Family law attorney Stacy Rocheleau with RIGHT Lawyers has written a guest blog post for my clients on how to stay married. Thanks, Stacy for the great advice:
Divorce Lawyer Marriage Tips
by Stacy Rocheleau, Esq.
Learning how to have a better marriage from a divorce lawyer might seem a little odd. My job is to end marriages, not keep them together.
But, as a divorce lawyer, I see the myriad of reasons marriages break down. There are the big ones – cheating, drug abuse, or domestic violence. And, there are the not so big ones – over spending, issues with the in-laws, or growing apart.
Being a first responder to these divorce battles has strengthened my own 22-year marriage. Seeing first-hand the issues causing divorces has provided me insight into how to strengthen a marriage. Here are a few tips I have learned.
Make Time For Each Other
Finding time is hard. Our days and weekends are filled with work, carting kids to activities, helping with homework, meals, and housework. We are so busy running around, by the end of the week my husband probably wouldn’t notice if I grew a mustache!
Remember how much time you spent together when dating? Whether or not you had kids, your life was still busy, but you made time for each other because it was important. So make it important again. Date nights are great. We often go to Starbucks in the morning for coffee. Spending time together, uninterrupted by kids or work will strengthen the marriage.
Keep Intimacy Alive
This does not necessarily mean having sex three times a day, every day, although most men would be fine with that! Couples usually have different needs for intimacy. One spouse may like holding hands while walking through Walmart, while another needs frequent sex. Have honest conversations about your needs. Come to an understanding of what fulfills your spouse. A marriage without intimacy will often result in a spouse seeking it from someone else.
Count The Money
Financial issues are a big reason behind divorce. This isn’t just about not having money. It’s about participating in the money together. One spouse may feel they are being “controlled,” another may feel their partner doesn’t participate in the budgeting.
Couples need to get on the same page and understand how much you make combined each month, how much your monthly expenses are, who is going to pay the bills, and how much is left over for discretionary expenses. Sit down together to work on budget and a process for paying the bills.
This seems like a no-brainer, but we all know someone who will treat strangers nicer than they treat their spouse! Your spouse is someone you chose to live your life with, someone you supposedly love and are best friends with. So be kind, be forgiving, and show compassion and empathy.
Have Your Own Interests
You are married, not surgically connected. It is natural to have interests outside of your spouse. Maintaining your own hobbies, activities, and own set of friends is healthy. If there is a trust issue, talk about it and get it resolved. How can they miss you if you are always around? Even a short absence of a few hours does make the heart grow fonder.