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Couple divides house in two rather than divorcing

There is no question that divorce is hard on families. So one innovative Rhode Island couple came up with a plan that both saved their marriage and split their home. It’s a genius plan.

For artist Allison Paschke and computer engineer John Danskin, both in their 50s, it was the little things that seemed to be breaking their marriage. They were always fighting over minutiae. But of course, anyone who has been married five minutes knows it’s the little things that kill you. My husband and I see eye to eye on the big-picture items — where we want to raise our children, how, etc. But sometimes the little things throw us over the edge. I mean, honestly, how many places can he leave his socks?

More: Divorce much more likely among those who marry after age 32

Enter: the Paschke/Danskin plan.

The two bought a loft in Providence and converted it into two living spaces. Two bedrooms. Two kitchens. Two living rooms. You get the picture. The result has been a better marriage. They eat dinner together most nights and even sleep together most nights, but they also have their space. He can leave his socks wherever (assuming he does), and she can drink out of the carton or whatever it is she likes to do. It’s her space, her rules.

It’s genius.

Sometimes I think the most challenging part of marriage is having to share space. I become irrationally infuriated when my husband wants to stay up late reading and all I want to do is sleep. His light prevents me from sleeping and makes me nuts. He thinks I am a baby. I think he is selfish. On and on it goes.

If we had separate quarters, we could retire to them as needed. Pretty sweet. But it’s more than that too. Divorce is difficult. Even the best ones hurt children. Sometimes dividing assets and a long life together seems impossible. So why not explore alternatives?

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I love the way they think outside the box. This could happen other ways too. They could be next-door neighbors. They could rent an apartment and a house and switch back and forth. There are options and solutions that don’t include simply suffer or divorce. More couples should consider these kinds of arrangements. It’s really genius.

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