A Divorce Coach/Attorney Walks Into A Wedding…..

Weddings are so much (insert your own word, mine would be work) . . . it’s the Marriage that’s the challenge

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful wedding ceremony. The ceremony and reception were each spectacular events and I’m grateful to have attended. After having been a divorce attorney and divorce coach for 15 years, I feel like I now attend weddings as both a guest and a journalistic commentator. I’m in a unique line of work. There’s not much more in life to compare it to. A funeral director who also attends births? Maybe, but I digress. . . .

Attending a wedding is a perfect opportunity to reflect on marriage. Given my career, I can offer a bird’s eye view into what makes a marriage work and what tears it apart. In this 4 part blog series, I’ll be offering advice and reflections from the vantage point of one who has seen marriages fail (although I don’t like to use the word fail). I’ll start by offering my reflection: Marriage is a Contract.

In Judaism, a Ketubah, is a unilateral marital contract that is signed by a groom guaranteeing certain actions by him to protect his bride. Granted, there are some who find a traditional Ketubah controversial, and I offer no scholarly analysis of the merits of a Ketubah. But, I believe that the Ketubah reinforces the notion that marriage is contract.

A contract is a legal document that defines the parties’ rights and responsibilities with regard to what the contract says. We sign contracts all the time. Sometimes we actually negotiate the contract like when we have work done to our homes or get a job that uses an employment agreement. Most often, we don’t negotiate a contract. Think of joining a gym, renting a car, flying on an airplane, even ordering a delivery from Amazon. Each of those tasks are contract based and most of us don’t think twice about what we are committing to and what will happen if expectations change and we want out of the contract.

Marriage, to me, is simply (and complicatedly) the union of two individuals who each promise to love, honor, and respect the other for as long as both shall live. That in and of itself is huge. Sadly, most brides and grooms fail to fully understand the marital contract prior to marriage. The marriage contract requires that we, as spouses, love our spouse when we don’t feel like it. The marriage contract requires that we respect our spouse, when we don’t feel like it – especially after they’ve done something foolish – without telling us. And yes, honor them, even when . . .

As a caveat, I personally believe that the wedding vows for brides should be love, honor, respect; and for grooms, love, honor, and cherish. I will explain that distinction later in this blog series.

A successful marriage requires that the spouses understand that they have contractual obligations that remain due even when they don’t feel like it and even when it’s hard. I’ll explain what I mean further also later in this blog series. For now, the overarching theme is that a bride and a groom must enter marriage knowing and accepting that there will be highs and lows, yet we must love our spouse despite them. There will be times when you are angry at your spouse and not feel like working through that anger. However, there will be happy times too and you will love having someone to share those times with. A marital contract requires that we be available and accommodating at all times and this is a bilateral command. For example, if a spouse calls you daily at noon, you should aim to take the call. However, if you call your spouse at noon and he/she cannot take the call, you also must be accommodating and not get angry. Ultimately, every act in a marriage is a give and take. My best advice based on my professional experience: the quicker you accept that marriage is contract, the better marriage you will have because you will see your actions in a whole new light of empathy mixed with duty. There is no perfect wife and perfect husband, but the marriage between two imperfect people can be perfect because the marital contract requires love, honor, respect, which means availability and accommodation. I need to add one disclaimer: I’m not suggesting in any way that anyone stay in an abusive (any form) marriage. The abuse is a breach of contract. If you’ve been abused, you have every right – moral, ethical, legal – to leave the relationship and terminate the contract. It’s no different in legal/moral theory than when you hire a pool contractor and they make certain promises, then break them. Of course, consult with a reputable and experienced attorney in your local area for legal advice. I’m always happy to recommend anyone an attorney who I either know personally or have vetted in some way.

For information on divorce coaching including program types, please contact me at (321) 482-5060 or e-mail coachdivorcesuccess@gmail.com.

If you would like legal information for a Florida divorce or family law case, please visit www.sharpdyelaw.com; e-mail Lindsey@sharpdyelaw.com; call (321) 951-7600. I’d love to hear from you!

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Sharp Divorce Coaching

Divorce is much more than a legal matter to you and your family. We understand this intimately and would be honored to provide you with direction, emotional support, and an unbiased opinion to help you come up with a game plan.

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