It seems like Hollywood divorces make headlines everyday. On the flip side, some celebrity couples do make a go of it – many for decades. Just look at Tinseltown marriage veterans Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, and Sting and Trudie Styler.
So why are these Hollywood marriages still going strong? Many of the couples took time to get to know each other before marrying, and they probably work hard to maintain healthy relationships both as couples and parents.
The same holds true for couples that live happily ever after away from the spotlight. It doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity couple living in Hollywood or a traditional couple raising a family in Highland Park. While there are always exceptions, couples typically have enduring marriages for several common reasons, whether they are famous or not.
No. 1: They wait to get married until they are older.
As divorce attorneys, we regularly see clients who were high school or college sweethearts who didn’t really date anyone else. After a couple of years they start to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, or their priorities have changed. Couples who date other people before settling on a mate are more likely to understand that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
No. 2: They don’t marry due to a pregnancy.
If the main reason a couple decides to marry is because the woman is pregnant, divorce may be looming around the corner. Starting a marriage as new parents can be difficult, especially if the couple hasn’t spent time getting to know each other, or they don’t really love each other.
No. 3: They don’t let in-laws interfere with their relationship.
It’s important for couples to tell parents to stay out of their business, or suggest the parents go to in-law premarital counseling where they will learn to mind their own business. The sooner a couple’s in-laws know their place, the less likely their marriage will suffer.
No. 4: They are upfront about their desired spousal roles.
I always say, hold true to the deal you strike. For example, if a wife tells her spouse she wants to work outside the home versus stay home with the kids (or vice versa), then changes positions after getting married, that might be too big of a hurdle for the husband to overcome. Couples need to be honest up front.
No. 5: They don’t abuse alcohol or drugs.
Substance abuse tears families apart. If either spouse (or both) is battling substance abuse, they need to address addiction problems head on. Abusing alcohol or drugs is one of the most common reasons people divorce.
No. 6: They seek help for mental health issues.
As with No. 5, if either spouse is struggling with mental health issues, the couple’s marriage will face challenges. Seeking guidance from a mental health professional can help a spouse cope psychological issues before they spiral out of control.
No. 7: They don’t cheat.
It’s no secret, cheating is one of the biggest reasons people get divorced. Adultery is typically a sign of a much deeper problem. Couples that want to stay married, need to address the issues in the marriage before straying.
No. 8: They don’t marry the mistress.
Unfaithful spouses who plan to marry the person with whom they had an affair – need to be wary. Think about it. If the mistress slept with a married person in the past, why wouldn’t she do it again?
No. 9: They talk about financial issues openly.
When a couple’s finances aren’t transparent, their relationship usually isn’t either. Financial surprises can erode trust and breed resentment. Future spouses should take time to understand each person’s financial goals and expectations while negotiating a premarital agreement.
No. 10: They schedule regular date nights.
It’s important to keep romance alive in a marriage, especially after children enter the picture. Couples should try to commit to date night at least once a week to focus on one another and also agree to avoid topics pertaining to the kids.” Which leads us to …
No. 11: They don’t get lost in the kids.
Couples who exclusively trade their identity as “husband and wife” for “mom and dad” often struggle once they become empty nesters. Instead, couples should focus on the fact that it will be just the two of them after children leave the nest. Plus, setting a good example both as a couple AND as parents can help establish a solid bedrock for children.
No. 12: They work hard to maintain intimacy.
Does your living situation feel more like a roommate arrangement than a marriage? Couples that skip too many date nights, start sleeping in different rooms and allow intimacy to fade away, put their marriages jeopardy. While most relationships are cyclical in the intimacy department, we often see people file for divorce when one of the partners craves more intimacy than the other.
Honesty, open communication and ‘working at it’ are key
Whether you’re a celebrity or not, being married isn’t easy – it takes work. If you want to avoid a divorce, start your marriage on the right foot; communicate openly about your goals and faults; and seek professional help at the first sign of trouble. And if issues in your marriage are too big to overcome, reach out to an experienced divorce attorney for advice.
Since founding Connatser Family Law in 2013, Aubrey Connatser and her team have firmly established the next in a line of great Texas divorce and family law firms. To learn more about divorce and child custody in Dallas and Collin Counties, please call (214) 617-1583 to speak confidentially with a knowledgeable and compassionate member of the Connatser Family Law team.