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TRUE ROMANCE

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From February 2010, Sophisticated Woman Magazine - I AM FINALLY reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and enjoying it more than I recall the classic version I read in high school. What strikes me is the attitude to love and marriage. Marriage was more of an arrangement dictated by class. Actual "affection" for your betrothed was a bonus. Otherwise,marriage was a practical affair. Quite different from the way our culture often views marriage today. 

As a divorce attorney, I hear many men and women, who are considering divorce, speak about not loving their spouse as the motivation for divorce. I am always struck by the reasoning, "I just don't love him (her) anymore," because it conflicts with my core belief that love is an action. Love is not merely an emotion. Love is a choice, or series of small choices, daily. I don't judge this comment at all though, because it is so difficult to explain why you are estranged from your spouse in an hour consult. In today's branding market, each person must come up with an elevator excuse for the discord. How do I explain the unhappiness of my marriage, of perhaps many years, in 15 seconds? "He doesn't understand me." "She has a drinking problem." "We don't get along." The divorce is the action and the explanation is how we make sense of it. (I am not talking here about divorces motivated by a devastating specific action like physical abuse or infidelity).

From personal experience, in my own marriage, when things are rough, by the time I do enough mental gyrations to get to
a place where I start thinking divorce might be the better option, I step back and think, "What if I am just making all this up and what if I had a different perspective? Would the same facts support a different interpretation?" All relationships are phasic, cyclical. What if I just take some different action, make some requests, illicit some commitments and see what happens? So far, this strategy has worked for me; however, not in a vacuum. Primarily, in my experience, both parties need to be committed to the concept of marriage and have a willingness to be open or change.

Now, while I am a counselor of law, I am not degreed in psychology or sociology; however, I do work intimately with people during their worst times and, coupled with my own experience and learning, I have made a few observations I hope make you reflect as you celebrate this Valentine's Day.

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