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Episode 148 - Seeking Wise Counsel to Build a Thriving Marriage or Survive a Divorce

Episode 148 - Seeking Wise Counsel to Build a Thriving Marriage or Survive a Divorce Image

11/13/2019 9:46 am

Over the years, we have seen many spouses make the mistake of seeking advice in all the wrong places. Often, that decision resulted in one of them ending up as a client. This mistake can be avoided, however, by seeking out the right, wise counsel in advance. You can strengthen your marriage or get through a rough patch by surrounding yourself with the right people. In this show, Leh and Todd are going to discuss the wisdom of the ages and recent scientific studies that support the notion of actively seeking out wise counsel. They will also discuss the types of counsel you should avoid, the ones you should actively seek out, and what kind of questions you should ask your wise counsel when you finally build your team.

Transcript

Leh Meriwether: Oh, I'm ready for today, Todd.

Todd Orston: The gauntlet has been thrown. That seemed almost like a challenge.

Leh Meriwether: It was.

Todd Orston: All right. All right.

Leh Meriwether: We'll see how wise you are.

Todd Orston: I will meet you on the battlefield.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp, and you're listening to The Meriwether & Tharp Show. Here, you'll learn about divorce, family law, tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis, from time to time even tips on how to take your marriage to the next level. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at atlantadivorceteam.com.

Well, today's one of those days that we're going to talk about something that can help save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis and potentially keep you on the right track if you're in a good marriage, maybe take it to a whole new level, and you can even use these tips if you're in the middle of a divorce.

Todd Orston: And if you act now, we'll throw in a Ginsu knife. No, sorry, it was just ... You got a little infomercial-ly.

Leh Meriwether: I know. I just get excited. No, today we're going to talk about seeking wise counsel to build a thriving marriage or survive your divorce. I used or this time.

Todd Orston: So I'll give my number instead of yours? Ooh.

Leh Meriwether: Aye caramba.

Todd Orston: But jokes aside, we're not just talking about attorneys, looking to attorneys for wise counsel. Counsel can come from anyone, anywhere-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... and oftentimes, we have seen people look to all the wrong people in all the wrong places-

Leh Meriwether: Yes.

Todd Orston: ... and they take to heart advice that either is incorrect or not just is it incorrect, it is destined to put you on a very bad path, making bad decisions that can have a lasting impact on, let's say you're in the middle of a divorce or you're just struggling with your relationship and it starts pushing you in the wrong direction. So that's what we're talking about when we're talking about wise counsel.

Leh Meriwether: Yes, because we've seen situations where it's just as harmful as it could be helpful. So today we're going to talk about why it's so important, we're going to explore three kinds of counsel you should avoid, four kinds of counsel you should consider having, and five things to remember when choosing wise counsel for your healthy marriage.

Todd Orston: I was not taking notes. I don't ...

Leh Meriwether: Well, it's a good thing I wrote it down.

Todd Orston: Seven of something and 12 of another, I'm ...

Leh Meriwether: Well-

Todd Orston: Maybe we should just start talking.

Leh Meriwether: All right, so why should you seek out the wise advice of others? Well, we're going to talk about the wisdom of the ages and we're also going to talk about modern science. So are you ready for the history lesson?

Todd Orston: Remember, we have four segments, Leh, and this is not-

Leh Meriwether: I will be quick.

Todd Orston: ... and this is not History Today, all right? This is a totally different show, so-

Leh Meriwether: Well, what we see in marriages a lot of times is people will get, they'll be moving along, like you said, they may talk to the wrong folks. They don't actively seek out people that could help them in their marriage, help them take their marriage to the next level, perhaps help them get through a rough spot in their marriage. But going back three thousand years, King Solomon talked about, and many historians, regardless of religious beliefs, say that he was one of the wisest men that ever lived. In fact, I read something saying that he may have been the wealthiest man that ever lived because kings from all over would come pay him tons of gold and jewelry just to give his wise counsel to them. But he wrote down like, I'll just give a few of the proverbs, but was it Proverbs 12:15, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." And even if you're not a religious person, this is good stuff, and like I said, we're going to-

Todd Orston: This is good stuff.

Leh Meriwether: It's good stuff!

Todd Orston: Solomon right now, he's slapping his forehead. Did this guy just say, "This is good stuff"?

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, I did.

Todd Orston: This guy .... Anyway.

