Believe it or not, even as divorce attorneys, when we meet with people who want information about worse case scenarios if a separation occurs, those folks still want their marriage to work. They seek legal advice to protect themselves, but they really don’t want to be in our offices. So, we get ready to ring in 2015, here are some tips we have compiled to help if you feel your marriage could be stronger:
1. Make time for you as a couple. Make arrangements for the kids and then go to the movies, out for dinner, for a walk, etc. Too often we get consumed with the pressures and commitments of work, shuttling the kids to activities, etc. Time out for you is important.
2. Appreciate what you each bring to the relationship, even when it is different from your spouse. The ying and yang of a couple can make a dynamic system.
3. Know your household finances and talk about financial goals. One of the most common stressors in a marriage is money. Understanding what you each make, how it is used for expenses, what is being saved, what your long term future may look like helps you each feel like you have a part to play.
4. Make time for you. Yes, you. We all have lots of responsibilities with jobs (inside and outside the household), other family members, etc. Having time for yourself to recharge makes you better.
5. Seek counseling. Marriage is hard work; raising kids is hard work; balancing everything in life is hard work. It’s ok if you need to have others help you. Be sure if you need counseling to find the right person and the right speciality (individual counseling, marriage counseling, co-parenting counseling are three distinct areas and professionals in these areas have distinct training; it is not necessarily an all-in-one approach so do your research).
6. Know your rights as a spouse and as a parent. So many resources are available on line, through friends, etc. on what you should do, can do, shouldn’t do, can’t do if your marriage is in trouble. If you get to that stage, seek advice through qualified, experienced professionals including family law attorneys.