Six Rules on Marriage and Divorce

Posted on Apr 25 2013 - 10:05am by David J. Singer

Simple Rules on Marriage and Divorce

My wife and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It got me thinking about marriage, and about divorce and the following two lists.

Three elements of a successful marriage:

  • A successful marriage includes two people who realize that there is no such thing as perfection. The sooner you realize the impossibility of perfection, the sooner you can stop looking for it, and realize that, ironically, you and your spouse are perfect for each other. (And I want to be clear that the list of my faults is way longer than a list anyone could make about my wife.)
  • A successful marriage is built around shared values. Having a life partner is wonderful. It also comes with challenges, and a common set of values will help get you through them together.
  • A successful marriage includes two people who are committed to being together. Marriage is not easy. You need to be committed to making it work if you want it to—and it takes effort and hard work to do so. Raising kids is hard work, but you don’t quit. You don’t quit your job just because it’s hard. I’m not talking about abusive relationships. I’m talking about typical marriages. Choose to try to make it work.

Three things that I’ve learned from divorce situations I have been around:

  • There are two sides to every story. I had a friend who, for years, told me about his horrible ex, and I only learned much later that he had distorted and exaggerated his side of the story. That was a big lesson for me. Another friend of mine says about divorce, “There are two sides to every story—and then there’s the truth.”
  • Try to settle peacefully. A divorce lawyer I know was telling me that he urges divorce mediation and a “no fighting” document. If you don’t do that, you get sucked into a negative process because, he explained, “Each side is being told by friends and relatives that the other side is trying to screw them. The kids get hurt, the parents lose money and time, everyone experiences tremendous stress, and the lawyers make a ton of money.”
  • If you are involved in a divorce, please don’t put the kids in the middle. I’m particularly talking about young kids—kids who are still living with their parents. If you plant poison in your kids regarding your ex, your kids will one day realize what happened and will hate what you did, which could have an irreparable impact on your relationship with them. Watch the 30-minute, HBO documentary, Don’t Divorce Me, about divorce and kids. It’s both cute and a bit of a tear-jerker. I jotted down the “rules” that were provided by the kids, ages 5-10, who were interviewed in the film:
  • Don’t put me in the middle
  • Tell your kids what’s going on
  • No telling kids that one parent is better than the other
  • Listen to me
  • Don’t ask me to spy
  • Don’t fight with each other in front of me
  • Respect my feelings
  • Don’t take your anger out on me
  • Don’t make each other cry
  • Don’t talk about money (in front of me)
  • Give us more love than we need
  • Help me say goodbye
  • Try to live close to each other
  • Spend time with us
  • Let us see each parent equally
  • Learn to get along for our sake
  • Be careful when choosing my stepparent
  • Tell us it’s not our fault
  • Don’t make me the messenger
  • Tell me you love me

Happily married couples would do also well to follow these rules! Our children deserve nothing less.

What are your thoughts and experiences on marriage, and on divorce? Join the conversation with your comments…

About the Author

David J. Singer is the author of the popular book Six Simple Rules for a Better Life, available on Amazon. He blogs at www.SixSimpleRules.com. You can like him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SixSimpleRules.

16 comments
quintrent13
quintrent13

These are some good rules on marriage and divorce. That way you know how to keep a marriage working longer and when it is that you need to get help from a divorce attorney. A marriage can go either way and that is why you need to know what it is that you are suppose to do.
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correysmith321
correysmith321

David, great rules on marriage and divorce that you provided. I remember that time when my parents went through that phase. Somehow each one of them had a family lawyer around in helping out with their case. Well, it was something that I was able to learn and adapt at the end. http://johnalegria.com/boise-divorce-lawyer-attorney/ 

HollieTruesdale
HollieTruesdale

A lot of people try to make marriage more complicated than it is and really, the tips are pretty simple for how to have a good marriage. You have to be willing to make it work and not be selfish. Not every marriage works though and sometimes it does end in divorce. Be civil about it. I really liked all the tips from the kids too. I think that documentary would probably make me cry. http://www.robertelong.com/divorce-family-law.html 

Michael2327
Michael2327

These are things that everybody needs to understand. I think what you said in your first tip about a good marriage very important. You said that a good marriage is between two people that understand that there is no such thing as perfection. I think that is very important and once people lose that fact, then that's when the divorce happens. Hopefully this doesn't have to be the result of anybody's marriage. http://www.ny-lawyer.com/divorce/

tedsmith575
tedsmith575

I agree that a successful marriage includes two people who realize that neither one is perfect and that life will not be perfect. In my opinion, a successful marriage is a marriage is one that is able to overcome hard times. It takes work to make a marriage work. Marriage is hard, but it is also very rewarding.
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kelseyhiggins
kelseyhiggins

I love your tip about trying to reach a settlement peacefully. When my sister went through her divorce last year, she and her husband took every opportunity they could to make the divorce horrible for the other person. She was miserable, her ex-husband was miserable, and her kids were miserable. I feel bad that her kids have to go through that! Had they made an agreement from the beginning to resolve things peacefully, I'm sure everybody would have ended up a lot happier. http://www.lonsdalelaw.ca/en/family_and_matrimonial_law.html 

Marcus Morgan
Marcus Morgan

My brother just recently told me that he is going to be getting a divorce. I want to help out as much as possible so I am searching for articles that I can send him to help him through this tough time. I really liked this article and I feel like it will help him out a lot with his divorce http://www.lawyersinarizona.com/divorce--family-faq

sfreddson2156
sfreddson2156

It's always sad when divorce seems to be the only option. Marriage definitely isn't easy, but it's important to know when to draw the line between difficult and destructive. Sometimes the split really is what is best for the kids. Thanks for sharing these tips with us. http://www.kalamarides.com/services

avalaurie86
avalaurie86

There is always w way to handle divorce in a very mutual way. Trying to get the most out of it can a lot of times result in getting less than an even a settlement. Make sure that you are letting the kids know that everything is going to work out and it will work out to the point where they don't have to worry and it will.  http://www.donaldaaron.com/Areas-of-Practice/Family-Law/Custody.aspx

JordanJohnson2
JordanJohnson2

Your tips to divorcing persons is full of good advice. If I were you, I would hate it when clients attempt to put you in the middle of things. Your job, after all, is to take care of the legal side of things, not to become a a pivotal component of your client's personal life.  http://www.andruckimitchell.com

JaxWillis23
JaxWillis23

Divorce definitely can be really difficult to go through. I know that I have seen some really bad divorces over the years. I think it's important to do whatever you can to keep that from happening. A divorce doesn't have to be bad. It's only going to be inherently bad if the two people getting divorced don't do the things they should to make it easy. If more people followed these tips, it would make things easier for everyone involved.

http://www.bortslaw.com/family-law/divorce/ 

James Lisbon
James Lisbon

David, the information in the article seems interesting.  I liked the part where you mentioned that most divorce lawyers try to encourage a peaceful solution to these cases.   Our neighbors unfortunately went through a divorce not too long ago.   It would be interesting to see the steps they took to handle the situation. http://sheffronlawfirm.net/practice_areas/divorce 

bryanflake1984
bryanflake1984

My wife and I are on our way to divorce.  Amazingly enough we both feel very positive about it.  We just need to find attorney's that can work things out for us, as far as division of assets goes.  We don't know how to value our possessions and so forth.

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