March 27, 2017

What 1,000 Divorces Taught This Lawyer About Marriage

What 1,000 Divorces Taught This Lawyer About Marriage

Being a divorce lawyer was not always easy on my relationships or me. In fact, it tested me more than I ever expected. Out of the process, I found myself left with unexpected insights about relationship health. Here are some universal truths about love that I picked up in divorce court.

Your complaints are probably symptoms of a deeper issue.

Two common patterns become very clear in a divorce. First, we humans repeat our complaints over and over regardless of our circumstances. It’s as if the complaints themselves give us comfort and meaning, and the actual facts are secondary. I see this frequently play itself out in political conversations. And we see it in our personal relationships. For example: “I’m the one who does all the work around here,” or “You just don’t respect me.” The complaints remain the same; only the circumstances change.

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Second, from one person to the next, we see that people have completely different reactions to the exact same circumstances. “One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure,” as the saying goes. To one person, infidelity is a disaster; to another, it’s a hiccup, for instance.

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When these two patterns meet, what becomes clear is that our complaints are not rooted in our circumstances, but in something much deeper and older. The psychological community often talks about this in terms of old wounds from childhood. We all have unresolved fears and traumas from childhood, and the behavior patterns those traumas create play out in our daily adult lives. Therapy helps us recognize and deconstruct those patterns so we gain a measure of freedom from them. You might also take a spiritual perspective and think of these patterns as karma. Read more 

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