Leh Meriwether: Well, Proverbs 11:14, "Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors, there is victory." I've got a few more. I'll just do one more.

Todd Orston: One more.

Leh Meriwether: One more, all right. So Proverbs 13:10, "Through insolence comes nothing but strife. But wisdom is with those who receive counsel," and there's actually several more in Proverbs where they talk about-

Todd Orston: Not bad. I mean seriously. Kudos. These are not bad.

Leh Meriwether: They're not bad, yup.

Todd Orston: No, look. Seeking out counsel. There's a difference between seeking out counsel and just going to anyone who will be your sounding board and then relying on what that sounding board feeds you back in response. If you have a toothache, you're not going to go to your gardner and say, "Listen, you do a great job on my lawn. My tooth is hurting," and then when they say, "Oh, we probably need a weed whacker," well, that's horrible. That's ... Listen, you are not King Solomon, all right? But what we're talking about is, you have to be more deliberate. You're going to want sounding boards, fantastic. What they say in return, for the most part, take it with a grain of salt. If you are trying to fix something, go to the one, go to the person, the therapist, the religious leader, whoever it is that you think will be unbiased, meaning they're not just going to blindly take your side and give you the best advice possible in order to make positive changes that can hopefully fix whatever's broken.

Leh Meriwether: Yup, or help you stay on the right path so nothing does get broken.

Todd Orston: I just got high-fived by Solomon's ghost. All right?

Leh Meriwether: Well, not only him, but Aeschylus, who was a Greek playwright and religious thinker from-

Todd Orston: I thought Todd was an uncommon name. I mean, that's ... that name pretty much died out, I'll be honest with you.

Leh Meriwether: So he's from 500 B.C. He wrote, "Search well and be wise, nor believe that self-willed pride will ever be better than good counsel." And I can go beyond Greeks, I can talk about the Romans. There was Seneca, who lived between 4 B.C. and 65 A.D., who was a Roman stoic philosopher. He said, "Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment," and I don't stop there. I have one more, just one more. All right, Lord Francis Bacon from 15-

Todd Orston: Mm, bacon.

Leh Meriwether: I knew you were going to say that. See, I knew you would like this one. So from 1626, "There is as much difference between the counsel that a friend giveth," I like this, right, "and that a man giveth himself, as there is between the counsel of a friend and of a flatterer, for there is no such flatterer as is a man's self." Did you get that?

Todd Orston: You know what? Sir Bacon, because I would totally call him Sir Bacon. Maybe Lord Bacon.

Leh Meriwether: Lord Bacon.

Todd Orston: But he had a way with words.

Leh Meriwether: He did. So all these ancient philosophers and religious leaders all talked about wise counsel and what's really interesting now is that flash forward to today, modern science pretty much backs up what these thinkers said all those years ago, and if you read the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman in his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, you'll learn, and what he did was he pooled literally decades of research about how we come to decisions, a lot of it's talking about financial decisions, but how we come to decisions as human beings, and what he found through his research and what partly helped him win the Nobel Prize was we are emotional beings and we make emotional decisions. We fool ourselves into thinking they're rational decisions, but we're really controlled by emotion when it comes down to it, most of the time.

Todd Orston: Yeah, in so many aspects of our life, and it's not emotion, what people maybe misunderstand is, when we say it's an emotional, that we make emotional decisions, it doesn't mean you're super angry and making a decision. Some of these are, you're not even thinking about it.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: It's, these decisions are being made, meaning you are making them, but they're being made and you are heavily influenced by emotional factors, and so sales, when you talk to sales, you read anything about sales, they talk about how most purchases are made based on emotional desires and what have you.

Leh Meriwether: And then we'll rationalize it after the fact.

Todd Orston: Exactly. So when we talk about emotion, we're not talking about the you wear your emotions on your sleeve kind of emotions. All right? We're talking about things that are really deep, that you may not even understand that they are impacting decisions that you're making.

Leh Meriwether: Most of the time, you're not even aware of it. That's hwy it's so important to seek out wise counsel, because ... and we'll get into that too, here, in a minute, but there was also, I don't know if you ever watched the show Brain Games, I don't know if it's still on, but there was one where they had actually studied the responses, the emotional responses of someone being yelled at by like say a boss versus someone being attacked or confronted by a lion, and they said that from a psychological standpoint, our brains don't really know the difference between a boss screaming at us and a lion roaring at us. So even though the boss can't kill you, a lion can, but your emotional response can still be the same and what it causes is you to enter your fight or flight and protect yourself, either engage or run away, and you actually lose your short-term memory for certain points of time. It was a really fascinating show.

