Marriage Advice From Your Favorite Divorce Lawyer, Part Four
This blog post is part of a series. You can read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three for more marginal advice.
I’ve been a divorce attorney for almost 21 years. I’ve been married for almost 14 years.
People always ask me, “Since you see divorces every day, is there any insight you can share about marriage?”.
So here we go.
Your Spouse Should Be Your Biggest Hero/Shero
In our quest to gain followers/admiration from strangers, a lot of us forget our biggest fan should be our spouse. That’s right.
That means RESPECTING each other. RESPECT is different in every marriage. Some husbands are proud of their wives flaunting their bodies all over Instagram. Great!
Other husbands prefer their wives keep sexuality between the couple. Great!
There are no rules about this, because it doesn’t matter what the PUBLIC or your followers think. If your spouse is ok with you doing WAP, great. But make sure he/she is first in your life. Even though my posts these days can get over 100 likes, I love it when I see that one “like” from my husband Scott.
It still gives me butterflies and validates me. 🙂
Stop Saying Marriage is 50-50. It’s Not!
People confuse marriage with divorce when they say it’s 50-50. It isn’t. It’s 100% all the time. You must assume your spouse (and you) will have some bad days. On those days, they may give less. You must be strong on those days and not expect more.
Tip: Track the cycles. I noticed about 11 years into the marriage (I’m a slow learner) that our fights were linked to the time of the month.
Lower your Expectations
This applies to life in general, but mostly in marriage.
Expectations are lofty goals shaped by society or your own wants. Stop expecting flowers and a clean house. It may never happen. I notice I get most angry when I expect my spouse to conform to MY idea of what a perfect spouse is (basically a cleaning robot that lives inside my head). Being fed, wearing slippers and a clean house is what’s important to ME, more so than sex and exercise.
Elevate your Standards
Standards are quality control. You need to set standards, not just for your spouse, but for yourself. It is NOT ok to cheat. NOT ok to lie. NOT ok to gamble away your kids’ college fund.
Standards are something you and your spouse should agree on. It’s a pact you can never break. Do NOT confuse expections with standards.
Respect, NOT Expect!
Stop being a nag. And stop being a slob.
The One Doing the Most Talking Is Usually in the Wrong
To quote Shakespeare, “Thou doth protest too much.”
Sometimes in a fight, it’s better to just shut up.
Hang Out with People Who Support Your Marriage
This is VERY important. This doesn’t mean you should avoid divorced people. Not at all. Some of the biggest proponents of my marriage are my divorced friends. They tell me how lucky I am.
Negativity is contagious. If you find that you run to the same friends every time you and spouse have a fight (especially if these friends are of the opposite sex)…be wary. This is dangerous. Marriage should be kept private and you should NOT drive stakes in your marriage by turning to an outsider that does not support it. Stay away from bitter and negative people.
Gratitude can be as contagious as entitlement.
Marriage is tough. I wish I had an easy pill to prescribe.
For more, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6