Advice in Attempting Reconciliation and Preserving Your Marriage
By Daniel H Moss, Attorney
As an attorney, I see again and again a partner who is close to the threshold for termination of a relationship but who tries to stay “on hold” while the mate enters therapy and “shapes up.” But the relationship is already on the edge of bankruptcy. On too many previous occasions, the offending partner did not take responsibility‑‑”I was too tired, I was too drunk….that’s why I did it.” Inevitably, despite therapy there are one or two more incidents, trivial ones perhaps, but the bucket overflows. The relationship is over.
Among the signs that a relationship is in terminal difficulty are when:
- Respect and trust greatly diminish;
- One or both partners must compromise increasingly to sustain the relationship;
- One or both partners repeatedly assume negative intent on the part of the other;
- The needs of one exceeds the ability of the other to provide;
- There is increasing distance and silence;
- One partner can no longer hear the other;
- Partners are no longer able to complete transactions, i.e., make decisions and execute them (such as choosing a movie and getting to the theater on time);
- Partners are living in the past; the principal bond between them is historical (much as what one sees at high school reunions);
- There is heightened interest in people of the opposite sex;
- There is physical abuse.
If any of these signs are apparent in your marriage, seek professional counseling immediately!
In any attempt at reconciliation, all of the above symptoms, individually or collectively, must be seriously reviewed and discussed by the parties at length. It is strongly recommended that both parties work with a psychologist in attempting to resolve the problems which led to the marital discord. Without the help of competent third party professionals very few reconciliation attempts are successful. The emotional wounds are not cleansed, but rather covered up and will erupt once again.
Among the most common, everyday topics to discuss with your partner are:
- Will you have joint or separate accounts?
- How much will each deposit into the accounts and how often, especially where one spouse is the “breadwinner” and the other the “bread maker”?
- Who will pay the bills and from which monies?
- How much is budgeted to each for clothing, entertainment, allowance, savings, vacations, children’s expenses, groceries, automobiles, etc.
- What about ownership of the home, other real estate, savings funds, ownership of the business, retirement and pension interests, stocks, bonds and other major assets.
2. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
- How does each really feel if the other is out with friends?
- What is expected by the other spouse as to activities which one partner enjoys and the other does not?
3. EVERYDAY LIVING
- Which household responsibilities are each responsible for? Which are to be shared?
- What are the sexual expectations of each partner?
- How does each partner feel about alcohol, other drugs? Their partner’s use?
- How does each partner constructively communicate problems to the other?
- Does either partner play on the other’s “natural” weaknesses?
- What can each spouse do to further mutual respect and security?
If there is any difficulty or hesitation discussing even one of the above topics on the part of either partner and/or receiving a satisfactory response, seek professional counseling immediately!
As an experienced trial attorney and counselor at law, I often work on cases with psychologists and psychiatrists. If the need arises, there are several in whom I have confidence and would freely recommend to you.
In very few instances would I pronounce a marriage relationship terminally over where both partners make a real attempt to save it with professional help. Even after such efforts, you alone must ultimately make your own determination. I am here to counsel you in the legal and practical considerations involved in your choices. Feel free to call upon my services at any time.
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