But the point is, in the middle of a divorce, that can really kick in and you can make some really poor decisions, and when we come back, we're going to talk about just why wise counsel is so important.

Hey Todd, we got another review and this time, it wasn't from you. Friendoregon gave us a five-star review and said, "I'm approaching a divorce with a very complex asset division. I've listened to so many podcasts, and this is by far the most informative and factual. Thank you so much for your wonderful presentation."

Todd Orston: I don't think I could've said it any better.

Leh Meriwether: Everyone, if you're enjoying the show, if you're getting a lot out of the show, we would love it if you could go post a five-star review and say something nice, at least about me. You don't have to say anything nice about Todd, but at least about me, because it helps us climb in the rankings so that we can help more people.

All right, admit it, Todd. You're impressed with all my quotes.

Todd Orston: No. I'm on the air. I'm not admitting that.

Leh Meriwether: He admitted it off the air.

Todd Orston: I'm trying to be ... Listen, you're doing a fine job. That was very Solomon-esque, right? I'm splitting the baby here.

Leh Meriwether: Oh boy. Welcome, everyone. This is Leh and Todd you're listening to the Meriwether & Tharp Show. If you want to learn more about us, you can always check us out online at atlantadivorceteam.com. If you want to hear all those great quotes that I gave earlier in the earlier segment, you can go check us out online at divorceteamradio.com and there should be a transcript up there, as well, so you can read these great quotes. I wish I made them. I just found them, and I just read them to you, and Todd was really impressed, so you should see in his face.

All right, so we're talking about wise counsel and how important it is to actually seek out wise counsel. We tend to just sit back and just go about our lives and go about our marriages and not surround ourselves with the right people and as a result, we can surround ourselves with the wrong people and suddenly find ourselves facing a crisis in our marriage or even a divorce. So the reason why seeking them out, sort of to summarize what we talked about, the great philosophers and what some neuroscience says about how our brains make decisions, it that there's three really overriding reasons why you should have wise counsel around you.

First off, wise counsel's not blinded by your pride, because pride blinds all of us, and all too often, pride can put us in a position that we're blinded by what's really happening around us. We tell ourselves, "You know, I know what I'm doing. I don't need anyone else to tell me something that I don't already know," or "I'm not doing anything wrong. This situation is all their fault because my wife will ... she just won't do this," or "My husband refuses to do that." But we're blinded by our pride and maybe our spouse is doing something and it seems like it's all their fart but ... fault, but it could be because of something that we're doing that we can't see because we're blinded by our pride.

Todd Orston: Did you just say that it was blinded by a fart? Normally I would let that one go, but I mean, that was-

Leh Meriwether: I thought you were going to let that one go. That was an accident.

Todd Orston: As most farts are. But you're right, not only are you blinded by farts, but pride absolutely gets in the way, end of story. I mean, we are litigators, all right? We are trained to litigate. It's a nice way of saying to engage in a fight of words. Okay? And so we don't like to back down, but we at least are trained, because we're not going into litigation emotional. We are trying to be logical. We are trying to go in and not allow emotion to dictate our behavior or affect our behavior, and unfortunately, when it's you, when it's happening to you, you can't do that. You are caught up in the emotion, you're caught up in the pride of, "I need to be right. I am right. The other party has to be the one that's wrong and I'm going to just take a hard position and fight to prove that."

Leh Meriwether: And you know what's interesting, you said that we're trained not to do this, but even inside our own firm, sometimes ... well, no, not sometimes. Most of the time, we'll go double check with some other lawyer inside our firm, where we'll say, "Hey, I'm taking this position in this case. Do you think I'm crazy? Do you think I'm-

Todd Orston: Well, we have a policy. We have a two-eye policy for exactly that reason, because it's-

Leh Meriwether: Because we can, even though we think ... So even us, who have been trained to be logical, we can fall prey to an emotional decision, and so even within our own firm, we try to double check ourselves. So we-

Todd Orston: Yup. Yup. We have that ability. But when you're just engaging with, let's say, your spouse or even a former spouse, you don't have that ability to say, "Wait. What did you say? Hold on one second. Let me check with my wise counsel here. Should I take that in a negative way or a positive way, and am I sort of at fault? Maybe I am? Okay. Now I have a response. Thank you very much." You don't have that ability to do that. We do-

Leh Meriwether: Not on the fly.

