Relationship Lessons From Your Navigation System

By Randall M. Kessler

We all know that voice, the one in your navigation system telling you to “turn left.” She tells us when to turn, how far until our next turn and when we have arrived at our destination. But the part that we can learn from, is when we do not follow her wishes. Sometimes we just “know better”. So we ignore her instructions or advice, and we don’t “turn left”. And the amazing thing is what happens next. She does not ask us why we ignored her words. She does not tell us we are making a mistake. She simply recalculates the route and tells us the next turn, given where we now are. Isn’t that amazing? What if we all behaved like that? Instead of focusing on mistakes, or differences of opinion, we simply decided the best way to move forward from where we currently are (not from where we have been previously)? Wouldn’t that be a relationship changer?

As a divorce lawyer, I often feel like the navigation voice. Clients ignore our advice, do things we wish they wouldn’t and create their own paths. And our job as divorce lawyers is to figure out where to go from here, not to criticize them for not following our advice. Unfortunately much of the debate, dispute and negotiation in divorce cases often reverts to complaints about past choices made, requests ignored and poor decisions. But once in the midst of divorce, most of those decisions are well in the past and cannot be undone. If they can, great, but if not, then the best course is usually to look forward and to shape the future out of or from, where everyone currently stands. If divorcing parties, or even individuals not going through a divorce could look more to the future and how to get to where they want, FROM WHERE THEY CURRENTLY ARE, wouldn’t things be better, smoother, easier?

Married people often want their spouse to be different, and to do more things the way they do. But people are different and make different choices. Some people prefer to take the highway, while others prefer backroads. But whatever the choice, once it is made, we must keep moving forward, towards our destination. And when you ask someone to “turn left” and they don’t, simply recalculate and consider what is best given where everyone is now, not where they were.