Tag Archive for: Relationships

My first lesson in legal writing came fast after law school.  The assignment was to write a report for the Federal Communications Commission.  I learned the value of connecting words and phrases that make your writing flow and carry the readers along so they are nodding their heads in agreement by the end.

It was about that time that I read The Magus by John Fowles, in which the protagonist discovers that he has been looking at life as a series of events, like mountaintops.  But his girlfriend sees the relationships between the events.  She sees not only the mountaintops, but the valleys that connect them.

Facts are powerful mountaintops.  We all like to think we weigh the facts and make rational decisions.  But relationships between the facts may be even more powerful.  Our decisions may be based on subconscious connections that we are unaware of.

One of the things I like about our law firm is that we have people who see the mountaintops and people who see the valleys between.  That is some of our lawyers see the facts clearly and others see the relationships.

We joke about it and say we have a Partner in Charge of Feelings.  But when you are dealing with emotionally charged issues like divorce, children, betrayal, and money, feelings can be the driving force.   So by all means, get the facts.  But don’t forget the connections.



When I was ready to hire the first employee for my law firm, if you had asked me what I was looking for in an employee, I would have told you “Why, someone just like me.”

What a mistake that would have been.  Can you imagine two headstrong, stubborn attorneys, full iof themselves, arguing and debating all day long?

When I was  younger, and before my enlightenment, I knew I was always right.   People who didn’t think the way I thought were simply wrong.  Now I see the value in having partners who each view things a little differently than me.  For example, in a divorce, I might decide no child custody evaluation is needed.  One of my partners, a litigator, might say we need the evaluation in order to get the child’s preference into evidence at trial.

People make a similar mistake when looking for a spouse.  They look for someone like themselves.  First, no one will be exactly like you.  There will always be different agendas and your thinking will not always sync.  You can try to control the situation and persuade your spouse that your view is the correct one.  I guarantee that will not be a successful relationship strategy.

The enlightened approach is ‘viva la difference”.  Enjoy and embrace the fact that your spouse thinks differently than you.  That is what makes life interesting, richer and joyful.




Facebook has developed an algorithm that predicts whether your relationship will last or not. Researchers looked at 1.3 million Facebook users to determine their “dispersion”.

Dispersion is the extent of overlap in two people’s mutual friends. If you have high dispersion, you each have your own set of friends. Low dispersion means your friends are friends with one another.

High dispersion relationships are likely to last, but low dispersion relationships tended to be over in about two months. The conclusion is that you are more likely to have a strong relationship if you each maintain your own separate circle of friends.

My wife has a humorous coaster on the coffee table that says, “Housework became a snap when I realized — Hey, I’m a man!”  A new study is probably going to be the topic of a conversation tonight when she reads this.  Using data from 2007 and 2008, researchers looked at thousands of Norwegian couples to see if they could find any correlations between marriage, housework and happiness.

  • 71% had relationships where the women did all or most of the housework.
  • 4% had relationships where the men did all or most of the housework.
  • 25% of the couples shared housework equally.

They found that divorce rates were significantly higher among the 4% where the men did most of the housework.

However, men before you throw down the dish towel, the researchers concluded this might just mean that modern couples are more likely to divorce than old-fashion couples, and housework has no effect on divorce at all.

Robin Rivers has posted an interview on OurBigEarth.com with Calvin Sandborn, lawyer and author of The Kind Father.

Sandborn says that we learn to talk to ourselves in our heads with the same voice that we learned from our father.  In trying to teach children to be successful and assert control or power over others, the traditional father addresses his son from a height and treats him harshly.  (“Show him you’re boss!” “Suck it up!” “Don’t be a wuss!”)

The son uses the same voice that his father did when talking to himself.  As a result, the son’s inner life becomes a harsh place.  He tortures himself with cruel self-talk, has contempt for himself and then transfers that contempt to those around him.

The answer, says Sandborn, is to begin to treat yourself compassionately.  Banish the Harsh Father in your self-talk.  Speak daily to yourself with kind and encouraging words.  If you can do this, then you can become your own Kind Father and have more compassionate relationships with your children and others around you.

UC Berkeley scientists have discovered that couples who use pronouns like “we”, “us” and “our” in their conversations are happier and have healthier relationships than couples who use “I” and “you”.

The researchers analyzed the speech patterns of couples while they talked about disagreements in their marriages.  Couples who used “I” and “you” tended to be more stressed, less close and unhappy.

The study concluded the reason for this is that successful couples have a sense of unity with each other.  This helps them resolve conflicts, grow closer together and have more positive behavior toward each other.

Emerald Catron at lemmondrop.com, however, finds referring to yourself as “we” rather annoying if you’re not the Queen of England.