Why So Many Men Never See Divorce Coming

I read this blog written by Judge Lynn Toler…you know, she’s the judge from Divorce Court! It was a shocker to me, because I originally thought that more men filed for divorce than women. But apparently there is a group of men, whose wives file for divorce and apparently they feel blindside. I’m reposting part of the blog she wrote for the Huffington Post here. I’d love to know what you think about it… 


Lynn Toler

Divorce Court Host and Author of My Mother’s Rules

Posted: February 2, 2011 10:53 AM

I first heard it from attorneys who typically represent men in a divorce. I then began to see it in the cases that came before me. I remember the attorney who first mentioned it to me some ten years ago, he leaned back in his chair at a conference on divorce and said, “It never ceases to amaze me how many men come to me with their jaws on the floor saying they never saw it coming.”

Now, I am witnessing it in my own social circles. All around me long-term marriages are coming to an end. And as the studies show many of those jumping ship are women.

Not only am I seeing a rash of fleeing women all around me, I also see what I first ascertained years ago: That a fairly significant number of men–especially in longer term marriages–never saw their divorces coming. There was, they say, no warning, no build up, no escalating tensions, just an unexpected, non-negotiable and seemingly unprovoked decision to leave.

Of course, this is not the norm. Most marriages careen into a ditch after traversing a noticeably bumpy road. Likewise, there are women who are surprised when their husbands decide to leave, but what I am talking about here is that not-so-small group of guys who are caught flat footed by their wives sudden and seemingly unexplained departure.

As with everything involved with the human condition, there is no one reason for any trend. But after having witnessed it from the bench and in my own backyard and from reading what I can, I do see one common mistake both men and women are making that seems to rear its head in a number of these unexpected abandonment cases. I mention it here because I think it ends some very salvageable marriages…

For the rest of the article…click here!


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A Marriage Built To Last: Lessons Learned From My Grandparents

I ran across this amazing website entitled “Black & Married With Kids” . They recently posted this amazing blog written by Edward C. Lee that I just had to share with you all. It shares some awesome words of wisdom that would be helpful to apply to your marriages, those new and/or reconciled. I hope you will please take the time to read.


A Marriage Built To Last: Lessons Learned From My Grandparents

December 21, 2010

The Christmas holiday season always makes me think of my grandparents.

My grandfather, Buddy, and my grandmother, Thelma, were married on New Year’s Eve, December 31st 1935. They had been married 59 years when my grandfather passed away in his garden with his hands neatly folded on his chest and a smile on his face in 1994. With a nickname like “Buddy” it goes without saying that he was the friendly, giving type of person that everyone loved.

For as much as we all loved him, his passing gave the family time to really get to know my grandmother in deeper ways than we had to that point. Of course she dealt with her bouts of loneliness without her soul mate of almost 60 years by her side. But in those years she did not just survive but she thrived and grew in her independence until she passed away in 2008. One minute she was laughing with some friends at her assisted living facility over lunch and minutes later she had a stroke and was in heaven.

I love the way they died: happy, fulfilled, well-respected, well-loved and content. I aspire to live a life so that one day I might die as well as they did (think about that one for a minute). Yet as thankful as I am for how they died, it is the way they lived that has shaped me and my views of what is important in marriage.

So as I reflect personally, as I always do this time of year, I want to share some of the lessons my grandparents modeled in front of me as they persevered through their 59 years together.

1. Maintain a Light Spirit in Heavy Times

In the later years of my grandmother’s life I would take every opportunity to find out what life was like for her and my grandfather through the 1930‘s, 40‘s and 50‘s. She would often share stories of traveling from Pennsylvania back through parts of the South to get to Florida. She would tell of the network of people and lodging arrangements they would have to make to ensure that her, my grandfather, and their two small children were safe as they travelled through the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida during the 1950s. Yet, given the backdrop of every story – danger, near misses, hiding, racial cruelty – she always told them with bursts of laughter woven into the seriousness. She could laugh because in the seriousness of what they faced they learned to remain light hearted. They did not turn on each other, but they stayed together and found ways to laugh through the heaviness of what they experienced. They never allowed the oppression to press them out of their character or turn against each other. In retrospect it fits with the advice my grandmother would always give me, “Give your wife a kiss, everyday, just love her even when you are mad, hold onto each other and you can get through anything. A hug and a kiss every day. Just hold onto each other.”

2. Avoid the Urge to Blame

In the mid-1980’s my grandfather was fixing the lawn mower in his basement and noticed some water from a recent storm had gotten into the basement. So he went to get a rag to wipe it up. Unfortunately, what he thought was water was actually the gasoline from the lawn mower. As he returned and knelt down to wipe up what he thought was water, the furnace exploded in his face. The force of the blast was so powerful that it knocked down my grandmother who was all the way up on the 2nd floor. Yet my grandfather whose face was inches from the blast did not have even a hair on his head singed. It is pretty amazing that he made it out of there alive. Perhaps even more amazing that there was never a word of blame spoken or expressed between them about the fire.

