At the Law Offices of Shannon C Smith, divorce law is one of the major components of our practice. We have spent countless hours helping clients all over the Cincinnati and Covington areas go through their divorce as amicably as possible, and in that time, you can bet that we’ve seen the whole gamut of issues that drive married couples apart.
While we will gladly assist in helping you through your divorce and handling the legal side of things, wouldn’t it be nice if the need for divorce was avoided altogether? If divorce has been on your mind, there might be things that you can do to help your marriage before you reach that point.
Of course, it’s not our place to say who should and shouldn’t get divorced, and this post is by no means meant to be taken as encouragement to continue a failing marriage if you’ve decided you want out. However, there are things that can help any marriage, and if you see divorce as a worst-case scenario, perhaps these things can help. Note that these are all from observation and experience working with divorcing couples — we do not claim to be professionals in marriage counseling.
Be Financially Transparent
If we told you that financial turmoil was one of the leading causes of divorce, would you be surprised? Probably not, and for good reason — financial struggles are a heavy factor, if not a leading cause of the majority of divorces.
In the many cases we’ve seen where financial woes play a role, there’s almost always some sort of inequality that drives a wedge into the relationship. One person might be spending more than the other, or disproportionate to the amount that they bring in. Financial infidelity is also a problem that’s just as common (if not more so) than sexual infidelity — when one spouse is consistently spending in secret, there’s really no scenario where that ever ends well.
True financial transparency is a good way to avoid this devastating problem. Couples need to figure out how to work their finances. Prenuptial agreements are a good solution here because the couple can decide going into the marriage how things will look when it comes to finances and assets. Whatever your situation, make sure you’re on the same page as your spouse, and open and honest about your spending.
Don’t Let Things Fester
Another problem that’s all too common in married couples is the tendency to bury their grievances, preferring to let them fester inside rather than bringing them up, which would potentially cause an argument or an uncomfortable conversation.
This is a marriage killer. Open communication is one of the most important aspects of a functional marriage. You can afford to keep your cards close to your chest when you’re dealing with friends and even family, but your spouse is the person you share your entire life with; holding in your frustration won’t contain the problem — it will only build up pressure only to inevitably explode later.
Accept Your Partner for Who They Are
Einstein purportedly once said, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”
Our divorce attorneys have worked with enough divorce cases to know that in one way or another, this quote rings true for many a married couples, and it represents a major problem in many struggling marriages — that one spouse doesn’t accept the other for who they are.
In reality, men and women could be swapped in this quote and it would still apply to a great number of marriages. The point is that you can’t go into a marriage expecting that somebody will change, and neither can you hold the expectation that they will never change. Adult men and women are complex individuals whose character and paradigms ebb and flow with the elaborate roller coaster that is life, and this is something that cannot be predicted, controlled, or expected.
And that’s the real killer — the expectation. You need to accept your spouse for who they are and respect the various changes they will inevitably go through, or those things that will never change, no matter how hard you try.
Build Each Other Up
Infidelity, predictably, is one of the leading causes of broken marriages. However, it’s important to understand that infidelity usually doesn’t happen in a vacuum. While we are in no way advocating that it’s a spouse’s fault if their partner cheats on them, it’s prudent to remember that more often than not, cheating is symptomatic of a greater problem.
Infidelity usually results when one spouse feels like they aren’t getting something from their partner. Whether it’s physical attraction, moral support, or attention in general, when an outsider starts to fill that void instead of their spouse, it’s a recipe for marital disaster.
The kicker? In the majority of these types of cases, the thing that the cheater feels is lacking is something that their spouse used to offer in abundant supply and something that they gave back in equal measure. The problem is when spouses stop building each other up. Marriage can turn into a routine which makes it easy to forget about the immense amount of support and love that both partners need.
Never stop complimenting each other. Never stop showing support in your partner’s life interests and pursuits. Never let your physical intimacy run dry — these things, when in short supply, can break a once-happy marriage.
Remember That the Grass Isn’t Always Greener
The last thing that drives many couples apart is a feeling of dissatisfaction, that things would just be better if the marriage wasn’t getting in the way. While sometimes things actually are better after a divorce, it’s also extremely easy to romanticize a life in your head that’s not indicative of reality.
Before you blame your life problems on your marriage, you should take a good hard look at the realistic ramifications of separating, and ask yourself if the marriage is the problem, or if your struggles are symptomatic of deeper issues; ones that wouldn’t go away even if you weren’t married.
Sometimes divorce is the answer, and when it is, our family law attorneys will be happy to help. But don’t fall into the trap of inventing an ideal fantasy life that would only exist if you went through a divorce. There are couples who often do this, spending tremendous amounts of time and money, only to find that they were tackling the wrong problem.
Ultimately, it’s not up to us to decide whether you should get divorced. We are not marriage counselors, and you know your situation better than anyone in the world. In those cases where you feel like it is the most appropriate solution for your situation, we will be your strongest advocate in your divorce case, providing quality representation and expert legal expertise. If you feel like you might have a need for a divorce attorney, contact us today!