Since it is Valentine’s Day, I am sharing what I have learned about marriage from being a divorce lawyer. Every marriage is unique so not all of these insights will apply to all marriages.
1. Before marrying, ask yourself the hard questions: Can I live with his or her weaknesses? Can he or she live with my weaknesses? Are we marrying just because we are expecting a child? Would I marry him or her even if we never have children? If children are a must for you, does your significant other feel the same way, including on what to do if you two cannot conceive (IVF, surrogacy, adoption etc.)? Will he or she be “enough” for me? Be honest with yourself and with your significant other.
2. Be adaptable. Marriages and the people in them will not remain static forever. Children may join your family, you will both get older, interests may change, careers may change, and health will change. If at all possible, be supportive of these evolutions.
3. Mental or emotional conditions. Depression can expresses itself as an anger problem or an addiction. The stigma of mental health conditions is lifting. Just like diabetes or any other medical condition, some mental health conditions may require antidepressants or professional treatment.
4. Learn to fight in an nondestructive way. Ban name calling and use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Take turns listening and respect what your spouse is saying even if you do not fully agree. Look for opportunities to compromise.