Todd Orston: Not on the fly. We have the ability, because it's not on the fly. But even when we are in court, because we're not caught up in the emotion, we can inject more logic than you might be able to when it's something that's happening directly to you.

Leh Meriwether: Yup, and so wise counsel does not get clouded by your emotions, either. So our emotions, your emotions, can get clouded, whether it's sorrow, depression, hate, anger, any of those things, the neuroscience shows-

Todd Orston: Fear.

Leh Meriwether: Fear, yeah.

Todd Orston: You were talking about fight or flight.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, fear.

Todd Orston: So that is an emotion, and not only can it blind you or not only can it affect you, but you were even saying that you might have the inability to recall because your brain is doing something chemically and it's like, "You may get eaten by a lion. We're not going to save that information, just in case you do get eaten." So you may not be 100% present and able to engage rationally because you are too caught up in the emotion.

Leh Meriwether: And I've even seen cases where the loss of a child or parent, one of the spouse's parents, causes so much heartache that the parties wind up getting a divorce, or what'll happen is the heartache or sorrow, depression, they wind up saying, "Well, this is the fault of my spouse," whereas wise counsel around them might say, "You know what, I think you're still struggling with the death of your daughter or your son. I think you need to go get into counseling." So wise counsel is going to call you on that, especially if they see ... because they're not blinded by that depression in that situation. You know, wise counsel's like a lighthouse in the fog of emotion that makes it difficult to think.

The last thing is, wise counsel is not overcome by your stress, because stress can prevent us from thinking or self-evaluating. The stress can come from the inside of a relationship or the outside of a relationship. Maybe you've come home, you've had a rough time at work and then you find yourself lashing out at the children or your spouse and your wife points it out, "Hey, I think you're a little angry today," and then you just lash out at her instead of going, "Well, hang on a minute. I need to self-evaluate. Maybe she's right." So whatever the reason, you have a tough time accepting what is obvious to all of those around you.

Todd Orston: And it is hard. I've gotten angry. Everyone has gotten angry at-

Leh Meriwether: I haven't.

Todd Orston: I've seen you, big bear. I've seen you get angry. No, but it is, I'm not going to sit here and try and pretend like it is just so easy, anyone can just control their emotion and not allow stress to affect your behavior. It can be almost impossible, or at least feel almost impossible, but it is. It is possible, and if you have wise counsel, if you have found a circle of trust, people or a person that you can look to, not someone who is just 100% blindly going to take your side-

Leh Meriwether: Right. Not a cheerleader. You don't want a cheerleader.

Todd Orston: Right, and then is just going to build on your emotion. But someone who will be your rock, someone who will be very calm and not caught up in that maelstrom, in that storm, then that's going to help you immensely and hopefully, it will allow you to navigate and deal with whatever the issues are, not heavily influenced by that stress.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, so the three reasons why you should actively seek out the wise counsel is to help with things that you can't necessarily control yourself, and help point out maybe your own faults, things that you can't see and those ... and sometimes it's very difficult to listen to those that are closest to us, as strange as that may sound, but sometimes those closest to us, when they perhaps make an observation of what they see, the behavior, you can see the person on the other end just get very defensive, even though that person, you would think that that should be their closest counsel because they're their spouse. I mean, they love them, they married them, they had kids with them. But yet for some reason, we get so defensive right off the bat when it's our spouse calling us out on something. But that's why you've got to have wise counsel.

All right, so we're going to talk about now the three kinds of counsel you really should avoid. We kind of talked about the cheerleader, and like in the context of a divorce, you want to avoid someone who's going through a divorce. If you're at a point in your marriage where you're maybe struggling with an issue, you don't want someone who's in the middle of a divorce. They're like, "Yeah," because they're going to want you to sort of go through the divorce too, and I don't know about you, Todd, but I have literally seen subdivisions all get divorced where like one person starts the divorce process and then in this particular case, it was one of the neighbors, the woman talked to the other woman and she's like, "You know, my husband has been acting kind of weird, too," and "Well, you should get a divorce," and I'm not saying it was that simple, but next thing you know, three neighbors are all getting divorced, and it's-

Todd Orston: Yeah, and that doesn't mean ... Just so you understand, we're not saying don't talk to people who are going through a divorce.

