Like most websites we use cookies to improve your experience and provide us with anonymous visitor information. If you are happy with this use of cookies click OK.
Read more about our use of cookies and how you can switch off cookies in our Privacy Policy. [x] Close

Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

A little more honesty in the wedding vows


A fellow blogger made the interesting point recently that “a divorce is just like a wedding, only more honest”. Does that then mean that lawyers should be viewed in a better light than ministers?! No, I doubt it either.

It does make you think though. Should the (traditional, stereotypical) wedding vows be amended to read “love, honour, obey and be honest”?

Individuals do get swept up in the whole romance of getting married. For some – and I am not saying it is a huge proportion – the sounds of church bells and Champagne glasses chinking drown out the nagging internal voice pointing out a partner’s sickening taste in clothes and singing “There may be trouble ahead” over and over.

At the point of marriage, some people choose to ignore these things. At the point of divorce – or at some point not long before proceedings are started – these points become the driving force for a change in life direction. And at this point, a person is more than happy to be open and honest.

As the managing partner of a family law practice, for some time I have been talking-up the merits of pre-marriage guidance, or counseling. By a couple having sessions before walking down the aisle, they can constructively look at things like how to argue properly. Sounds unusual. It’s meant to, but it can work and stop couples teetering on the brink of break-up after their first argument. To these sessions could be added a discussion about “what annoys you about your wife/husband” to be. It could be light-hearted. It could be taken the wrong way. Either way, it could encourage couples to be honest and get niggles out in the open to start with, which is a time when either their relationship is at its strongest and they can deal with them, or else they will reveal fatal flaws in the affair.

There is so much importance heaped on a wedding day that simple things like being honest get trampled underfoot in the rush to grab the bride’s bouquet rather than playing an integral party in the “happiest day”. If basic values like telling the truth aren’t there on the wedding day, what hope is there for the future of the relationship?

Andrew Woolley
Divorce lawyer


Loading comments...

I think the idea of some form of pre marriage help is a great idea. I too get the feeling that the focus nowadays is often more on the wedding than the marriage. As a personal success coach I would suggest coaching as opposed to counselling as coaching is very much forward focussed and action oriented.
  In my opinion, not only is honesty vital in any relationship but also great communication. Communication is a two way street and effective communication is as much about listening as it is speaking - and when we do speak we must know how to do it in a way that enables us to be heard and understood. In my work I help people learn to communicate effectively in all areas. Everyone has their own preferred ‘representational system’ for communication and use language specific to their preference. On top of this, lets remember that as much as we may protest - men and women are different species! To communicate effectively it really does help to learn each others language.

By Kay Gill on Sunday July 18, 2010

Andrew, I agree there should be pre-marriage counselling, however so often the couple is either in denial or too emotionally caught up in the grandeur of a wedding to objectively view the relationship. I believe there should be more positive personal development starting in the younger years, junior high at least. Unless a person holds them self in high self esteem they will “settle” for less than they should and eventually will become dissatisfied. Having clarity, honesty and being committed to working towards a strong relationship is essential, and needs to have both parties participating. I advised my children to get very clear and specific on their own personal needs, wants and desires, and what they are willing to compromise on, BEFORE even considering a relationship, much less a wedding….

By Wendy Mackay on Sunday July 18, 2010

This is a fabulous idea. In 1981 the Catholic Church had just implemented a mandatory class for couples asking to be married. I did so with a groan, but it turned out to be amazingly accurate. We each were asked several hundred questions, and it gave us a chance to clearly see our differences and discuss them. THe marriage lasted 25 years becuase, of course, we grew and our answers had changed. It is good to go into it with open eyes and then require “CEU’s” to keep that marriage honest, communicating and passionate! We see a lot of this via our website…

By Joni James on Wednesday July 21, 2010

What do you think?

Have your say



Receive your FREE guide

Your free guide will be available to download immediately and a copy sent by email. Your email address will not be used to send any further correspondence without your permission.