For the next year they lived in a cramped two-bedroom apartment. Every thing that could be salvaged from what remained of their three bedroom 2 story with a basement home was jammed in this tiny two bedroom apartment – box upon box, from floor to ceiling. Yet there was never a word of complaint. My grandmother never said, “How could you have burned down our house…” not a word. She never blamed him, instead she supported him, cheered him on and just forgave. She later shared with me that she was more concerned with getting through the ordeal together than placing words of blame. Her reflection of what was most important to her at that painful time has been a point of challenge to me. There have been times in my marriage when I just want to say, “this is your fault!”. But grandmom is right, love and support are far more productive at keeping the family together than blame.

To read the remaining portion of this blog, please click…


What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?

Ok, this isn’t going to be one of those sappy posts, to encourage you to drown yourselves in your sorrow. Sure it’s Christmas time, a season of abundant commercials filled with sappy stories of husbands giving their wives, big diamonds and luxury cars or wives going out of their way to hide their husbands’ new plasma tvs. (No, I’m not bitter:))) I’m really not, because while we all would love to be showered by the one’s we vowed to spend the rest of our lives with. For many, that’s not a reality.

Having experienced a couple of lonely Christmases, immediately after I separated and later divorced from my now ex-husband. I’d like to share ideas on how to cope during the holiday season.

Let see…

First, go ahead and cry it out! That’s right let it flow. There’s no use in holding it in. Holding in that kind of emotion can kill you. So have a really good cry. But you’re limited to 1 hour on Christmas Day! You can do it all at once or 4 (15) minute sessions throughout the day. But 1 hour is all you’re allowed for that day. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with a cry, which cleanses the soul. But anything more than that will make you sick and exhaust you.

Next, take a really warm shower or bath. If you like, you can even combine your cry with your bath time. Those tears can just flow out of the tub or shower. That’s even better, because now you will have extra time in the day to do those things which are most important and healthy.

Spend time with someone! Now, because we didn’t have children, I woke up completely alone during Christmas. So I decided to spend the day with my mom. See, my dad had passed away a few months prior, so we both were dealing with significant loss. We leaned on each other for the holiday. But if you have children, why not spend it happily with them showing you what Santa (if they still believe) or whomever has gotten them. Either way, keep it positive! If you’re unfortunate to not have children, parents, or close friends to spend the holiday with, find someone in or around your neighborhood to spend it with. Or willingly find a shelter to volunteer to serve. It’s amazing how small our problems become, once we’re assisting someone with theirs. And in my experience, it allows God to work your problems out for you, without your interference, which can serve as detrimental to the situation. (But that’s another topic, for another day)

Next, eat well. Enjoy the meal that is prepared before you, whatever that may be. It’s a day to splurge a bit. Take your time and enjoy that dessert.

Nothing cures loneliness like laughter. Find humor throughout your day. Laugh long and big whenever you can. Watch a funny christmas movie. I had heard about the National Lampoon Christmas vacation. But I’d never watched it. So, I ordered it on Netflix and watched it that evening. It was really what I needed to pass the time in a positive way and filling my soul with joy.

At the end of the evening, journalize (Is that even a word? Oh well, it is now! LOL)your day. Talk about your emotions. Pour it out on paper. It will serve as a guide to your progress. Make sure your entry includes your day’s blessings. Itemize them, specifically. You’ll realize there are more than one blessing of the day. And besides, the greatest blessing is your life. With life, there’s always hope for a better tomorrow, which will come. Speaking of tomorrow, start planning for your new future. 2011 is right around the corner, so consider what you’d like to accomplish in it. It won’t hurt to have a plan b, c, & d. Because you never know what the future will hold.

And lastly, before you turn in, don’t forget to pray. Thank God that you survived the day. It will get better. Although, you’re more than likely going to feel some loneliness, remember you are never alone. God is always with us (Hebrew 13:5). So why not draw nearer to him? Let him penetrate you and ask him to provide you with the peace to handle whatever outcome is reached.

Just like everything else we encounter in life, this too shall pass! But to do it in a healthy manner takes determination and dedication. Dedicate your life to growing in  positive way. Choose not to allow Satan to rob you of your joy! May you be blessed with a very Merry Christmas!


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Lessons Learned:#4 – Your Dreams Are Just That…Yours!

Today’s reflection comes on the heels of what would have been my 6th anniversary to my now ex-husband. I’m sure the date 10/16/2004 will always be engrained in my memory and at this point in my life, it’s ok if it does. Looking back, I remember thinking that my marriage would never end in divorce. I envisioned that there would be nothing we wouldn’t be able to talk about and resolve through thoughtful compromise. In my head, we’d grow old (gracefully, of course;-)) together and tell stories to the youth about the power of a loving marriage and mentor to other couples that may be struggling in their marriage. But you see that was MY dream…not his.

