If you want to know why marriages divide apart, and what it looks like when they do, speak to a divorce lawyer. Better yet, browse a book by a divorce lawyer regarding why people divorce.
Through the course of our conversation, I asked Sexton why people end up in his place of work, what information he has for people having difficulties in their marriages, why he calls Facebook an “infidelity-generating machine,” and exactly why he’s still a romantic after all these years.
Exactly what are the most common reasons people end up in your office?
They come in for large motives like infidelity or financial improprieties. But from my viewpoint, these large reasons have their origins in a sequence of lesser decisions that people make that bring them further and further away from each other, so much that those little issues no longer feel quite so tiny. Everybody, when they get married, begins off with the exact same destination in mind. We want to live happily ever after. No one ever gets married along with the objective of getting unmarried.
In Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of in the Vanities one of the figures is talking about how he went economically bankrupt and one of the other figures states, “Tim, how did you go bankrupt?” He mentioned, “Well, my partner and I went bankrupt the method that everyone does, very slowly and then all at once.” I believe that’s how relationships end. Fairly slowly and then all at once. There are lots of small things that take place and then the overflow comes, then the huge issues happen. The question is, can we stop the small things that take us further away from each other prior to it’s too late?
What’s your counseling to members who are considering about getting married?
Take it seriously. The most basic information that I give to people is to look at it like the purchase of a vehicle, simply because I believe, occasionally, people give more thought to the buying of a vehicle than they do to the choice to get married.
If I mentioned to the average person, “What vehicle do you really want? If you could have whatever vehicle in the planet, just what vehicle do you really want?” Most people would say, “I want a Lamborghini. I want a Ferrari.” But if I mentioned to them, “Well, this vehicle that you select is going to be the exclusive car you can have for the remainder of your life,” you have to change the evaluation, right? Because the automobile you really want in your twenties and the automobile you desire in your 30s when you’ve got a couple of kids is very different.
So you’d need to accept something that suits every part of your existence. You’d have to select one thing that was kind of fun and alluring enough to see you throughout your twenties but practical enough to handle when you have children. I think it is the exact same when selecting a partner.
At the risk of sounding unromantic, I believe that you need to look at a person and say, “Okay, is this a person who is going to make sense at all different stages of this process? Because my personal life is going to change. I’m going to change. What’s crucial to me is going to change. Is this a person who can improve with me so that we end up [moving] in the exact same direction? Or is this somebody that makes sense for me at this phase and may not in the forthcoming future?”
That is the very first thing. The second subject is to ask yourself the question: “What is the problem to which marriage is the solution for myself?” Whenever someone attempts to sell something to me, regardless of whether it is a cellular phone or a new app, I ask myself, “What is the issue this is seeking to solve?” So, if you express to me, “Oh, I’ve got this application that lets you order guacamole online,” well, is that a issue my partner and I really have? I believe that people often assume marriage is a practical thing to do without having even asking themselves this question.