Fact: Dallas vies with Las Vegas and Los Angeles annually for the highest divorce rate on the planet. So this blog sometimes feels like I am writing Postcards from the Edge.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, consciously or unconsciously Valentines Day is a time of reflection on your relationship with your significant other. Think back. How many times have you had a relationship end shortly before or after Valentines day?

I remember back in the 7th grade, the first girl I ever went steady with broke up with me after Valentines Day. Her best friend told me she didn’t break up with me before Valentines Day because she heard about the big teddy bear I bought her, and she wanted it. Cynthia Green, if you’re out there, 45 years later – I’m okay, I really am.

Over the decades, that pattern repeated itself several times. My wife has a different story. She says the boys always broke up before Valentines day to avoid having to buy Valentines Day presents.

Why, you may ask, is there a noticeable increase in divorces filed after Valentines Day? Thirty years of dealing with divorces tells me that, for the most part, it is all about faith and hope. Either you have faith that your spouse really is the one for you – or you don’t. Either you have hope that they will become the person you want in your life – or you don’t.

In some cases people have met their next Mr. or Mrs. Right, and the pain of not being with them on Valentines Day gives them the resolve to go ahead, bite the bullet and file for divorce, hoping that next year they will be with the one they REALLY love!

On the other side, a lot of the cases filed after Valentines Day reflect a loss of faith and a loss of hope: loss of faith in their spouse’s character-some might call it a loss of trust-and a loss of hope that the character defects, whatever we perceive them to be, will ever change.

There is a lot of talk in politics today about hope and change. Frank Luntz wrote a book a few years ago entitled Words That Work. Hope and change are words that work. Why do they work? Because we all want hope and change. Since America is largely a country of immigrants, if there is one thing immigrants have in common it is a strong desire for hope and change. Strong enough to have them risk their lives for it. No matter what we have, every American shares a hope to have more of whatever we perceive to be good.

When we quit hoping this is the ship that is going to get us where we want to go, we get off the ship.

So what’s the answer? If issues surrounding our faith and hope are part of the problem, then faith and hope have to be part of the solution. That faith cannot be in someone else. It has to be in ourselves or in a God, however we perceive him. That faith becomes the foundation of our hope; not some other person.

With faith and hope, we are free each day to CHOOSE to love another person. After a lot of years, I have come to believe that love is not so much a feeling as a choice we make every day. For the biggest part of our lives we just don’t realize it is a choice, and we certainly don’t know why we are making the choice we are making.

Though I believe we may have a genetic predisposition for hope and change, My sense is that our culture and our advertising have exacerbated that by constantly telling us what we are “entitled to.” Think about it, is there isn’t a billboard on your way home telling you “you deserve” something? If not you live closer to work than the rest of us. Adds on TV, billboards, adds on the internet all tell us about all the great things in life we “deserve”. The aforementioned Frank Luntz lists “You deserve” as one of the 11 phrases for 2011. Unfortunately, when we start buying into that propaganda without first examining our own lives, we create more misery in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

My next blog is going to be on the mistake of divorcing a 95%’er.

Then my following blog will be based on a saying by William Saroyan. He said, “Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.” So is divorce synonymous with failure; or is the real failure just not trying?

The Law Office of Dennis Fuller is located in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Fuller provides qualityfamily law representation to his clients in all areas of North Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, McKinney, Frisco, Richardson, Addison, Plano, and throughout Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties, Texas. To speak with Dennis Fuller about your legal concerns, contact us at 972-852-8500 to schedule an appointment today.

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