Leh Meriwether: Right, yeah. I'm not saying that.

Todd Orston: I think the recurring message is going to be, take what is said to you with a grain of salt. Understand your situation is not the same as theirs, and then make your decisions.

Leh Meriwether: And up next, we're going to talk about the two other types of counsel you should avoid.

Todd Orston: Hey everyone, you're listening to our podcast, but you have alternatives. You have choices. You can listen to us live also at 1 a.m. on Monday morning on WSB.

Leh Meriwether: If you're enjoying the show, we would love it if you could go rate us on iTunes or wherever you may be listening to it. Give us a five-star rating and tell us why you like the show.

Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp, and you're listening to The Meriwether & Tharp Show. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at atlantadivorceteam.com.

Well today, we're talking all about wise counsel and actually seeking out wise counsel to help you build a thriving marriage and get through those rough spots sometimes. A lot of times people, they get in a rut of life and they get blinded by their pride or emotion and they don't think to create a group of wise counsel around them and often what they'll do is they'll get the wrong type of people around them that ultimately lead them to a divorce. We've seen it time and time again, and so that's why we wanted to spend ... This was one of those shows where we're talking about things you can do to strengthen your marriage, to maybe get your marriage through a rough spot.

We started with talking about the three types of counsel you really should avoid, and right now we're focusing on you should avoid these if you're trying to have a strong, healthy marriage. So you want to avoid someone going through a divorce, and I'm not saying you don't come alongside them and help them. I'm not saying that at all. What I'm saying is, you're not going to them for marriage advice.

Todd Orston: Yeah, they can be the sounding board for you, you can be the sounding board for them, but we're talking about wise counsel. So should they be the end-all, be-all source of advice to help you deal with whatever it is you're dealing with? No, they're caught up in their own situation. They're dealing with their own emotional turmoil and their own issues and therefore, relying on them just wouldn't even make sense.

Leh Meriwether: And sometimes they can become your cheerleader, and not in a good way, meaning-

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: ... they're cheerleading, "Yeah, you should file divorce."

Todd Orston: "Get a divorce. Get a divorce. It's pretty easy. I can do it, I did it, I'm in the middle of it. Yeah, I've got a good name for an attorney, absolutely."

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: But that may be exactly what you don't need. You may rather have someone who's whispering in your ear things like, "Slow down. Hold on. I understand that this happened and that happened, but why don't you go talk to a therapist? Why don't you go talk to someone who maybe can help you through this? Why don't you at least take a day or two before you react?" to calm you down, rather than build up that emotion.

Leh Meriwether: So the next person, our next type of counsel you should avoid, is a person of the opposite sex, with the exception of like a professional relationship like a counselor or psychologist, a lawyer, clergy, any of those. So putting aside the professional relationships, we have seen so many divorces start with somebody at work talking to someone of the opposite sex and they're complaining about, "Oh, my wife did this," or "My husband did that," and then next thing you know, they're like, "You know what? My spouse does that too, and wow, we have something in common. Oh, you get me. You know what it's like," and next thing you know, we have an office romance.

Todd Orston: Or even if you don't. Let's not even jump to that possibility. Even if you don't start some kind of an office romance, the minute that the other party gets wind, catches wind of the fact that your confidante is somebody of the opposite sex that you work with-

Leh Meriwether: Yup. Good point.

Todd Orston: ... assumptions will be made. All right? So you have to be very careful and again, I know I'm sort of parroting this same point, it doesn't mean you can't talk to somebody, a member of the opposite sex. Should you be looking to that person to step into the role of one of your wise counselors? And the answer is no, you probably shouldn't, because you may have absolutely ... The other thing I would say is, your motivations might be pure. The person is a good listener, I want to just explain things, I just need someone that can hear what my issues are and give me some advice, but you don't know what that person's motivations are.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: Maybe that person is interested in you. Maybe that person would like nothing more than to see your marriage break down so they can step into that position.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, so they're not really ... and we'll talk about the type of wise counsel to choose and you'll understand, there's a question to ask in there and that person, knowing that they may have some-

Todd Orston: Ulterior motive.

