In Jane Brody's recent New York Times article (January 14, 2013), That Loving Feeling Takes A Lot of Work, she explores the concept that many marriages fail (or in her words, "wither and die" from a lack of effort). Her research walks the reader down the aisle of matrimony and "not so" wedded bliss only to arrive at the altar of unhappiness.
Keeping love alive takes work, it goes beyond infatuation and the thrilling reminder of a first kiss. It requires compatibility, a willingness to listen and be heard, respect and affection, all of which represent only some of the necessary ingredients for a successful union. The article is thought provoking and it awakens the reader to the intricacies of human connection and longevity.
When asked what type of law I practice, I respond "I am an Associate in a Family law practice" many people do not understand my answer. "Oh, you mean divorce," they reply. I go on to explain the nature of my profession. A family law practice does include representing one spouse in a divorce. It also encompasses a broad range of other issues relative to family law; grandparents' rights, domestic abuse, custody issues, adoptions, same sex marriage, to name a sampling.
So, what does an attorney who deals with family issues in the context of the law have to say about loving feelings and the creation of happy and long lasting unions? Communicate.
We live in a society where half of all marriages result in divorce and although, as Ms. Brody points out, people do not walk down the aisle thinking "if things don't work out, we can always split", in a significant number of cases that is exactly what occurs. I believe that the break up of a marriage presents an opportunity for those involved. Although a couple, whom in many instances are also parents, can no longer live together that does not mean they are unable to open new lines of communication. Just as individuals come together, with the best of intentions, they can move apart with them as well.
As a result of this belief, I see my clients as part of a unit, even if that unit is destined to take on a new form. The elements of mutual consideration and the ability to exchange ideas may have been lacking during the marriage, yet there is still an element of basic human communication that can survive its undoing.