Mark Perlmutter is back for the final post in his six-part series on law school lessons that are not advisable for a healthy home life. Be sure to read the first, second, third, fourth and fifth posts if you missed them. Mark is a Texas trial lawyer turned counselor who helps individuals (many of whom are former lawyers) have better relationships. Welcome back, Mark!
This is the final installment of our series. Until now, we’ve explored the costs of winning, squelching emotions, premature problem-solving, excessive alcohol consumption, and compromising without attending to the process of compromise. Here, we look at the perils of offering unsolicited advice.
As “learned counsel,” we’re paid handsomely for our sage advice—and with good reason. We’re highly intelligent, highly educated, and highly skilled. We see ourselves as experts and are accustomed to having our clients accept our advice on faith.
“If only our intimate partners would do the same,” we’re tempted to think, “everything would be just fine.”
In the heat of an argument, I’ve remembered thinking, “if only she would just listen to me, I figured out what we needed to do an hour ago!” Only problem is our partners haven’t asked, much less paid, for our advice. They most certainly may see things differently. But even if they ultimately agree with us, they may need to have their perspectives at least heard and respected before arriving at a conclusion.
And now that we’ve come to the end of our series, it’s time to consider whether there’s any hope for our personal relationships, given the fact that we’ll continue to practice at work (at least five of) these habits that are antithetical to success at home.
We can begin with the recognition that intimacy is a wholly different context than lawyering. And that different context comes with different goals. In contradistinction to the goals of litigation, the paramount goal of a romantic partnership is to grow the relationship, that is, to resolve our inevitable differences so as to enhance the feeling of connectedness—so that hopefully our differences can actually bring us closer.
Thanks, Mark. This was a fantastic series!
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A former Texas Trial Lawyer, Mark Perlmutter, MA, JD now helps individuals and couples to have more satisfying business and intimate relationships. He also works with couples and families of people with substance abuse issues, mediates, and is an Adjunct Professor of Law at UC Hastings and the University of Texas School of Law. He can be contacted via email or phone at 415-857-4065.
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And check out the rest of the posts in this series:
- Six Things Learned in Law School That Shouldn’t Be Tried at Home
- Don’t Try This Law School Trick at Home: How to Squelch Emotions
- Six Things We Learned in Law School: How to Solve Problems
- How to Drink: A Skill That May Have Been Pre-Learned and Finely Honed in Law School
- Six Things We Learned in Law School: How (NOT) to Compromise
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