 Ironically, our minister spoke at church this past Sunday about having more than one plan, especially if it’s dependant on someone else, which fueled my inspiration for writing this post. You see what he meant is that sometimes, what you plan or dream for yourself doesn’t always go as you’d hope, simply because it’s tied to another human being. With this thought,  I have come to realize that I have an incredibly high tolerance for pain. I always have, probably always will. It takes quite a bit to really get me angry and upset. Whereas I see others, who get mad at the smallest bit of resistance. So just because, I plan for a situation to go smoothly between a colleague or a friend. Doesn’t mean that it always will. B/c, maybe that colleague/friend, has a different disposition than I do. The same applied to your marriage. Maybe your spouse didn’t really plan to see it through to the end, as you thought. Maybe they lied about their plans. Or maybe their plans changed, or they had more than one plan, which suddenly shifted priorities.

So as I write to those who may be in the position I was in, just merely 3 years ago, please try not to beat yourself up when you realized that the dream you had for your marriage did not come to pass. You can not make others cooperate to fulfill the dreams which are your own.

Going forward, I have chosen to dream of things that I can control (with God’s grace). For example, I know how I’d love to look in my gown. And if God continues to give me strength in my body, I can control the other stuff that will make it possible to fit into my perfect gown. (Notice, I said, “My perfect gown!”) I even have an idea of what the wedding will entail. But at this point in my life, the groom in my dreams doesn’t have a face. (At least not a real face, I tend to substitute celebrities from time to time! LOL!!! Hey, who doesn’t??) But truthfully, I want God to fill in that void the next time.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t dream big. But just make sure you have a plan B or C, just in case things don’t go as you planned for your A. It will cushion the blow a little bit. The old adage, never put all your eggs in one basket still rings true. However, the best basket to put your eggs is in God’s hands. Despite the fact that my dreams for my marriage were crushed, I’m still so tremendously blessed because of it. I’ve learned so much (keep reading, there’s more to come!) from it about myself. I’ve been able to minister to so many others who didn’t think they could be delivered from the pain of a divorce. And most importantly, my faith and positivity remains in tact.

Until then, stay positive and learn the lessons that life teaches! They aren’t without reason.

Continued blessings to you,



Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Lessons Learned!, Separation & Divorce


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Lessons Learned:#3- Bring Your Own Hot Sauce!

Sometimes, it amazes me what things I can remember from my past. As I grow older, I realize my short term memory isn’t nearly as great. But, my long term memory seems to be better than ever. Some of the most vivid memories of my family make me laugh hysterically. But when I think about it, they could’ve be used to provide so much wisdom for my marriage, if I’d only looked a little deeper sooner.

When I was little my dad used to take me to a local grocery store, known for having amazing chicken. You know, the chicken that they placed in a white paper bag, lined with foil on the inside…the chicken that always came with those super soft rolls. Anyway, I digress because this is really making me hungry. Ok, well back to the story. Sometimes, they’d have the hot sauce packets. But many times when we went, they didn’t. Nonetheless, the day I recall the most is the day, my dad didn’t ask for any hot sauce. He just brought the chicken back to our little green Ford truck and told me to get in. I told my dad, that he forgot to get hot sauce. That’s when he reached across my lap and opened the door to the glove compartment and inside was a bottle of his favorite hot sauce. I remember my dad saying, “You don’t have to worry about it, if you always bring your own.”

Now, looking back on this I thought about things in my marriage. I have always been creative and loved spontaneity. And so, I always assumed that the person I settled down with be able to do the same. So, I’d complain and be disappointed when I mentioned my need for change and creativity. And his idea of creativity was dinner and a movie or the conventional flowers sent to your workplace. But what I failed to realize is that creativity and spontaneity was my talent. It was the hot sauce that I needed and was expecting my spouse to provide.

So, if it’s something that you crave in your marriage. My advise would be if you have it, to provide it. If you want a weekly date night with your spouse, don’t wait for him/her to plan it, you do it. So many people complain about the spark leaving their marriages, but everyone refuses to light the matches they hold hold in their own pockets.

So in my new relationship, I will keep things different and new and fresh. And although, I’m certain that he will think it’s because of my desire to please him (and I will hope that he’s pleased). But it will really be to satisfy myself. That way I won’t have to be disappointed if my hot sauce isn’t available.


Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Lessons Learned!, Separation & Divorce


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Lessons Learned:#2 – Pray and Be Patient

Reflecting back on my married life, I think about the many times I prayed to God for change to take place. But grew weary of waiting when it didn’t come at the time I thought it was necessary.