Leh Meriwether: Exactly, that would not make them wise counsel. All right, for you, in this particular situation. Again, the exception is a counselor, a psychologist, a member of the clergy, whether it be a rabbi, a priest, or a pastor, or imam or whatever. That's a professional relationship.

All right, so the last one, this may sound weird, but is family members. Now, there are exceptions to this, but one of the challenges to having a family member as one of your wise counsel, is that maybe you're going through a rough patch and you tell your dad, "Hey, I'm having all these troubles and ...." but then you get through that rough patch and you forgive your spouse, but your dad may not or your mom may not. So the problem with going to family members is it can create tension down the road, because they don't want to ... they're not there for that forgiveness part, and that ... Like I said, there are exceptions to that, there are parents that'll call you, that maybe they are really good at that and they realize there's two sides to every conversation. But often ... I mean, we want to protect our children, and so-

Todd Orston: And they may have their own emotional baggage. They may already ... How many times have we heard, "I never liked him or her"?

Leh Meriwether: Yes.

Todd Orston: "Oh, I remember back in 1978, we had a ..." Well, I don't care what happened back then, and the fact that you're carrying that baggage with you, that has nothing to do with your relationship with the person right now today. So unfortunately, that wise counsel is dragging their own emotional baggage into the conversation and allowing it to influence their opinion, and so if the opinion is, "Oh yeah, absolutely. What he or she did, it's wrong and just why don't you come stay with us, move out of the house, do this, do that," that's not really ... that's not wise counsel. It may end up being what has to happen, and maybe you do separate, but it shouldn't be because somebody who is clearly biased in your favor and maybe has their own baggage is giving you this kind of advice.

Leh Meriwether: Exactly. All right, so let's talk about the four types of wise counsel you should consider including. Now, sometimes counsel may not be just people. It doesn't necessarily have to be someone who's right in front of you, so one of them is reading books, listening to podcasts. If you're listening to this podcast, you're already on the right path.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: But I mean, because you're learning, you're growing.

Todd Orston: What about the story? You told a story about someone listening to, was it our show?

Leh Meriwether: It was our show, yeah.

Todd Orston: That's right, and where a gentleman listened to the show and was-

Leh Meriwether: It was one of our reviews.

Todd Orston: ... and was sort of on the fence and instead of taking what we said the wrong way and moving towards hiring us and going forward with a divorce, actually invited his spouse to listen to the show-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, we had two shows on communication about taking your marriage to the next level.

Todd Orston: That's right, and they were able to both put their ... not actual, but the weapons down, communicate better, fix what was broken, and their marriage was stronger for it.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, and so they didn't get a divorce.

Todd Orston: So it can be podcasts, books, whatever.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, so that's the first thing to start listening to. The next thing is professionals, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, clergy, and I include psychiatrists in there because so many times, people are afraid of that word. They're like, "Oh, if I see a psychiatrist, there's something really wrong with me." Well, the brain is an organ just like your heart, and if you don't have a problem seeing a heart doctor, or maybe you're an asthmatic or maybe you suffer from diabetes or whatever it may be, you have to take medication to treat that. Well, the brain is an organ too, and maybe you suffer from clinical depression and there is actually a product out there that can make up for whatever the deficiency in your neurons that process whether it be dopamine or serotonin or any of those things. A good psychiatrist can help you fix that.

Todd Orston: Absolutely. I took my son once to a concert, Imagine Dragons, and the lead singer apparently suffers from depression and a lot of his messaging throughout the show was, "Don't be afraid. I see people or see someone and don't be one of those that feels uncomfortable, scared, whatever. Go get the help that you need." So a good psychiatrist, and I'm not saying every single one is falling to that category, so you have to be selective and you have to be careful, but a good psychiatrist can be invaluable to give you all the help that you need to weather the emotional storm that you might find yourself in.

Leh Meriwether: And a professional ... So let's say you don't need that sort of, you don't need drugs or prescription medication to help work through something, but maybe you're just struggling for whatever, at a moment in your life and that counselor is a professional and they can help you work through it, whether it's a transition at work or the death of a loved one or something like that, apart from your spouse, like a parent or a best friend. That can help you work through a difficult time so it doesn't negatively impact your marriage.

