No one thinks of divorce when saying their wedding vows. Rather, everything will work out itself and love is all you need to build a happy marriage. Unfortunately, 45% of Utah couples would say that this strategy is doomed to failure.
We’ve decided to interview 10 happily married divorce attorneys and get their advice on divorce prevention. After all, what can be more eye-opening and refreshing for your marriage than seeing couples in the worst period of their marital life? Here are 10 lawyers’ tips to avoid divorce.
Be Honest About What You Think and Feel
“Honesty and trust are the fundaments of a happy marriage. If you deceive or hide something from your partner, don’t be surprised it didn’t last long. The truth will always find its way to the light. Be open about everything that matters. You shouldn’t say that you hate your in-laws at any opportunity. But discussing your financial goals, what relationship you have with your ex-partners, health conditions, attitude about children, political and social views is better before you tie the knot. Trust me, if you want different things in life, it’s better to cancel the wedding than go through lengthy and bleed-white court litigations when the marriage ends,” is sure Mary Alice Bloom.
Learn to Take it Easy Over Little Stuff
“As a family mediation lawyer, I talk to many divorcing couples. Infidelity, different financial goals, bad parenting are the conflicts that are usually hard to settle. And they are quite serious. But sometimes, I see couples who lost it because of silly little stuff like scattering socks around the house or forgetting to clean the bathroom drain from hair. Take a divorce lawyer’s advice – and I know what I am saying – think of everything that you love about your spouse rather than focusing on small irritating stuff. After a while, these annoying imperfections may be the things you will miss most of all,” said Frank London, 73-year-old former divorce attorney. His wife passed away a few years ago.
Talk through Financial Issues Before You Tie the Knot
“Financial differences” is one of the most common reasons for divorce,” says Chelsey Cummings from Salt Lake City-based law firm. “She saves for a fancy house and he wants to live here and now without thinking about the future. If you want a happy marriage, talk about money before you get married. Who gets to earn a living? How the money will be spent? Do you have debts and what’s the repayment plan? How will things unfold if one of you can’t work? Solve money issues in advance and at least the financial problem will be off the table.”
“In my job, I often see spouses who live in fantasies. A neighbor’s grass is greener, a neighbor’s wife is leaner. They usually don’t understand that the flaws they see in the partner are the results of their attitude. My divorce attorney’s advice for a happy marriage? Stop comparing your partner with whoever trying to improve them. Complements have much stronger effect”, is confident Brendon Wallis from a Provo-based law firm.
Show Understanding and Support
Warren Mason gave us his divorce lawyer advice, “Many couples fail because they can’t stop competing. And each gets no recognition, support, or understanding from the other one. Acknowledging your spouse’s success and showing empathy during their failures builds a special bond. If you ask me, being supportive is a secret to a happy marriage.”
Let Your Private Life Be Private
Henry Branson shared his weird story, “My client’s wife posted on Facebook that she was going to file divorce online in Utah. That’s how he found out about the divorce. We were proactive and used her detailed page against her. The moral? You don’t need third parties in your relationship – especially if they are divorce attorneys. Leave conflicts and intimacies for discussions between you two, and your marriage will last long”.
Go on Dates
“Jobs, kids, household duties, family obligations – they all make spouses forget that they’re individuals who need love and passion. Until there’s someone else who reminds them about it. Better a family therapist or a mediator rather than a friend with benefits. Dates are an important constituent of a happy marriage. So even if you’re like a hamster in a wheel, make sure to find time for romance,” says Ashley Gilford.
Solve Small Issues Before They Grow into Huge Conflicts
Paul Rutherford is sure that open conversation is a guarantee of a happy marriage. “What I learned from my clients and my own 10 years of marriage, is small problems tend to grow into huge conflicts if you don’t voice them. They get intensified by your fears and fantasies and sweep the marriage like an avalanche. If something bothers you, say it and let your partner help you solve the problem.”
Have Common Goals in Marriage
Lesley Wilson is a little pessimistic about marriage. “He wants kids and a small house out of town and she’s starting a job in France this summer. People with different life views and goals don’t stand a chance as a married couple. Make sure you discuss what you want from life while you’re single and in love. And then, have a regular check-up of your marital goals now and then to detect the problem sooner. You may end up as my client anyway but at least you will expect it.”
Don’t Blackmail Your Partner with Divorce
“Don’t manipulate your partner with the “d” word. He may be afraid to lose you the first fifty times but then he will start seeking divorce himself. When you get married, take it as a rule – the phrase “I’ll divorce you” shouldn’t sound in your family unless you mean it. Otherwise, you’ll be left with nothing,” is sure Robert Branson, a divorce attorney who’s been married to his first and only wife for 54 years.