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Reflecting on Relationships

Five Things You Should Consider Before You Call It Quits

“Does it get easier?” Charlotte asks in Lost in Translation.

“Marriage is hard,” Bob confesses. But “you sleep one-third of your life – that knocks out eight years of marriage … So, you’re down to sixteen and change …” 

If Bob’s nearly 25-year, lackluster marriage sounds familiar, here are five things to consider:

Perfect Marriages Don’t Exist

Don’t compare your less-than-perfect marriage to someone else’s fairytale union. It probably isn’t as idyllic as it appears. In fact, studies show only one in five marriages are healthy.

Every Couple Faces Obstacles

Attorney Kate Bihm, who practices family law, says money is the most common reason marriages fail. “When parties don’t work together on their finances or when the parties are not aligned on how finances should be managed,” she says, “resentment often drives a wedge between the parties that cannot be overcome.”

Therapist Michael Henson agrees. Parenting differences, household logistics, and an inability to forgive your partner after infidelity also derail marriages, he says.

Marriages Take Work

For marriages to thrive, both partners need to work on it, fight fairly when settling their inevitable disputes, communicate with kindness, and spend time together.

Marriage Counseling Helps

Marriage counseling helps couples make peace with the past, resolve conflicts, and communicate effectively. “Everyone knows how to talk,” Mr. Henson says. “I teach couples how to listen to each other.” He also focuses on helping men better understand women. “I teach husbands how to be men who honor, cherish, respect, and communicate with their wives,” he says. “I don’t side with husbands. I remain objective.”

His counseling works. Eight out of 10 couples completing his 15-session program reconcile. 

Looking Before You Leap

Work on your marriage before calling it quits. If you can’t reconcile, prepare for the next stage in life. Unless you are in an abusive relationship, Ms. Bihm suggests becoming financially independent (without support) from your spouse, assessing how single parenting and co-parenting with your ex will be, and seeking legal counsel before proceeding.“You shouldn’t jump without having some idea where you might land,” she adds.

That's sound advice for everyone. 

www.bihmfirm.com

“When parties don’t work together on their finances or when the parties are not aligned on how finances should be managed, resentment often drives a wedge between the parties that cannot be overcome.” says family law attorney Kate Bihm.