A lavish wedding may increase your chances of divorce

Maybe a quiet wedding in the judge’s chambers is not such a bad idea after all. Or perhaps a small, intimate get-together with close friends or a no frills ceremony is the best way to go.

Splendid Insights, a research firm, conducted a survey and found that couples who spent in excess of 30,000 on their nuptials were more concerned about and focused on—impressing their guests than they were on the whole point of the vows themselves. Those who spent less than 10,000 had the goal of their union before that of throwing an elaborate event.

The economist took this information and did a feature story on the topic that uses a 2014 academic study of American marriages that found a direct link between a higher wedding cost and an increased rate of divorce. The pricier and more elaborate, the greater the chance it would not last. Yikes…

Wedding overall are a pricey event, a major cost for future brides/grooms and/or parents of the bride. The average cost of a wedding in 2017 was 26,000—a nice house deposit for those who are frugal. However wedding costs have decreased over the last decade by 6%–which is perhaps a reflection of the recession and high student loan debt. But with costs for rings, bachelor and Bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and after wedding brunches—it’s a huge industry.

Then there is the cost of time and energy to plan the event and before and after parties. Wedding planners are used by less than a 5th of brides, but overall costs can still be staggering due to all the extras, options, and (heaven forbid) destination weddings. Those who opt to go all out suffer greater angst and stress—and this can take a toll on ALL their relationships, not just with their intended.

So if you are recently engaged and want to cut your chances of divorce, keep that guest list trimmed, resist all those extras—and focus on the whole point of your big day, one another and the life you are just starting together.

THE GOOD DIVORCE

The NY Times Modern Love column ran a column a while back that was penned by Elizabeth Covington, a New Yorker who is the mistress/girlfriend to a man who left his wife for her—a wife who has befriended the author and made great efforts to include her in the family throughout the separation and impending divorce.

Wow, right? Well, of course these relationships are not as uncomplicated as they seem on the surface—and no, the wife wasn’t happy about her spouse asking for a divorce after falling for another woman, not happy at all. Yet she has taken the high road and reached out with friendliness and inclusion. So the question is why?

The comments on this piece (mine included) number almost 400 and counting. As you can imagine, anger at the author (and hubby) is what most (many women) readers write about. Comments like their selfishness, thinking only about their own wants and needs, not trying to fix the marriage, breaking up a “happy” family, are all expressed. There are also folks (mostly men) who think the women readers are being too hard on Josh. Then there are the ones who accuse Beka of being a “martyr”, manipulating the situation to gain attention…really???

This couple was a successful, power couple who had been married for quite a few years and have two “lovely” little girls. The author expresses her relief that she never wanted any of her own and was saving all her maternal instincts for these girls, really? Josh deals with all this by becoming extremely anxious and self-medicating with alcohol, standing somewhere in the background as Beka steps up to try and make the best of a devastating blow to her world and that of her children.

There will be folks who read this and who will stand on all sides of it—depending on their own experiences and past/present relationships. Many will feel rage, others sorrow, and still others will feel superior, thinking they could/would never behave like either Josh or Elizabeth. Not so fast…no one can be sure till they have been there and as Josh is quoted saying, many of their friends were divorcing for the same reason.

I am clearly old school and conservative with it comes to relationships. If you are a woman and are approached by a married man, say no upfront. Once you are in, it’s much harder to get out. If you are a guy (or woman) who is unhappy (apparently josh was “miserable”) in your marriage—seek professional help before trying to find a distraction/replacement. Many marriages can be saved, but not if the individuals don’t admit there is a serious problem and take steps together to address it.

It’s clear Beka would have been all in with counseling, addressing issues, working to meet Josh’s unmet needs—but if he wasn’t able or willing, the end would have been the same. Had Beka decided to act out her grief and taken this to the mats—a lot of money would have been spent and the anger and hurt would have helped create a very toxic environment for Beka, Josh, and mostly the children. Kuddos to Beka for doing what she could to make the best of a terrible situation that her spouse (and Elizabeth) created. No doubt Beka was not and is not a saint—though Josh told Elizabeth she is a wonderful and beautiful person. Indeed, her actions have clearly demonstrated this.

 

Domestic abuse does not lead to easy divorce

The NY Times ran a piece in May that details the harrowing experience of several women who suffered long term abuse in their marriages, yet were met with serious obstacles when trying to get their divorces that resulted in long delays and greater danger.

Domestic violence survivors are met with a number of obstacles when they try to leave their homes and marriages. The financial costs are often too steep for these women to afford, the legal system is complex and difficult to navigate without an attorney, and the spouse seeking the divorce must find their abuser and serve them with divorce papers. Not easy for all the women (especially but not solely) who end up in hiding, often in shelters for battered women. Often their spouses cannot be located, and the process of seeking divorce can stretch out years.

Divorce can be costly, emotionally and financially, for those who are not in abusive relationships. However when someone is, the cost goes way up and too often the victim has no money or other resources of their own to fall back on. The lucky ones have supportive family who can help them out with everything from housing to hiring and retaining a lawyer—but for the poor these resources often don’t exist. Then there are the spouses whose immigration status is shaky. They are at the highest risk due to a fear of getting involved with the legal system.

Lawyer fees can start in $6,000 to $7,000 range, which may as well be a million dollars for a woman with part time work and/or children to care for. If custody and dividing assets are involved, the costs can be much higher. When divorce is delayed the abuser will still have a say if the victim is hospitalized or needs medical treatment or care, decisions regarding the children will also be made by the abuser—and if a victim moves on to a new relationship, any children that result from it are legally considered to be the child of the spouse, regardless of whether they are or not. So long term separation is not a solution.

Some cities and municipalities have organizations that provide fee legal assistance to abused spouses seeking divorce. However there are just not enough lawyers and too often victims do not know where to find these resources. Abusers will also deliberately drag out the divorce, keeping their victims tied to them as the divorce process stalls and drags on. Some just disappear.