Tips to Avoid Divorce… Or At Least Decrease Your Chances of It
For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend isn’t just about backyard barbecues or an excuse to get blitzed in an all night flip cup marathon on a Sunday night. It also means NBA playoffs are in full swing. Like death and taxes during the rest of the year; you best believe this weekend means Stephen A. Smith using even more vocabulary words you’ve never heard of, outrageously abbreviated court side interviews with Coach Pop, and a spike in haterade consumption when it comes to Bron-Bron, DWade and Bostrich. Wtf does this have to do with divorce, you ask? Keep it in the tub, Bub. Like Phil did with Kobe and MJ, I am here to show you the way to hopefully avoid divorce.
Even if it’s your first rodeo, I’m willing to bet you have some working knowledge of the trifecta that is the NBA/NFL/MLB. In today’s world of 24/7 news and social media, people are now linked more than ever to the wide world of sports; exposing the Average Joe and Jane to the personal lives of competitors in the once obscure fields of soccer, mixed martial arts and golf. I mean, really…do you think anyone ever gave a second thought to who Freddy Couples was fraternizing with off the green?! Fast forward a couple of decades, throw in a dash of fairy tale romance and a hot girl with pink hair combined with a philandering (albeit vanguard) predecessor with a nasty divorce under his belt and the PGA’s young stud Rory McIlroy is suddenly a topic of interest.
As a society, we have become emotionally invested in celebrities and athletes and thereby intrigued by their romantic escapades. Even if you have taken a Buddhist vow of non-judgment, you are bound to feel some type of way about Ochocinco’s domestic violence dispute/fly by night divorce or Jennifer Anniston’s perpetual state of singledom (rock on her finger or not, can we see the girl in a wedding dress already?!). Although many of these scenarios are unfortunate, there are some that result in happy endings and there is always a lesson to be learned through watching other’s successes and/or mistakes. Two interesting events that have Twitter and TMZ buzzing as of late are the breakup of golf phenom Rory McIlroy and his fiance and, on the other end of the spectrum, George Clooney’s decision to finally take the plunge into wedded bliss. Yet, as seemingly opposite as these happenings may seem, they actually both teach the same lesson: how to decrease your chances of divorce.
If you were the kid sleeping in the back of high school English class, do yourself a favor and take a quick peruse of Polonius’s advice to his son, Laertes, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. While the whole speech is pretty on point, the highlight comes with his simple words of wisdom ‘above all, to thine own self be true.’ Those of us who came up in the 80s or after are a fortunate lot. The natural progression from young adulthood to settling down is a gap that has widened with time, allowing us the luxury of truly figuring out who we are before getting hitched. As a divorce attorney, perhaps the greatest issue I see leading to the breakdown of a marriage is not that one person has changed; but instead that one or both people finally came into their own and realized that their once perfect match wasn’t reflective of who they truly are. That’s the funny thing about life, people rarely change… but it is certain that they will evolve.
In all actuality, instead of viewing McIlroy’s decision to end his relationship with his fiance days after their wedding invites went out as a tragedy; it should be seen as a commendable triumph. McIlroy is 25 years old and his fiance 23 and they had been dating since 2011, when the former was 21 and his sweetheart 19. When I was 19, I was dating a guy that looked like he jumped off the pages of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog; in essence, any college girl’s dream. I specifically remember a conversation we had about how much I was enjoying the book I had just finished, Anna Karenina. In response to his complete look of bewilderment, I offered “you know, by Tolstoy, the writer who authored War and Peace” to which he replied (no joke) “Who’s Warren Peace?” The point is, much like McIlroy’s decision, George Clooney’s display of maturity in waiting until he found a woman who knows who she is and whose interests are in line with his own should be equally applauded. Because, lord knows, if I had become the equivalent of Mrs. Peter Griffin, I’d certainly be checking the divorced box by the time I filled out my law school application.
If You Can’t Avoid Divorce, At Least Avoid Divorce Mistakes
The point is, if you want to decrease your chances of ending up in a long, protracted battle over a box of unused kitchen utensils neither you or your intended soul mate ever cared about prior to divorce papers being served, don’t get married until you know exactly who you are. The truth of the matter is, the things you decided to ignore or gloss over about your bride or groom on your wedding day are inevitably the things that will lead to you call it quits. And only with the confidence of knowing who you truly are can give you the strength and insight to know that something just ain’t right. Of course, compromise is imperative. But, in the same vein, everyone has certain wants or desires that should never be compromised and only you can determine what those are as they apply to you. Only when you have determined your own happiness can you be happy with another, so if you want to avoid divorce work on yourself first. As Khalil Gibran said in The Prophet, stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.