A Divorce Lawyer's Guide to a Good Marriage: Part II

We previously began our discussion on our Guide to a Good Marriage.  This post continues on that topic, but to summarize, good marriages take hard work and commitment to one another as well as the relationship itself. With that in mind we will dive into the remaining tips from this divorce lawyer's perspective.

4.  Part of a Good Marriage is Open Finances Right from the Beginning

An older attorney once told me that many of the people who file for divorce probably actually just need to file for bankruptcy. His glib attitude belies a real truth that finances put an incredible strain on a marriage relationship. It becomes miserable to be with someone when all you do is fight or fret over money issues.

While struggling to make ends meet can put serious stress on a marriage, money-related problems often also stem from a couple‚Äôs unwillingness to share financial information. One spouse controlling the finances can create an imbalance of power in the relationship that can become toxic.  I also am not a big fan of the idea  separate bank accounts.  They can lead to secrets or make it a lot easier to decide to split the sheets. If you are going to be in a marriage, it should be a partnership. Think of it like rowing a boat. If two people are rowing in opposite directions, you are not going to get anywhere. Everyone needs to be pulling in the same direction.

5.  Pick Your Battles

He never puts the toilet seat down. She always burns the toast. WHO CARES? Pick your battles and let life's little annoyances go.  Do not expect the other person to be perfect. Conversely, we divorce lawyers cringe when we hear couples say they never fight. There is not a single relationship on earth where people do not argue or disagree. Talk about your problems or disagreements. If you feel you cannot talk to your spouse about an issue, you have big problems. Find a therapist before you have to find a lawyer.

6. Treat Your Spouse as You Would Treat a Good Friend

One of the weird things about marriage based on what I have seen, is that people often treat their friends, children and extended families better than they treat their spouse. If you treat your drinking buddies better than you treat your spouse, you have a problem. Remember how you showed your spouse you cared when you two were dating? Do that. Never forget you could lose him/her.

7. Find an Outside Interest/Activity/Hobby

Maintain your own interests and do not rely on your spouse (or your spouse and children) for the sum total of your happiness. Having outside interests makes you a more interesting person. It gives you something to talk about over those date night dinners we discussed in Part I of this article. You are never too old to learn something new. Take a piano lesson. Sign up for an art class. Go hiking, Whatever it is, find something that interests you. Then you can share it with your spouse.

No one ever said this would be easy. Hopefully, you remember why you got married in the first place and you have decided it's worth it.

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Photo courtesy of Allie Towers Rice

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