25 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage (and Divorce)

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  1. Don’t feel like you have to get married.
  2. Don’t get married when you’re 20–or younger. There’s a reason why the onset of adulthood is considered to be 21.
  3. Like your spouse as much as–or more than– you love him.
  4. Be trained for some kind of well-paying career so that you have that to fall back on in case of divorce or the death of your spouse.
  5. Become comfortable with your own sexuality. Seek mutual satisfaction. You’ll become resentful if it doesn’t go both ways. Then you won’t want to make love and your sex life will suffer.
  6. Realize that sex can grease the wheels but it doesn’t run the engine.
  7. Don’t let your spouse control your marriage, your finances, your social life, your sexuality, how you practice your religion, what you say, what you wear and how you raise your children (if you’re in a blended family). And don’t try to control the same things for your spouse.
  8. Don’t let resentments build up. Don’t be afraid to air them out.
  9. Share all financial information and financial decision-making.
  10. Each spouse needs some kind of life insurance when there are significant liabilities (like a house or children). This is even if you’re a stay-at-home-mom, because your husband will need help raising the kids.
  11. Have some interests in common, but make sure you have your own as well.
  12. Take time for yourself and grant him the same.
  13. Don’t push each other into roles. Look for new ways to make your marriage work.
  14. Listen to the counsel of others but don’t let them talk you into feeling things that you don’t feel.
  15. Allow each other to have feelings and thoughts of his or her own. Don’t force the issue if there are things they want to keep to themselves. It probably has nothing to do with you.
  16. When and if things do start going bad, talk about it. Make it clear how unhappy you are.
  17. Don’t jump at the idea of divorce, but don’t be afraid of it either. You can get through it.
  18. Seek counseling but make sure you’re open to reconciliation or it’s pointless.
  19. Compromise as much as possible in the divorce. Bad feelings can last forever, especially if there are children.
  20. Once you’re divorced, try to stay out of court if possible.
  21. Fight for your children if necessary. Get child support but don’t expect the court system to solve all your problems. You need to be able to support your children without it.
  22. Expect your spouse to resent having to pay child support.
  23. Don’t deny visitation. Your children need to have a relationship with their other parent no matter what.
  24. Try to maintain ties with his side of the family if there are children. They need their grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, too.
  25. Get on with your life, but don’t regret the past. It will always be a part of you.

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

2 thoughts on “25 Things I’ve Learned About Marriage (and Divorce)”

  1. What happened to the post I left? I have no clue. Anyway, each point you make is an excellent chapter title – think of the book you can write! :)
    suZen

  2. Now that you have your 25 chapter ideas – go for it!
    You know you could write a book! I still think that survey you did needs to come out of the drawer and be something!
    suZen

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