Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 201 • Houston, Texas 77027-3139

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Divorce & the Dead Battery Syndrome


Divorce avoidance is simple. When most people think of marriage, they consider the many common benefits that it offers to each spouse. Marriage offers financial stability, financial rewards, companionship, friendship, sexuality, and intimacy. It offers a degree of pride in the spouse that you’ve chosen — someone to show off at the company party, to go with you on a picnic, to join your family, to provide you with children, among others.

Why then is this article entitled “Divorce and the Dead Battery Syndrome”?

Many years ago, I filed a divorce for a 55 year-old Houston lady. Things were progressing rather smoothly. She and her husband were above average economic means, so finances just did not seem to be a problem. Their children were grown and well adjusted.

One morning I came into my Houston office about 7:15 in the morning to a ringing phone. I didn’t answer the phone because I did not want to be disturbed on a project that I was working on. The phone immediately rang a second time. I still did not answer it. The phone immediately rang a third time. On the third ring, I realized that it was probably a client frantically trying to get a hold of me. I assumed that it was either some type of major emergency, or one of my clients thought we were supposed to be in court at 9:00 a.m., so I picked up the phone.

My Houston client was on the phone in a near hysterical state. It took her a minute or two to calm down enough to tell me what was wrong.

When she went out to her car that morning to go to work, the car’s battery was dead.

Now I’m thinking that I have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, a Master’s degree in finance and accounting, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence, but I don’t know much about batteries other than that they go dead occasionally. When they do, you hire a mechanic or a wrecker driver and the battery gets fixed for a price. I finally asked her why she was calling me about a dead battery.

Clearly frustrated, she replied

“my husband has always taken care of these things and I do not know what to do.”

I advised her to call a neighborhood service station. Later that day she called me up and thanked me for my advice. The light bulb went on – there are intangible benefits to marriage that this lady had never thought about and certainly never valued. I wondered how many times over the years she had thanked her husband when she had a dead battery. Probably never.

Couples regularly focus on the big items that one expects in a marriage. What they don’t realize that marriage offers numerous intangible benefits. Benefits that, when added up, really enrich one’s life, deepen the relationship, and are undervalued. Some of the intangible benefits are simple things – like taking care of the wash, going to the grocery store, paying the bills, being present when a repairman has to come during the day, running an errand at 10:00 p.m. for a sick spouse, bringing a spouse a glass of water when they’re in bed, asking a spouse how their day went, finding an article in the newspaper that you know is of interest to your spouse. If more people would stop and reflect upon the small and intangible benefits of marriage and realize that the intangible benefits really do make your life a lot richer, maybe a few more marriages could be saved and not end in divorce.

Divorce avoidance is simple. The next time you have a dead battery, instead of being mad, think of all the intangible benefits in your marriage. Then put a smile on your face and give your spouse a kiss.

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C.Houston Divorce Attorneys

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