Married divorce lawyers have an interesting perspective on relationships. Sure, they’ve seen things get ugly for their clients, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re pessimists who’ve lost all faith in love.
In fact, their careers have arguably made them better partners. They know what unhealthy relationship habits look like, and they can try to avoid them in their own lives. Below, four married divorce attorneys explain how their work has informed their romantic relationships.
1. They don’t rush into marriage.
“My wife and I dated for nearly 20 years off and on before we married. It is the first and only marriage for either of us. Sometimes I am convinced that being a divorce lawyer made it take a bit longer for both of us to commit. Even though we lived together before marriage and knew each other’s families well, it took a while to finally tie the knot. At a time when many of my peers have divorced and remarried, having realized that they rushed into their first marriage perhaps too hastily, I know that I certainly did not really rush into mine.” ―Randy Kessler, attorney, married 12 years
2. They value compromise.
“You are always negotiating in relationships. Whether it’s about parenting, finances or how many date nights to have each month, each person has to be willing to give up something to get something. Learning how to negotiate in your living room is a lot less expensive than in the courtroom.” ―Lauren Lake, attorney and judge on “Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court,” married 10 years
3. They understand how important it is to nurture — and keep nurturing — a relationship.
“Practicing divorce law showed me how fragile relationships and marriages can be. If they are not nurtured and attended to, a marriage will suffer and eventually fade. It makes me pay that much more attention to my marriage and family on a daily basis.” ―Jason Levoy, attorney and divorce coach, married six years
4. And they never stop working on themselves.
“You can’t have a great marriage if you don’t like who you are. The nonsense you hear in movies about how your soulmate ‘will complete you’ is total BS. You are complete. If you don’t believe that, then work on your own issues before you get married. When you’ve got your own act together, you have a much better chance of attracting and marrying someone who’s got his own act together too.” ―Karen Covy, attorney and author of When Happily Ever After Ends, married nine years
5. They keep things in perspective.
“At the end of a long day, after all I hear and see, it is very easy to go home and appreciate that any relationship issues in my household are indeed minor compared to what many of our clients are enduring. And every divorce lawyer will tell you that. We have a unique opportunity to glimpse into the lives of so many others, rich and poor, high-profile and not, and it seems everyone has difficulties, none of which I would want nor wish on others.” ―Kessler
6. They don’t assume they’re relationship experts.
“As a divorce attorney, I get to see the good, bad and ugly of other people’s marriages. I see what works and what doesn’t. I take notes and apply what I learn to my marriage, hopefully in a good way. Just because I am a divorce attorney doesn’t mean I am a relationship expert and that I know it all. I am always trying to better myself, learn and adapt so that I don’t end up sitting where my clients are in the future.” ―Levoy
7. They know physical attraction isn’t everything, but it does matter.
“If you’re dating someone who looks perfect on paper, but your heart doesn’t flutter when he walks into the room, think twice before you marry him. You don’t need to want to rip his clothes off every time you see him (although you might!). But if you are not physically attracted to the person you marry, you’re going to end up with a roommate, not a spouse.” ―Covy
8. They consider prenups a pragmatic decision, not something to be taken personally.
“Many people still find prenups offensive or feel they spoil the romance. With over 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, I believe all couples should have one. A prenup requires couples to have uncomfortable conversations. You can never have too much practice at that. If you can’t come to an agreement on a prenup, you have no business getting married.” ―Lake
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.