All right, so the next one is positive role models. When you're looking for a positive role model, you want to look to a lot of times couples, because we're talking right now about wise counsel to strengthen your marriage, but couples that have been married for a long time, and observe what they do right. I know that one of my role models was my grandfather and nana. They were married 65 years. They were a very positive role model, and I know if they were still alive today, if I had any issues, I would be going to them, because what a great role model.

Hey, and up next, we're going to continue to dive into the types of wise counsel you should consider.

I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to listen to the show live, you can listen at 1 a.m. on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there, as well.

Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep, I guess, right?

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

Todd Orston: You can turn on the show and we'll help you fall asleep.

Leh Meriwether: There you go.

Todd Orston: I'll talk very soft.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. You're listening to The Meriwether & Tharp Show. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at atlantadivorceteam.com. I'm talking quick because we're in the last segment, unfortunately, and we're talking about how to surround yourself with wise counsel to help build a thriving marriage, because so often people don't do that and sometimes they get the wrong people around them and it can ultimately lead to a divorce, unfortunately.

When we left off, we were talking about the four types of counsel you should include in that, and I had actually mentioned my grandfather. Now, some might say, "Well, isn't he a family member? Wouldn't that run afoul of one of the three types you should avoid?" And he is one of those exceptions, because growing up, he would call me out. That's the kind of guy he was, and my parents, they've been married over 50 years, but they're closer to me and while I have gone to them on occasion, but they're a little too close to it. He's a little more removed, and so I would be comfortable going to him because I know he's going to call me on the carpet if he thinks I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing.

All right, so positive role models. Look for someone that's where you want to be in the future. Maybe someone who at least ... Obviously you don't know everyone, but at least on the surface if it looks like they've got a good balance between faith, family, and work, that may be someone who you want to talk to.

All right, and then lastly, marriage groups and seminars. Here's a good example. Dr. Gary Chapman, he was on our show about a little over a year ago talking about the five love languages, and my wife and I have been to a lot of seminars and we signed up for his seminar. I hadn't been to his seminar, even though I'd read a few of his books, and that morning, we were like, "Oh man, we have so much to do. Maybe we shouldn't go," and we were like, "You know what? Let's go." Man, I walked away with so many great tips from his seminar that ... I mean, we're using them every day, and I am so thankful, we're both thankful, and what was really great was when we walked out of there, we were like ... we almost said it simultaneously, "I'm so glad we went." So you never know what you're going to learn at one of these marriage seminars.

Todd Orston: Well, you know what? If I were to summarize it in any way, it's you have to put some effort in, you have to put some time in. Whether you're listening to a podcast, listening to a radio show, speaking with individuals that you think aren't going to be caught up in the emotion and will be unbiased, going to seminars or working with a marriage group, you have to put the time in. It's not going to be easy. Nothing that we're saying comes easy. It's going to take work, you're going to have to figure out who can you trust, who becomes your counselor, and how much time am I willing to put into fixing what might be broken, and so marriage groups and seminars and things fall squarely into that category. Is it going to take time? Absolutely, but if you walk away, if you're dealing with a stress in your life, an issue in your marriage, and you walk away with that same feeling that you just described, well, was the two, three, four hour seminar worth it? In my opinion, of course.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, it was actually, it was an all day one. It was-

Todd Orston: Well, that's not worth it, though.

Leh Meriwether: Or it's doubly worth it. All right, well let's talk about the five things to consider when you're actually looking for those wise counsel, because we've talked all about the wise counsel, but there's certain things that you should be looking out for. The first thing, and there are situations ... Well, sometimes you can have general wise counsel, then other times, you can have situational wise counsel.

So you're looking for someone that's outside of the situation. If you feel like you're heading towards a divorce, you don't want to talk to someone who's in the middle of a divorce. You want to talk to someone who's in a healthy marriage, a healthy relationship, someone who's outside of the situation, outside your immediate situation. So maybe friends that are friends to ... they don't want to get in the middle of it, like maybe neighbors, they're like, "Yeah, I don't want to get involved. I don't want to be called into court." So you've got to go to someone who's outside of the situation. So that's one of the things to consider.

The other thing is, choose someone who has nothing to lose by telling you the truth, and that's not my saying, that totally comes from Andy Stanley. In fact, many of these top five things come from a course he had done years ago, so I don't want to ... I want to give him full credit for this, but-

Todd Orston: Well, to use as an example, your parents might fall into that category and they might not, meaning they may be people who have something to lose. I've seen cases where parents were unwilling, like I talked offline with, let's say, a client's parents and they expressed concerns but when push came to shove, they were unwilling to say anything because they were fearful that it could impact their relationship with their grandchildren.

