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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


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