Very solemn court proceedings. Although it looks far more modern than I had pictured it. Hard wooden benches. Forced silence. People shuffling nervously in their chairs. The air feels important. I’m shaking.
But – it’s not my first rodeo.
I’m kinda used to the security checks when you come into the Family Court. I’ve seen lots of scared-looking newbies not knowing whether to stand or sit. Lawyers at loggerheads – when 2 seconds before in the lobby they’d been chatting about their kids and weekends. The strange is being normal.
The good and highly unexpected thing – most cases take a maximum of about 5 minutes.
But not mine.
Nup – not mine. The people at the cafe across the street didn’t even ask for my order anymore.
I daydreamed through the whole entire 3-hour train trip in. And seethed on the 3-hour train trip home to my kids.
My divorce was starting to air for longer than Days of Our Lives.
Anyways – in a bid to stop this endless cycle of throwing money away. My lawyer had suggested something right out of left field. Mostly because I was running out of money to pay her. 🙂
And because of this – my first husband was sitting there giving evidence in my divorce from my second husband. My ass was wiggling on the wooden bench watching my two husbands go head to head.
My first husband was singing my praises as a mum and as a person – and I will forever be indebted to him for that day.
Anyways – let’s go to Act II.
My divorce went on so long that the judge was begging us to sort it out. True Dat.
So – we’ll skip to a few days later when I went to debrief with my lawyer about what had happened in court.
She was sitting there – and I could see that she was bursting to ask me something.
“Why on earth did you divorce your first husband?”
And – although there were a lot of reasons – there always are –
This is the clanger:
“We just weren’t compatible”
Incompatibility is a funny beast. It’s sometimes really obvious. But quite often it’s not obvious to anyone outside the marriage.
And when you try and talk about it with anyone – you can feel you’re being petty.
But you’re not.
To everyone looking in – my first marriage was a well-oiled machine. And we certainly didn’t hate each other. We just co-existed. We were good parents together. We fulfilled certain roles in the marriage. I could just take him or leave him. And when the sh$t hit the fan – the differences became really obvious.
People can mistake someone who “completes” them (yuck) as being compatible. Often that person reminds you of things from your childhood – good or bad – and this feels familiar.
Familiarity is not always Compatibility.
Chemistry is not always Compatibility.
Lots of “OMG. Me Too” statements when you first meet. “You like red canaries”. “OMG, I like red canaries too”. “You order chicken at KFC. “. “OMG, I have chicken when I go to KFC too. Yep – not always a sign of being compatible. Just watch Married At First Sight and First Dates.
So – “What do I look for in couples who I work with?” I hear you ask.
Here are my core areas where being on the same page is key:
Future Goal Compatibility
Family Value Compatability
Does compatibility mean no arguing?
Hell No – but it does mean an acceptance of your spouse’s difference from you. It does mean you will be heard with respect. And it also means that you’re both coming from a place of similarity even when your communication might be letting you down. Or when you really just hold very different views. Or when you’re stressed.
To be honest – that “amazing” first husband and I rarely fought.
Even during the divorce.
We just had so very little in common.
Should you divorce just because of not feeling compatible?
No – and as I mentioned there was far more to that first divorce than us coming from two different directions.
But – being incompatible was the shaky ground that crumbled under us when life was a bitch. When big matters blew us around we had absolutely nothing to hold on to. Sure as heck not each other.
To improve compatibility, it’s important to discuss your wants and needs in an honest way. You’ll know very quickly what you and your partner are able to agree on and what are deal-breakers in terms of compatibility.
You also need someone there to witness these conversations and make sure everyone feels heard. At least the first few times that you have them. Any new skill can feel a bit clunky at first.
If you feel that you’re having compatibility issues that feel way too big to fix…
If you feel like you are alone and on completely different pages…
If you wonder how you didn’t notice these glaring differences earlier…
If you’ve been struggling with your marriage…
If you’ve tried many things that simply haven’t worked… But most importantly, if you’ve been feeling the pull to have me by your side as your mentor and you’re ready for deep support as you find your way back to your truest self…click here to have a 15-minute discovery call – or just book your first session.