Leh Meriwether: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yup.

Todd Orston: So unfortunately, they had something to lose and therefore, the counsel they might be giving may not be the best counsel possible.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, so look for someone who has nothing to lose by telling you the truth. Choose someone who is where you want to be in life. Going back to the reason my grandfather, married 65 years, and we had such a solid relationship, he would tell me the truth. But that's where I wanted to ... and my wife even recognizes it, like that that's the kind of marriage that I want to, and when we're walking along with our walkers, we're still trying to hold each other's hand, so that's where I want to be.

Todd Orston: Yeah. Sounds dangerous, but I get it, I understand the concept. No, but I actually, I love this one because if you surround yourself by, to use that previous example, a bunch of people who are in the middle of a divorce, is that the person you want to emulate? Is that where you want to be? Because by surrounding yourself with those people, with that negative energy, and maybe they're not counseling you, like telling you, "Get a divorce. Get a divorce," but still, you are surrounding yourself by people dealing with similar frustrations, similar stress in their life, and if that's who you want to be, then you may be, unfortunately, writing your history, meaning you may be just setting yourself up for failure because that's all the counsel that you're getting, as opposed to somebody in a healthy relationship where you're like, "You know what, I want to get to where you are. What am I doing wrong?"

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, and so here's a real important point. Ask more than one person.

Todd Orston: Oh, I ... Listen. I believe in this so much, I remember before GPS, I was that-

Leh Meriwether: This ought to be good.

Todd Orston: I was that guy that I would stop at a gas station to get directions, and I would stop at the very next gas station to get a second opinion. So you're laughing, I absolutely am telling the truth. I hated getting lost, so I absolutely would ask more than one person, and so taking it from my inability to navigate to a relationship, it's also navigation. Right?

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: You need to get from A to B. You need to get from the start to the finish, whatever that finish looks like, and if you want it to be a positive finish, then don't just rely on one person, especially if your, for lack of a better way of putting it, your Spidey sense is tingling. If the advice that you're getting is like, "Oh, leave him. Leave her. Divorce, divorce, divorce, divorce," take a step back and go, "Maybe I need to talk to some more people who aren't caught up in the emotion, because I think the person I'm talking to is really emotional, giving me advice to just run away and leave. I think I need to talk to somebody else."

Leh Meriwether: Yeah, but even if that person's telling you something that you're like, "Wow, that sounds like really good advice. That sounds like ..." still get a second-

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: ... second, third opinion, because maybe they aren't the best wise counsel. Maybe they've become your cheerleader rather than telling you the truth, and you don't know until you talk to a number of folks. Now, if all three, if you have three or four around you and they're all pretty much telling you the same thing, you probably want to follow what they're saying.

All right, so here's another tip that I really like. These are direct questions that you should ask your wise counsel, and ask of of all of them. So what is the wise thing for me to do in this situation? Just ask them that question, and another way to say it is, "What would you do if you were me?" Because then in that situation, kind of the pressure's off, because they'll say, "Well, if this were me, this is how I would handle it," because sometimes people are hesitant to say, "I think this is how you should handle it," because they're telling you what to do, per se. But it's like, "Well, if it were me, here's what I would do."

Todd Orston: You're taking that pressure off.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: You're saying, "Okay, put yourself in my shoes. What would you do?"

Leh Meriwether: Yup. So, "Do you know anyone else that I could talk to about this situation?" Because the person may, that person you're talking to, they may have gone through a similar life experience and they talked to two people that helped them get through it, so you go talk to those two people.

And then the last question would be, "Can you recommend any books for me to read that may help me understand and deal with my situation?" So those things, putting all that together, can surround yourself with positive role models, positive influences in your life to help you get through a really tough situation that you may be struggling with in your marriage, and may help you to avoid ever getting in that situation, as well.

Todd Orston: Listen, that's the purpose of this show. We want you to avoid. We don't want you to have to call a divorce attorney. We would rather you spend your time contacting a person you trust that is trustworthy to try and fix the problems before they get to a point where you feel it's unfixable.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah. One thing we can't avoid?

Todd Orston: We're out of time.

Leh Meriwether: We're out of time. Hey everyone, thanks so much for listening.