Questions to think about BEFORE you think about getting married.
How will you budget your money for bills? How will you spend that left over, free-time money?
Do you agree on how this will be spent? How much will you put into savings, and for unexpected emergencies? What if there
is no left over money? How will you relax and spend your free time then?
Do you agree on all of these issues? Money is a huge issue with couples, whether married or living
together, and one of the chief reasons given in marriage surveys for marital problems. It may seem unimportant now, or like
a minor detail, but these are major things that need to be worked out.
What if there's a special treat that you give yourself every week or month, such as dinner out,
a new c.d. or video game, whatever? Will you be willing to sacrifice this without grudges when money is short? What about
the stuff that your parents buy you that you take for granted: Soda in the fridge, school supplies when you run out, doctor's
bills, new clothes? Transportation money?
And what about the extra responsibilities: Grocery shopping? House work? Meal fixing?
How will you divide up the chores?
Here are some of the attributes of a good marriage partner:
- Trust—When both partners trust each other implicitly, they are able to go through life with a tremendous amount
of confidence and freedom.
- Loyalty and commitment—Trust is built on a foundation of loyalty and commitment between the two partners. Many people
get married with the concept that, "If I don’t like it, I’ll sleep around or get divorced." This is a recipe for
disaster in any marriage. Marriage is about total commitment to your partner.
- Helpfulness—Partners in a good marriage help each other constantly and accelerate their lives that way. Married
life can be much easier than single life if both partners work together.
- Friendship—Partners in a good marriage are good friends and gather strength and joy from that friendship.
- Kindness—Partners in a good marriage are kind to one another out of love and friendship.
- Patience and understanding—Partners in a good marriage understand and forgive each other for the mistakes that come
from being human.
- Acceptance and support—Partners in a good marriage accept one another and support each other constantly.
If a couple can maintain these qualities within the marriage, then success is much easier.
There are quite a few things that can cause a marriage to fail:
- Disagreements over money—If one person is frugal and the other is free-spending, the conflict that arises can be
extremely difficult to manage.
- Laziness—If one partner is not willing to put in the effort required to make a marriage work or keep the household
functioning (financially or operationally), then the conflict that arises can cause a lot of stress.
- Stubbornness—If one or both spouses refuse to compromise, then the marriage likely will not survive. Marriage depends
- Infidelity—The fundamental contract in marriage is "lifetime commitment to a single partner." If one partner breaks
this contract, the marriage is over.
- Disagreements over children—If one spouse wants children and the other does not, you simply should not be married.
It is impossible to reconcile this difference because one partner is guaranteed to be dissatisfied.
- Physical or mental abuse—The partner being abused should leave to maintain his or her own health and safety.
- Addiction—Alcohol or drug addiction will destroy any marriage.
What is a Divorce?
-A divorce is: the legal dissolution of a marriage.
Going through a divorce is never easy, but getting as much information and support as you can will help ease the way
somewhat for you and your child/ren. Choosing to get a divorce is an extremely difficult decision.
When Is It Over?
How do you know when you've finally reached the point of no return, when putting your relationship together again is simply
too much of a stretch? In the end, of course, the answer is personal. But if your answers to the following questions are irrefutably
“yes,” it might be time to let go:
- Does every situation, no matter how seemingly trivial, evolve into a fight?
- Do you or your spouse continually refer to hurtful events in the past?
- Is all the respect gone from your relationship? Do you feel it is impossible to bring that respect back?
- Have your goals and directions changed whereas your partner's have stayed the same? (Or vice versa.)
- Is your partner no longer fostering your individual growth?
- Have you and your partner both changed so much that you no longer share moral, ethical, or lifestyle values?
- Have you and your spouse lost the art of compromise? When you disagree, are you unable to forge a path together that is
acceptable to both?
- Do you and your spouse have a basic sexual incompatibility? Do you feel completely unattracted to each other? Despite
help from professional therapists, have you stopped making love?
Consider the Children
It's best to approach uncoupling as reasonably as possible. If you can avoid a battle over custody you stand a greater
chance of moving ahead with your life in a healthy way. Most important, the more vicious the divorce, the more it will hurt
the emotional growth of your children.
The single most damaging factor for children of divorce is the continued conflict between the parents. If the parents have
a bloodbath and vent their emotions through the court system, the children are the victims. They feel like rubber bands pulled
between the two most important people in their lives. They have an inherent loyalty to each parent and should never be made
Working Through the Visitation Worries
When your children spend time with their father you are sure going to feel a sense of helplessness, and you will want to
know what goes on at his house. It is only natural. In many situations the children have not been away from you, their mother,
for any length of time. When you divorce, unless the court finds strong reasons to prevent this, you are going to have to
send your children to their father's house while you stay home and worry.
Young Couple's Divorce
Younger people with relationships of much shorter duration often reach this juncture as well. When people get married too
young, they might find they have gone through enormous changes during the relationship and have grown apart. They've simply
gone through more personal development; they have a stronger sense of identity, and in light of that, they would not make
the same marriage choice today. Frequently, in such cases, the decision to divorce is mutual. Often, these people can walk
away from marriage without feeling particularly angry, especially if they don't have any children. They both just throw up
their hands, shrug their shoulders, and say “This doesn't work.”
Shared Custody Works Best for Kids
What divorcing parents frequently forget is that the child loves both of them and doesn't want to have to pick sides. The
child will want to maintain a relationship with both his mother and his father. Even in cases of violence and abuse. Unfortunately,
in some situations the court has to limit the involvement of one parent. The children who have the most difficult time adjusting
are those who are prevented from seeing and having a relationship with one parent. When a parent is suddenly absent from their
lives children frequently think it is because of something they have done wrong.
Perhaps the most important person you'll deal with as you go to trial is the judge—just another human being, albeit
one who has the power to make decisions for you and your spouse. In a small number of states, your case might be tried by
a jury, but if not, a judge will decide the outcome. As the decider (trier of fact, in courtspeak), the judge listens,
takes notes, sometimes asks questions, and when the case is over, makes a decision. Because the judge is also the referee,
he will set the schedule of the trial, make rulings when the lawyers disagree, and rap the gavel if the courtroom gets out
of control. You might have one judge throughout the case or several different judges until trial, at which time you will have
only one judge.
Your Child Needs the Two of You
In typical circumstances your child will adjust best if he or she is permitted to have a relationship with both parents.
That is to say, your child should feel neither your interference nor your disapproval when she builds a relationship with
your ex. Even if your ex is not as supportive of this philosophy as you are, do not be pulled into an ongoing battle. Your
children are able to learn by example.
Your child will have issues with her father that are separate from your relationship with her. Although it is very difficult
to do, you should let them resolve their own issues. Be supportive but do not get in the middle; if you do, you will be the
one to get burned. Children of divorce learn the art of manipulation. Do not be played as a pawn.