Scrollings through the channels on the small monitor attached to my elliptical machine, something I heard immediately grabbed my attention.  “Judge, I can’t take it anymore. He’s home 24/7. I want a divorce,” she said casting an evil eye sideway at the slightly disheveled man at the next podium. Ah, I thought, this is going to be a great episode of Divorce Court. The judge, in pure Hollywood style, tried to pick apart the relevent issues while eliciting frequent chuckles from the court room/tv audience.

“Now Mrs….” the judge asked, why exactly are you here today?” “Your Honor, he never wants to leave the house. He just stays in the room on that computer of his all day long. And when he’s not doing that, he’s watching those stupid sci-fi movies on the television. I need to be around people, and he’s a hermit. I never thought retirement would be like this.” So far, I was definitely on her side.

The judge asked another probing question. “What did both of you do before retirement?” The woman straightened up and tossed her long, dark hair back off her shoulder. “He was a computer engineer, and I was a hairdresser. You see (using her hand to make the point) I am up here, and he is down here. We have nothing in common.”

Now the judge turned her attention to the defendant. Salt and pepper beard, hunched over ready to give his side of the story. “Mr….,” the judge said, “do you sit all day at your computer and do nothing else but watch sci-fi movies?” With a half grin and amiable tone, he replied. “Well, I am computer engineer, and I still do some work from home. And, yea, I like sci-fi, but she watches those reality shows that I don’t like. I don’t gripe at her about it.”

Thus, the verbal ping-pong match continued for 30 mintes (with commercial breaks, of course). I had no intention of getting off that elliptical until that case was resolved because it was getting good! After all the he said and she said bickering was over, the judge was ready to rule. I was no longer convinced who should prevail because, to tell the truth, I was beginning to like the defendant. He made me laugh and  seemed like such an easy-going, ready-to-please kind of guy.

“Mr. and Mrs….,” the judge addressed them both, “I think you two don’t need to get a divorce. Mrs…, I like your husband. He’s funny, and I think he would be a hoot to live with. Also, I think he has gone out of his way to accommodate you with some of your less than wise expenditures. There are too many of what I call “gray divorces” these days. People need to figure out before retirement something they have in common to enjoy together. Now, you two remember what you liked about each other when you fell in love. Mrs…, watch some sci-fi with him, and Mr…., watch some reality shows with her. I think you can make a go of this. That’s my ruling.”

Well, you don’t see that often. Usually, episodes of Divorce Court end with two angry people leaving the courtroom, vowing never to have any contact with each other ever again. This was different. I felt good about their future together and didn’t want them to become victims of a “gray divorce.”  The judge was right. Shifting our focus from all the things that irritate us about another person to all the things that endear them to us can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes we just need someone to bring that to our attention, hopefully, not in Divorce Court.