When I chose family law as my specialty, it was...
Welcome to a New U.S. President
This week, the United States inaugurates a new President, with a major change in Administration after a tumultuous election season. There are many reasons why change can be good, and in this blog, I’d like to focus on how the new American presidency might affect divorce, marriage and the way people get along in our nation.
We know that Americans are deeply divided. If the last year showed us anything, it’s that we may all be united by citizenship, but we remain in opposition to one another in ideology, belief, practice, and politics.
Whether America can survive as a functioning democracy remains to be seen. More than 8 million people are excited this week about Joe Biden becoming our next U.S. President. And yet, 7 million people voted to retain Donald Trump for another term.
That’s a big gap.
What lies ahead for our nation depends on whether we can find a way for ALL Americans to believe in the possibility of America once again. Can we come together in shared values and vision?
Some people who are more progressive, or did not want to retain Donald Trump, but who may not quite be on the Biden bandwagon, may have expectations for what lies ahead. Wherever we stand on the political spectrum, we must be careful to hold realistic expectations for what is possible.
A President is ONE human trying to make decisions on behalf of one of the largest nations in the world, populated by so many varieties of people. It is not an easy job for anyone, and I have yet to see a candidate who speaks and moves for ALL the people.
Over the last year, due to the ongoing pandemic, we’ve taken to digital communication channels as our lifeline.
We’ve debated and discussed, blocked and welcomed. We’ve argued over what is best for our people, what is the way forward.
As a divorce lawyer, I look at the lessons we are beginning to pull from the last year, and the last four years, and the new presidency ahead, and I think, there is advice in all this for marriages and relationships. Here is what I have to offer:
- Just like a President can only do so much in the first 100 days of an Administration, so too a relationship can only withstand so much effort and energy in its early days.
- We must have realistic expectations for every relationship – and for the humans in those relationships.
- We are, as a species, easily disappointed, and easily excited. The healthiest place is to live in between those extremes.
- We cannot put all our hope into one person to lead us forward. Whether a President, or a spouse/partner.
- That said, we must respect the expertise of our leaders. For a marital relationship, that means take advice from those who’ve endured through decades – don’t think you know better than they do how to make a marriage work! (I’m thinking of all the Dr. Fauci haters who think they know how to handle a pandemic better.)
- There is no perfect partner. Only you can strive to be the best you can be and forgive the faults of your partner. (We should remember this when President Biden isn’t perfect. He can’t be. He’s human. He’ll do things we won’t agree with, but that doesn’t make his Administration evil.)
- Keep your expectations in check, stay realistic, and remember there is no perfect system.
Whether it’s a marriage or a political position, or the leader of the free world, we’re all doing the best we can. Go into it with this perspective – knowing that there will be disappointments, arguments, and reasons to celebrate.