People get divorced for many reasons. Maybe, the problems in your marriage have been festering for years and one or both of you just had enough. Or, maybe you were blindsided by an email from your spouse that he/she wants a divorce. Maybe you were the one who decided it was time and asked for a divorce.
The reasons people get divorced are as varied as the stars in the sky. Every situation is different because every marriage and the people involved are different. Your marriage and your marital lifestyle are influenced by a number of factors, such as family dynamics, jobs, income, debt, children, etc.
Why are you getting divorced?
I am always interested in the “why” of why people get divorced. My wife thinks I’m just being nosey, but that’s not it. Really, I have a reason for asking a lot of questions.
I spend a lot of time with new clients talking about this because it helps me understand where they came from and how they got to me. If I weren’t a lawyer, I would be a psychologist, so it’s a natural progression for me to want to understand the dynamics of your marriage before I give you advice on how to proceed.
In other articles, I’ve mentioned that there many times that I will tell a client coming to me for a consultation that I think they should go to therapy and take some more time to see if there is a possibility of reconciliation. I rather see you save your marriage then be a part of the break up.
But, if it’s time, it’s time and I never try to force someone to stay in an unhealthy or toxic relationship.
How to address the problems before it’s too late.
As divorce attorney, I have noticed common themes of issues that plague marriages that lead to divorce. If you identify them early and want to save the marriage, there are things you can do. Here are a few of the more common themes I’ve noticed:
1. Breakdown in Communication
I know what you might be saying. “Duh, this is an obvious one.” True, but if it’s so obvious, why is it one of the biggest problem areas in marriages? Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. I think that people ignore how well or not well the communication is with their spouse until it’s too late. A breakdown in communication with your spouse does not happen overnight. It takes time.
The key is to spot it early. Take the time to inspect your marriage like you would a new car you’re considering buying. Are you and your spouse on the same page most of the time? If not, why not and where is the problem?
If you are not sure how your communication is, ask your spouse. He/she will tell you and if the response is not good, now is time to work on it. The first step is identifying and agreeing that there is a problem. If one of you thinks the communication is a problem and the other thinks everything is fine…it’s a problem!
This can lead to a breakdown in the communication. Resentment is a silent killer of relationships. I say that because it’s the one thing that can fester without an overt or obvious sign. You might not even realize that it’s a problem until it’s a big problem. If there is healthy communication, then it’s harder for resentment to build because the person who might be feeling this way will bring it up when it happens, rather than sweep it under the rug, or keep it inside and let it boil.
Ah, jealousy! This leads to the dark side (sorry, I can’t help the Star Wars references sometimes). Not to beat a dead horse, but this can be mitigated by open and healthy communication with each other. It’s normal to get jealous from time to time, but are you jealous of your spouse? If so, why? You can’t fix the problem unless you understand why you feel the way you do.
I’ve found that spouse’s become jealous of other spouses for various reasons. It doesn’t really matter the reason. You two are on the same team! No reason to be jealous of the other. If you are, get to the root of the “why” and address it early. Is it that you are the one working and are jealous that your spouse gets to stay at home with the kids every day?
Remember, the grass is usually greener on the other side. The stay at home parent might be jealous that you get to interact with adults and earn money. Have the conversation and you see if you can’t relieve these feelings if you have them. If it’s your spouse who is jealous of you, talk it out. Empathize and acknowledge the feelings.
Are you depressed? Sometimes, this requires a medical evaluation to diagnose. If you are depressed, that can greatly affect how you view your marriage, family, life, etc. For example, if you are unhappy with your job, you might bring that home with you and not even realize it’s affecting your home life. If you are not sure whether it’s affecting your behavior, ask your spouse. Remember that communication thing? Listen to your spouse’s response and take it seriously, whether you think they are valid or not. If it’s valid to your spouse, it’s valid and needs to be addressed if you want to save your marriage.
Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard.
Both partners need to put in the work so the relationship stays healthy for the long haul. Listen, ask questions, communicate with each other and you might be able to have a long, healthy marriage. Even though I’m a divorce attorney, that’s what I want for you!
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