Gay Marriage, Gay Divorce, Straight Marriage, Straight DivorceJune 25, 2011 4:48 pm Comments Off on Gay Marriage, Gay Divorce, Straight Marriage, Straight Divorce
Gay Marriage, gay divorce. Straight marriage, straight divorce. Here are my random thoughts.
1. CNN is a-buzz today about gay marriage in NY. But, all I can think of is the mess that the NY courts are in and the dysfunctional way they look at divorce. Now, they will have both gay and straight couples trapped in their divorce web.
2. Sadly, because the right to marry was withheld for so long and felt so unattainable, now that marriage is a legal option, some gay people will run to the alter like starvation dieters ready for the binge. And, rushing marriage is usually a recipe for ending up in the quick sand of the divorce maze.
3. Gay or straight, if you are about to enter into marriage please consider creating a pre-nuptial agreement or Marriage Pact with your partner. The exercise of creating an agreement provides benefits beyond legal protection or divorce planning. A pre-nuptial agreement or Marriage Pact will clarify expectations and give you information about how you are going to handle issues in the future. Now should be the time you work best together so if you cannot sit down and create an agreement it is a BIG red flag.
4. I recently saw an on-line discussion about the reasons people get divorced. The question asked was “What’s the KEY reason for divorce?” The questioner then proposed “communication problems, infidelity, falling out of love/no more chemistry, drifting apart, stuck and not sure what else to do, incompatibility, resignation or gave up, sexual issues, and none of the above.” While I often point to mismatch, unmet expectations, addiction, and lack of team-playing as the cause of a divorce I believe that the underlying reason marriages end is that they are not safe havens. Couples who criticize instead of soothe one another are on a divorce track. Couples who know how to support one another have kid, money, sex, in-law, and chore problems also. But, they know how to work through them.
5. “Fault” laws dont cut down on divorce. But, they do make divorces much uglier. On the other hand, I do like waiting periods for both divorce and for marriage. However, as I see it the only way to cut down on divorces is to make it harder to get married. If couples had to go through something like the Amazing Race TV show a lot of people would think twice before becoming legally bound.
6. John Gottman – the guru of marriage survival – says “there are four major emotional reactions that are destructive to a marriage: defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism, and contempt….” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gottman. These are the behaviors that eat away at the connection/the bond.
7. My friend Penny says marriages end because people change and expectations change. I would add purpose to this equation – especially in long-term marriages. A couple comes together with a purpose in mind. They accomplish that purpose (or not) and then they must find a new purpose or their marriage becomes stale.
8. Legalizing gay marriage is going to create a lot more work for divorce professionals. There is no one-size-fits-all process for couples transitioning through divorce. If you are a divorce service professional, a lawyer, or a mediator and you want to expand or launch your practice into the ProSe/PreSuit (self-represented parties) market take a look at our training program – Friendly Divorce Training