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Marry a Lawyer? Are You Crazy?

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but the question psychologist Fiona Travis raises is a perpetual one: Would someone have to be crazy to marry a lawyer? "It's not that lawyers lack relationship-building skills," she writes in a post at the blog Lawyer Avenue. "But, overworked, overburdened and squeezed by time -- and now, the worst downturn in two decades -- lawyers do exhibit communication and intimacy breakdowns peculiar to their education, their professional training and work environment."

And that is one of the nicer things she has to say about lawyers as marriage prospects. Consider:

  • "The same traits that bring lawyers success in the workplace also interfere with their achieving meaningful, intimate relationships in the home."
  • "When one combines the lawyer personality with the lessons learned in law school, the combination makes for great courtroom drama … but is also counter-productive in an intimate interaction with one’s spouse."
  • "Individual lawyers may not have all the characteristics, but -- when they’re honest -- they will recognize that they possess such marriage-straining attributes as ambition, narcissism, skepticism, defensiveness, perfectionism and the need to be in control."
  • "A disproportionate number of people who are less emotionally astute gravitate into the legal profession."

She's convinced me: Lawyers make lousy lovers. If anyone reading this is considering marriage to a lawyer, turn and run now. Travis makes this abundantly clear. That is her point, right?

But wait. Turns out Travis is married to -- you guessed it -- a lawyer. On top of that, she is the author of a book about how to succeed in such a marriage: Should You Marry a Lawyer: A Couple’s Guide to Balancing Work, Love & Ambition. As it further turns out, the point of her post is not necessarily to counsel against marriage to lawyers as much as to counsel lawyers on how to be better spouses. So there is hope, after all, for star-crossed lawyers.

If you are interested in her advice about marriage, I will leave you to read her full post. I will tell you a slight spoiler. It boils down to this: The bedroom is not the courtroom. What works in the latter will fail in the former. Unless, of course, your spouse is also a lawyer.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 17, 2009 at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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