Shared by Waverly J. Hanson with permission of The Macomb Daily by Susan Smiley
Most people don’t know each other as well as they think they do.
Clinton Township attorney Anthony Urbani has been practicing family law for more than 30 years. Through listening to his clients and understanding the things that shatter relationships, he believes he has developed a keen understanding for the ingredients needed to make a relationship succeed.
“It requires a great deal of humility and a great deal of commitment,” Urbani said.
Since the COVID pandemic, divorce has increased after being on the decline for several years. The disruption in long-standing family routines and so many people working from home the past months are things cited as contributing to the increase in couples splitting up.
Based on his experience as a divorce lawyer, Urbani came up with a list of what is needed to maintain a successful and happy relationship. He calls his manifesto “increasing the love factors and decreasing the risk factors” in a relationship.
Here are Urbani’s main points:
- Know yourself and know the other person.
- Understand what is important to you in life and what isn’t.
- What are you willing to fight for and give up and what are you willing to stand for?
- Observe and really listen to the other person to learn what their priorities are.
- Proper and clear communication.
- Communicate clearly to the other person the things that are important to you.
- There is a difference between listening and hearing someone.
- Communication must be done on a regular and consistent basis.
- Recognize that some messages may have to be communicated multiple times.
- Testing is important. It sounds risky, and to a certain extent it is, but it is important.
- Forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes. Set aside anger, recognize guilt, and be willing to do the work to maintain the relationship.
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Urbani notes that the kind of conversation and communication that is needed to determine long-term compatibility is often not part of the dating process. When something stresses a marriage or long-term relationship — like the COVID pandemic for example — it is often the first time a couple has discussed the “what ifs” presented by such a situation.
“When we’re dating, we don’t talk about things like ‘well, what if the worst thing happened; how are we going to support each other’,” said Urbani. “We don’t talk about what is important to us or what we see in the other person that we like. We are frightened to lose that relationship so we just try to enjoy the time together.”
While Urbani’s revelation about relationship risk factors may not affect the number of people seeking divorce, it has affected the way he approaches his business. He’s not a marriage counselor by any means, but he now looks at his cases with a different eye.
“This assignment that I posed on myself to come up with what it takes to have a successful relationship has given me a new outlook on different things,” Urbani said.
“I am still going to put on my suit of armor and fight for you to the max, but I want to know the big picture. Can I use my skills to help marriages rather than pull them apart? I think I can improve relationships but I don’t know if I can save them. People have to be willing to make the effort required.
Clinton Township attorney Anthony Urbani has a new approach to divorce law after contemplating what is needed for a successful relationship.
By SUSAN SMILEY | The Macomb Daily
Marriage Counselor & Author
In my personal life, I have had a long successful marriage and have remarried following my husband's death. I have had three sons and helped raise a niece for three years and have seven grandchildren. I have loved spending time with them as they were growing up.
I also enjoy getting together with family and friends, ATVing in the mountains, photography, hiking, and traveling. I also enjoy reading, creating art, decorating, and serving others by volunteering.
Assisting couples in rebuilding their marriages has been so rewarding as I've had the privilege of seeing hundreds of couples reunite and get back to being positively connected to one another.
I also work with personal development and those who want to move forward by making positive improvements such as goal setting, self-care, boundaries, behavioral improvements, overcoming procrastination, conflict management, etc.