Getting Close/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on July 9, 2013


One of the creative political commentators over the decades is a gentleman by the name of Norman Ornstein. Mr. Ornstein recently suggested, tongue-in-cheek that he had a suggestion to break the gridlock in Washington. Why not build multiple housing units in view of the Congress and require the legislators to live there when they are in Washington. It is hard to be contrary with a neighbor that you will see virtually daily, in a home setting.

While the housing project of Mr. Ornstein will likely never be built, his point is well-taken. If we perceive someone as our enemy, there will be no filter on what we say and no barrier to what we might do. In a divorce, think of a spouse as someone you once shared a dream with. Think of them as someone who has had happy times with some of your family members. If all the above fails, and you have children from the marriage in question, think of your spouse as a co-parent. That is one relationship that divorce will never end.

Someone once suggested a manner in which you can overcome a fear of public speaking. Just think of the audience dressed up for a clown convention! The idea may seem absurd (I would agree) but the point is that people who we keep at a distance, are people who we are likely to disparage under the “right” circumstances. Think of your soon-to-be ex as someone who is going through their own set of challenges and disappointments, as you are. Think of them as someone who once shared a portion of your life. Think of them as the parent of your children, and give them a chance to negotiate in good-faith with you. Your children will be appreciative. It might be helpful for you as well. Mediate don’t litigate.