Things learned about marriage from a friend's divorce
Written by Michelle Ogborne

Things learned about marriage from a friend’s divorce

Maybe you’re the one who set up your friends. Or, you stood up at their wedding, watching as their love story began. Over the years, you may have been the shoulder to lean on when your friends were going through hard times. Those are only a few of the reasons why watching a marriage lead to a friend’s divorce can be difficult.

Divorce can be Costly, Painful and Time-Consuming

Liz and Will had what seemed like an idyllic marriage. That is until Liz discovered that Will had a gambling issue and it had a huge impact on the family’s financial security. Liz confided to her friends about the stress, fights and her constant worry over making ends meet. For her sanity and the children’s financial security, she chose to file for divorce.

Liz’s divorce was messy and long. Will was apologetic but embarrassed. Conversations got heated in the courtroom when he was repeatedly questioned about his gambling habits. It put him on the spot, humiliated him and made him defensive. He began to fight over things Liz thought they had already discussed and resolved. The longer their courtroom battle dragged on, the higher the pile of attorney bills grew.

Divorce can be Less Expensive, Less Stressful and Faster

Jessica and Dave also appeared to have the perfect marriage. Years later, Dave learned that Jessica had been having an affair with someone at work for the last few years. Jessica admitted that she had fallen in love with someone else. Their marriage was beyond repair.

Although the couple had deep issues to address, they chose to use a collaborative divorce to move forward with their lives as quickly as possible. This process allowed them to keep their conversations out of a courtroom. They worked with a communication coach to improve their skills, which would continue to benefit them as they moved beyond the divorce and into their new roles as co-parents.

Jessica and Dave were able to process things and make decisions together, working with a group of professionals. This calm, supportive environment kept the focus on putting their children’s needs first. Their attorneys helped them see things from all angles before coming to a mutually agreeable outcome.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

Whether it’s your friend’s divorce or your own, the collaborative process can be highly beneficial. It can:

  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Reduce stress
  • Keep the focus on what’s best for your children
  • Create a calmer environment that allows more opportunity for compromise
  • Provide an opportunity to brainstorm creative solutions to fit your unique needs
  • Let each party have professional advocates that can offer pros and cons to each decision

What can you learn from your friend’s divorce?

Watching your friend’s divorce can have lessons for your marriage.

Marriage is a partnership. Both spouses are equally important in a marriage. Both spouses’ behavior has an equal effect on a marriage. It takes compromise, openness and a willingness to work together to create a successful marriage. It also means that you look at the needs of the marriage and family, not just your own. If you are going through a hard time, be honest with your spouse and ask for help.

Be honest, but gentle. You should be able to talk about anything with your spouse. However, timing and presentation is everything. Instead of blurting, “you gamble way too much, and you’re ruining our marriage” find a better way to approach the subject. Maybe try saying, “I’m concerned about our finances. Can you tell me why gambling has become so important? How can we work on this?”

Share your problems before they are out of control. You don’t want to constantly go over every little issue in your marriage. However, taking the time to discuss small problems before they become too big can be helpful. Once you’ve shared your concern, be prepared to talk about ways to resolve it going forward and have patience while each of you makes changes to improve your relationship.

Talking to trusted friends, family or a counselor can help provide neutral insight into your issues. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re struggling. Every relationship goes through difficult times.

Collaborative Divorce Professionals

Sometimes a marriage gets to the point that it’s beyond repair. If you or a friend wants to learn more about collaborative divorce, contact a Best Legal Choices professional today.