I’m a divorce attorney. I have the pleasure of spending nearly all day, every day, helping people break up their marriages. I watch my clients laugh, cry, and sometimes scream (a few times the same person does all three in less than an hour). Each time I think I’ve heard “all there is to hear”, someone tells me another story that tops all the rest. There is never a dull moment in my law practice.
In all seriousness, I love what I do, which is helping my clients make their lives better, one day at a time. I’m not a big fan of divorce, but know sometimes divorce is the only way for people to be happy and healthy. Those people are the people I help. Although I believe I do everything in my power to make my clients’ lives better, one thing that eats at me is knowing it will be impossible for me to ever give most of them the one thing they need most.
“What is that?”, you ask… What my most of my clients need is a time machine. Yes, a time machine.
Why a time machine? Well, there are two things in common with all of my clients. One thing is they all have interesting stories to tell. The other is they are all getting divorced. The positive is I hear a lot of interesting stories from amazing people. The downside is all of the stories end in divorce. Although no two clients are the same, I’ve realized from listening to my clients over the years that there are certain common characteristics of relationships that grow apart.
What does that have to do with wanting a time machine? I wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time to tell my clients the simple things they could done to keep happy and healthy relationships with their spouse. What I’m about to tell you below are concepts that would have saved many marriages had more people known them earlier. Unless you want to meet me, at my law office, I suggest you keep reading.
What I would like to tell all of you is how to AVOID divorce. However, since the title of this post suggests you’d be receiving tips on how to ruin your marriage, and the attorney regulations prevent me from engaging in false and/or misleading advertising, I’m putting my advice in the negative and leaving it to the great therapists like Katie Lemieux and others on StayMarriedFlorida.com to set you straight.
Without further ado, the Five Easy Ways for Couples to Wind Up Divorced (From the Perspective of a Divorce Lawyer) are:
#1: Do Not Communicate!
If you really want to get divorced, do not communicate with your spouse. That’s right. Make sure you avoid talking with your spouse about what is important, about what makes them feel special. Never share your biggest dreams or fears. Don’t talk about sex, romance, or what they want in both. Make sure you avoid at all costs asking your spouse to tell you about their day, or what they want to do tomorrow, next week, or next year. If you play this approach correctly, your only conversations will be one-sided (with you doing the talking) or “business related”. After 18 years and a couple of kids you can achieve the master accomplishment of describing your relationship with your spouse to be “like ships passing in the night” while you debate the merits of permanent alimony with the wonderful “friends” you’ve made, at the bar you’ll depart alone, for an empty home.
#2: Assume your Spouse is Just Like You!
In your quest to become single, make sure assume your spouse is just like you. Never ask for their input or opinion, ever, on anything. Never read or follow the advice in books like “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. Never try to understand what makes your spouse “tick”, happy, or sad. Just give them what you want.
#3: Be Selfish!
This one is easy! Remember at all times that the world revolves around you, and nobody else. Especially not your spouse. Act like this. All the time. And never apologize.
#4: Demean Your Spouse in Front of Others!
This is also easy! If you have the need to criticize your spouse, do it. But make sure the criticism is in front of others. Does your spouse have imperfections or insecurities? Perfect! Make sure they know about them by explaining them repeatedly, and speak up so the children, friends and neighbors also know of the shortcomings. There is no need to keep things to yourself or tactfully raise something using kind words.
#5: Refuse to Get Help!
If your spouse wants to go to marriage counseling you must at first decline. After a while, go with them to the first therapist. Pretend to be interested, but only follow through with the therapist’s advice long enough to convince your spouse “the marriage is saved”. Then, stop doing everything the therapist told you. Later, when the marriage sours again and your spouse picks another therapist, tell them they are the reason counseling did not work before. Make them go to the therapist to fix themselves because you don’t need any fixing. Ignore them when they then start speaking their mind and telling you what they want in the relationship. Bury your head in the sand when they start talking about how divorce might be best for the both of you.
Christopher R. Bruce is a divorce attorney with the law firm of Nugent Zborowski & Bruce. His law firm’s four lawyers limit their practice to marital and family law in Broward, Dade, Palm Beach and Martin Counties and handle divorce appeals throughout the state. When Chris is not working to divorce Florida’s families he tries to keep them together through his website, www.StayMarriedFlorida.com. Chris can be contacted at (561) 844-1200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.