by Phoebe Hall. Esq., and Julie Cillo. Esq.
When a couple marries, they start a new life with high hopes of building a good and enduring future. They come together as two imperfect people who love each other and want to share their lives forever.
Life as a married couple brings many joys and many challenges. Each person participates in his or her own way, bringing both strengths and weaknesses to the marriage. Build on strengths. Work around weaknesses. Differences can make your lives interesting and exciting; differences also can make your lives stressful and hard to manage. You learn very quickly that marriage is not only about the high notes. The reality is that day to day living and decision making take work and compromise.
As family law attorneys, and as parents ourselves, we have seen marriages that survive and marriages that do not last. We write this series of articles to share with you what we have learned about both marriage and divorce, and we will be explaining things that need to be considered when a separation or divorce occurs.
Often when someone visits a family law attorney about divorce, the marriage is already over. Some marriages fail because of substance abuse, infidelity or financial irresponsibility. Sometimes a person just married the wrong person. Other times, people simply grow apart until at least one person in the marriage wants to end it.
There are times, however, when it is still possible to turn things around. In any case, it is wise to talk to an experienced family law attorney at the first signs of trouble.
Here are some of the secrets to a great marriage:
1. Laugh a lot and have fun together. Don’t lose yourself in being parents to the point that you lose yourselves as a couple.
2. Share fairly in the responsibilities of marriage and a family and be sure your expectations of each other are reasonable.
3. Talk out the problems that need to be discussed and get them resolved so that they do not fester throughout the marriage.
4. Appreciate your spouse for who he or she is. Remember, no one wants to be around someone who is always criticizing them or trying to change them.
5. Don’t compare your situation to what you would like it to be; compare it to the actual alternative. Don’t forget, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, no matter where you stand.
The marriages that stay together are usually the ones where people made good choices in the beginning and have the commitment to see that their marriage endures. The best marriages bring out the best in each person. We hope that you can follow the path of an enduring marriage.
If faced with divorce, however, consult an experienced family law attorney with a philosophy that matches yours who can help you make good choices that protect you and your family.