and many other areas before they got married. We have not done any premarital mediation but it might be helpful.
I have also learned that the things which you think are the cause of the break up may actually be a failed effort to save the marriage. I very often see couples who just had a child or just bought a house and are now getting divorced. At first I thought the new child or house caused the divorce but have come to understand, the new child or house was actually and effort to save a failing marriage. When the new child or new house did not save the marriage, the couple gets divorced.
Some couples are better able to live together without being married than living together married. For some couples the dynamics of their relationship changes when they get married. I don’t know if they feel they don’t have to try as hard or there is no easy escape. I have seen numerous couples who have lived together for years and then get divorced after a short marriage. Perhaps this is another example of an effort to save a failing relationship.
The things which attracted you will eventually drive you crazy. For example, a woman likes a man who when they are dating takes charge. He picks the restaurants, the movies and other items. After they get married, the woman feels this is controlling.
Often when a couple comes to me and one spouse wants the divorce and the other spouse does not want the divorce, I ask the spouse that does not want the divorce, "Do you want to be married to your spouse or do you want to just be married because you don’t want to be alone?" More often than not the person just wants to be married. This realization usually helps both parties. The evidence for this proposition, is that the person who does not want to get divorced is usually the party who remarries first.
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