As we get closer to Valentine’s Day — which can be a particularly trying time for anyone who’s experienced or experiencing divorce — we’re reminded of an opinion piece from NBC News’ Meagan Francis two Valentine’s Days ago. In her excellent article, she called attention to a number of articles around this time of year that dole out relationship advice implying that all you have to do is put a little effort into your relationship to salvage it.
She was looking at articles like Redbook’s “40 Ways to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage,” which does produce some good advice, to its credit, but in her view, sends a totally harmful message to people who weren’t able to make their marriages work out. As she wrote,
The notion that there was some way I could have “divorce-proofed” my marriage if I had just followed a 12-step program or we had worked harder at romance via date nights and weekend getaways demeans the work we did as a couple — not to mention, it hypersimplifies the complicated dance of living in a partnership with another human being. Worse, it projects a sense of blame — and shame — on those of us who’ve decided to end a marriage, as if we just were too lazy to do our homework and study.
She also went on to note,
Encouraging people to stay in struggling marriages for the wrong reasons is not the best thing for any of the people involved, and leaving a marriage is hard enough without the addition of social pressure and reproach.
The idea that people can “divorce-proof” their marriages through will, effort, and a strategy gleaned from a popular women’s magazine can indeed be harmful. That’s not to say that it’s completely off base for some struggling couples to reconnect with effort. But Francis’ point is that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for all marriages.
There might be some issues where communication or connection won’t be able to fix it — substance abuse is just one that comes immediately to mind. Or, it could simply be that the two people in the marriage would be happier by themselves, and divorce enables them to do that. (It’s also possible for a divorcing couple to transition into a friendship; we’ve certainly seen it before.)
If you’re thinking about divorce at a time of year where a lot of people are thinking about love, know that you’re not alone, and know that you can talk to someone at the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance about it. At your initial consultation, we can talk about what you need to settle your divorce, as well as how to best go about it. While it’s hard to come to the point where you’ve decided on divorce, we can help you do what you need to do to get past it and focus on a happier post-divorce life.