MARRIAGE is the formal union of two individuals making a commitment to each other legally. Two of the main pieces of legislation concerning divorce in Saint Lucia are the Divorce Act 1973 with amendments and the Divorce Rules 1976.
According to the Divorce legislation, verbal or physical abuse and infidelity are two grounds for divorce. The advice given is insightful in terms of how some marriages have succeeded. Here are some tips from individuals who have gone the distance.
1. Marry for love and not convenience: As we get older, we may feel the pressure to join the secret society of married people, and so casting aside all of our doubts and reservations, we marry the first persons that come along and seem mildly suitable. Married couples who have stayed married for many years are the first to tell you that being married isn’t always easy. They advise marrying for love and companionship rather than to have a date for your next social event. In other words, don’t get married to fit in, but because you genuinely like/love the individual that you are in a relationship with and want a committed and lasting bond.
2. Be supportive of each other: Every career is different, and your spouse may experience success sooner than you do. Be supportive of their careers, parents, and friends, and of them. Be kind and supportive of their desire to start a new business or pursue further studies. Support their personal and career development ambitions and offer to help in any way that you can. Being your spouse’s greatest cheerleader is a real asset to a good relationship.
3. Be faithful: Remember that this was one of your vows when you got married, to be faithful to your spouse through sickness and health, for richer or poorer…Resist the temptation to flirt with someone other than your spouse. Flirting is disrespectful of your relationship and your spouse. Flirting leads to other indiscretions which will inevitably damage your relationship and most likely lead to divorce.
4. Be loyal: When your friends are speaking ill of their spouses, complaining about one thing or another, you should simply walk away. Show your loyalty to your spouse by only saying kind things about him or her to others; and not complaining about their behaviour or any aspect of your relationship.
5. Communicate, communicate, and communicate: Communication is key to all relationships. This is especially true in matrimony. It is important for spouses to communicate regularly with each other about their plans for the family and discuss anything that they need to work on as a team.
6. Spend time together and spend time apart: One of the surprising reasons for marriages eventually ending is that one of the spouses did not feel he or she got any or enough ‘me’ time. Getting married does mean compromising in terms of your time and space. You are living together, spending more time with each other but you may on occasion need some time to yourself, to mediate, to read a book, watch your favourite show etc. Couples often complain of not having enough alone time, especially couples with children.
7. Always be yourself: One of the complaints from persons who were married was that their spouses changed considerably after they got married. This proved unnerving and eventually resulted in the ending of the relationship. Marriage is a serious commitment that should not be entered into lightly. Bring your true self to the relationship and maintain the same behaviour, principles and values you manifested before the marriage. You should not change your personality completely after you are married.
Divorces are on the rise as we are less tolerant of each other’s shortcomings and less willing to work on improving or stabilising our relationships. Divorce lawyers understand the issues that cause the breakdown of the marriages. In some cases, it is preventative and in others, it is not.
Ms. Trudy O. Glasgow is a practising attorney at the law firm Trudy O. Glasgow & Associates, a court-appointed mediator and author in Saint Lucia (and has also taught law at University level in the UK)*. Ms. Glasgow is also the Vice President of the Bar Association of Saint Lucia.
This column is for general use only, for advice specifically for your case, please see your lawyer.
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