In US law, chapter 11 bankruptcy is a reorganisation – an attempt to recover and rebuild. Chapter 7 is a surrender, it’s saying “we can’t go on”. In marriage, divorce is a chapter 7; but what would a marriage chapter 11 look like?
In a business chapter 11, certain debts and obligations are temporarily suspended, and you have a chance to try to renegotiate things in a way that will allow you to keep going. What might be suspended or renegotiated in a chapter 11 “marriage reorganisation”?
- How money is made and spent: Money is a major factor in marital stress and divorces. Maybe it’s time to do it differently.
- How much time family gets: Some couples bankrupt their marriage trying to keep extended family happy. Maybe you need to renegotiate that – and don’t take no for an answer.
- Outside commitments: Too much time doing other things, no matter how good, is hard on a marriage. Maybe it’s time to do less. Don’t feel bad saying no to things that could kill your marriage!
- Marital roles: We come into marriage with an idea of how the husband wife relationship “should be” – but those ideas may not reflect reality, sanity, or the Word of God. If necessary, work though this and find something that will work.
- Expectations: Unmet expectations cause deep hurt, and when they go on and on they can kill love. Discuss what is and is not realistic to expect, and stop waiting for things that are not going to happen. Also, discuss realistic timetables for things.
- Sexual issues: This is another area of marriage stress. Be honest about what you need, and why meeting the desires of your spouse is difficult. Really hear each other, then work to find something you can both commit to, and both feel you can handle.
Just as it’s wise to have a lawyer for a bankruptcy, you would be wise to have a skilled third-party to help with a martial reorganisation.
I am not suggesting this for any couple with a couple of problems; rather this is for the couples who feel they can’t go on. Don’t rush to chapter 7, go for chapter 11!
Due credit to Seth Godin for the genesis of this tip