26/07/2015 12:29 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Chinese Whispers And Divorce

Woman Whispering to Man
Paul Gilligan via Getty Images
Woman Whispering to Man

She: Your mother caused the problems in our relationship.

He: You didn't work hard enough to be a part of this family.

She: Whatever I do, I will never be as good a cook as your mother, as beautiful as your sister and my father will always be a financial failure

Sounds familiar? Just a regular conversation between a disgruntled couple? Add a family friend or mediator or "well-wisher" to this conversation and see the deadly twist that it takes, because it's no longer a conversation, it's someone else interpreting and reporting what you said to each other. You want to make it combustible? Just add a lawyer and you'll literally be blown out of your marital space.

After all, what are the divorce petitions that we lawyers draft? It's reporting what you both said to each other and what you feel about each other and the various issues and problems in the marriage. It's just that when they appear on paper and in black and white the problems seem mammoth, absolutely insurmountable.

Before you get into this deadly game of Chinese Whispers, why not just cut to the chase and directly converse with your significant other? By conversing I really mean a sincere dialogue in which both the partners participate and conduct an exchange of ideas to improve the marriage and look for real solutions. Why shy away from a real conversation with someone who you've shared a life with - talking, chatting, laughing, holding hands.

Is it because we are afraid of exposing our true selves to them and we want to hide behind our carefully constructed facades? Even when I think of this I find it hilarious because, excuse me, quick reality check -- haven't we already been naked in bed with them? Brushed our teeth with them?

And after sharing all these experiences and emotions together, we are shying away from a dialogue? A chat? To improve the marriage.

Let's look at the various scenarios that could ensue.

It will be in the same state as before, so essentially a status quo, so really nothing lost or gained.

Or it may get worse. Hmmm I'll talk about that later.

Or maybe, just maybe, it may improve and you may get another shot at a real marriage based on realistic expectations. You can slug it out for a while and rewrite a new love story in which you both are the primary actors and all your romantic dreams do come true.

Sometimes the real solutions are directly available and visible but the Chinese whisperers obscure our vision and we aren't able to see clearly. What we see is a distorted version of the truth because the "whisperers" come in with their own biases which they pass off as experience and this adds to further stress in the marriage. So really, supposed stress busters could have quite the opposite effect in a marriage

For once, just try a simple conversation and if really it does get worse and there are no solutions, then, fortunately, we lawyers are there to bail you out, and we'll give you the legalese for all your Chinese whispers....