As I reflect, I can honestly say that God has answered favorably nearly every prayer I’ve ever uttered. But it seemed that it was always too late, at least in my eyes. But now I understand that in order to have true faith, you must have amazing patience.

I ran into an older, wiser lady while grocery shopping last week. She mentioned how she had married some nearly 15 years ago. At the time she fell in love and married a man that later started abusing alcohol. Her family had suggested that she leave him and find someone else who was more worthy. But the lady says that she had vowed to be with this man for better and for worse. So faithfully she prayed every day for God to give her the strength to endure and to deliver her husband from his illness. She continued to serve God in the best way she knew how and while others still couldn’t understand what she saw in this man, she continued to pray for him.

It would be twelve years later that her prayers would seemingly be answered. She said her spouse had apologized for all the hurt and pain he had caused and walked away from the alcohol. She says they now have the best relationship and she feels that all the waiting on God was worth it. It was such a beautiful story, because I knew her personally and I knew what she spoke to be true.

Now, I don’t want anyone who is being physically abused to feel that I’m telling them to put their lives in jeopardy. Because, that’s a totally different situation. But what I do see is everyday many people are divorcing over the most senseless of reasons, without trusting that God can change it.

I do know this…that if I should remarry, I vow to be more patient when I pray to God. As the old saying goes, “God may not come when you want him, but he’s always right on time!”  I,for one, am all too familiar with this.


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Lessons Learned: #1 – What Happens Here Stays Here

There are so many things that I’ve learned about myself through my divorce. So I thought it appropriate that I start with this huge lesson that I learned. Initially, when you get married most go through the honeymoon phase. This means that you rarely see any flaws in your mates. They can do no wrong. However when that phase wears off and you realize all of their flaws you typically want to vent about them to someone. Ok, so yes everyone needs a place of refuge to blow off steam. It’s natural to want to share all of your spouses “sudden nuisances” with others. [Sidebar: They didn’t just suddenly happen. They were always there, it’s just that you were blinded by “being in love”.] However, you need to consider if it’s even worthy of sharing. Because your closest friends, and especially family don’t forget.

So what are you saying??? I’m saying consider this scenario. You’ve had a horrible day at work and your spouse has forgotten to bring the garbage can from the curb today. As you enter the house, you’re reminded of how you’ve told him in the past about how annoyed you are when he leaves his clothes where he takes them off. Nonetheless, he’s forgotten the complaints and you find his socks on the sofa. Just as you’re about to remove those shoes that have been hurting your feet for hours, you feel the need to release, so you call your mother to vent. When she asks you how you are, you proceed to tell her how much of a slob your spouse is and how he just doesn’t try to do anything to your liking. After going on relentlessly to your mom, you follow it up with a call to your girlfriend. Once you’ve released the last bit of information, you hang up feeling much better since you’ve aired your grievances.

Enters your spouse, who has picked up dinner because he feels that you may have had a long day and he wants to make your evening a little better. You both talk about his leaving his socks out and the garbage can in the driveway. He gives you a valid reason for his not getting the garbage can out of the driveway this morning on his way to work. Not to mention, you realize that he’s really only left his socks out once in the last 90 days, which is great considering it used to be every day. He assures you that it was just an oversight and the two of you make up.

However, just because you’ve put it behind you, doesn’t mean that the people you’ve vented to have. Believe me, they are taking score and more than likely sharing the fact that your spouse is a slob with others. So now, when you go to them again to vent, they’re taking a tally.

See what I mean??? Now that doesn’t apply in any circumstances where you are being abused. If someone is physically hurting or causing you harm, PLEASE GET HELP! Letting others know can definitely save your life. No one has the right to put their hands on you without your permission.

However, for those not so big issues, try this. Instead of talking to a girlfriend or parent about the matter, talk to one who can really make a difference, God!  Matthew 11:28 – The Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Ask God for the peace to be able to deal with some of those not so trivial aspects of your marriage. He can make a way out of no way.

Secondly, give yourself time before you tell it to others. Take at least 48 hours before you share your experience with others. I like to think about things now, before reacting. This is something I do now in all avenues of my life. I used to react first and think later. But I’ve had better results since I’ve given myself the time to cool off and rationalize the situations. It’s helped strengthened my friendships tremendously. Somethings aren’t as serious as they seem, once you cool off.

Lastly, consider the blessings that are in your marriage. In my experience, it’s been when I’ve been complacent with the little, that God has blessed me with the larger. Now that wasn’t my intention, it just happened that way.

I understand that you want to share with your girlfriends and mom about many aspects of your life. But ere on the side of caution about your marriage. It’s called private life for a reason. Some things don’t need to be talked about, just given to God. What you think may be helping, could quite often prove toxic.

This is just one of my lessons. Come back each week for more. Not to mention, feel free to share yours.

Many blessings,



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