CONCILIĀRE:
A DIVORCE ATTORNEY'S TAKE
ON PRESERVING MARITAL UNITY

Lori R. Holyfield Attorney at Law

An Advocate Through Life's Transitions

Finding Your Worth

As you may know, the usual subject of this blog is how to avoid ending up in the office of your trusty divorce attorney (namely, me).  I don't know that this post is really specific to preventing divorce or not, but what I'm seeing a lot of lately is clients - female clients, mostly - coming into my office and regurgitating whatever bad things their spouses say about them, as though it's automatically true.  This is a mostly, but not exclusively, female problem.  Although I'm primarily addressing the fairer sex in this post, the principle applies equally to everyone.  

Ladies, your husband does not define who you are.  If he calls you names, that's because he's a jerk, not because you deserve it.  If he tells you you're fat or ugly or stupid, he's abusing his emotional power in your life.  

A lot of the relationships that wind up in "Lori, he will tell you that I'm not a good mother because when my 10 year old was born, I had postpartum depression, and I'm weak" (Lady, are you kidding me?  That was 10 years ago and if you survived it, you are strong!) are relationships that started unhealthy - for instance, in codependency.  

To have a healthy relationship, you need to be a healthy person yourself.  You have to have found your own worth within yourself and outside of what others (including your spouse) say about you.  

Look, I'm not saying it's wrong to enjoy it when your partner says good things about you.  That's human nature.  What I *am* saying is that you shouldn't be dependent on another person's feelings or opinions about you as the sole or primary source of your self-esteem.  It creates an untenable power imbalance even when your partner *isn't* manipulative or abusive.  Healthy marriages happen between equal partners.  

The best way to prevent a relational power imbalance is learning to love yourself before you commit.  We've all had friends who jump from partner to partner in a constant state of rebound.  They can't stand to be single because they have a bottomless need for external validation.  If you can find a way to be happy with single-you or you-as-an-independent-unit, then you-in-a-relationship will be happier, healthier, and more likely to stay committed to your partner.  

 "Love your neighbor as yourself" is a two-way street.  Some struggle with loving their neighbors, while others struggle with loving themselves.  How do you start to make a change?  

Well, there's no shame in working on YOU - through a counselor or otherwise - to create a more successful US.  I'm a mom and I often find it hard to do things for me, but like the whole "apply your own oxygen mask first" thing, sometimes a little self-concern is in order for everyone's sake.  But aside from "us," "you" deserve that degree of wellness all on your own.  Everyone does.  

Step out and work on loving yourself.  I'm sure you're wonderful and beautiful and smart and loving.  Go discover that for yourself.  I wish you the best on the journey!  You're worth it!

(Image Credit)

Premarital Counseling May Get You a Discount on Your Marriage License

Did you know studies suggest that undergoing premarital counseling can reduce your risk of divorce by approximately one-third?  Also, in the State of Tennessee, engaged couples who go through at least 4 hours of premarital counseling are entitled to a $60.00 discount on their marriage license fee.  Most counties charge approximately $100 for a marriage license, so this is a substantial discount.

Premarital counseling, also known as marriage and relationship education, may include instruction about conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child-rearing, parenting responsibilities, and other common sources of marital issues. 

You do not need to be experiencing relationship problems in order to benefit from premarital counseling.  Think of it as preventive maintenance, like an oil change, tire rotation, a yearly physical at the doctor's office, or buckling your seatbelt before going on a ride.  It is an opportunity for a relationship tune-up before you take the plunge.  With divorce rates as high as they are, why not do everything you can to increase your chances of making it work?

People who are qualified to perform the type of premarital counseling that will get you a discount include psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, clinical pastoral therapists, professional counselors, psychological examiners, and religious ministers.

 

Lori R. Holyfield focuses her practice in divorce and family law and serves Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette Counties in southwest Tennessee.

Find Lori R. Holyfield on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Avvo

Legal information posted or made available by Ms. Holyfield on or through this website is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between any individual or entity and any attorney, including Ms. Holyfield. Such Legal Information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. It is not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely upon such Legal Information.

Certifications of Specialization are available to Tennessee lawyers in all areas of practice relating to or included in the areas of Civil Trial, Criminal Trial, Business Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Creditor's Rights, Medical Malpractice, Legal Malpractice, Accounting Malpractice, Elder Law, Estate Planning and Family Law. Listing of related or included practice areas herein does not constitute or imply a representation of certification of specialization. (This disclosure is required by the Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys.)