What a sad topic! And we’re sure you especially feel the same way. But unfortunately, because children are involved in the separation and divorces of their parents, the following are quotes from various resources on this subject. We pray you will find it to be helpful for you and the precious children that are involved in this type of situation.
• “My experience is that divorce is almost always unilateral. It’s not a democracy. One person gets to decide the fate of not only the marriage but the family,” said Michelle Weiner Davis, (author of The Divorce Remedy – The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage).
• “Children ought not to be victims of the choices adults make for them,” said Wade Horn (U.S. Assistant Secretary for Children and Families under President George W. Bush).
• I’m not sure when we decided that divorce was “best for the kids,” but we sure act on that assumption a lot in America (so do lots of other countries). However, most of the time it’s just not true. There are circumstances when divorce is “the lesser of two evils” (especially when violence or abuse is occurring in the home), but generally speaking, it is not best for the children. Not even in remarriage.
It’s curious to me that first-marriage couples will justify divorce to give their children “peace” from the marital conflict while second-marriage couples similarly justify divorce as a protection of their children (“my spouse, their stepparent, and I just can’t agree on parenting so I have to get them out of there). Both rationales, in my opinion, are really about at least one adult who is afraid to take any further risk to rescue the marriage. More often than not, divorce is an act of selfishness, not a benevolent action for the well being of children.
Want to truly bring peace to your children and stepchildren’s lives? Seek resolution of your marital conflicts, learn to forgive and seek forgiveness, let God remove your selfishness, and reconcile your relationship. It’s often hard work, but if you really want you children to have peace, it’s what must be done. (Ron Deal)
• Our society has two different child-rearing philosophies, one for children of married parents and one for children of divorce— that we essentially treat them as if they are two species of kids. The needs of children of married parents and children of divorced parents are the same. They’re the same species; we just find it inconvenient to treat them that way. Children of divorce are resilient we say. Why? Because we need for them to be.
When it comes to children of divorce, suddenly everything our society thinks about babies and young children gets thrown out the window. Babies need constant care from their mothers? Forget it, babies do fine going three days without seeing their mothers! Babies need a predictable environment and love having the same routine? Forget it; they’re happy to wake up anywhere! Households should be organized around the baby’s needs? Forget it; babies do great adapting to adult needs!
We have two childrearing philosophies in this society one for children of married parents, and one for children of divorce. We act as though these are two different species of kids. They’re not. They’re the same kids, with the same needs. Divorce doesn’t magically make turn a baby into a hardy creature. It just demands that babies become that way, whether they are capable of it or not. (Article can be found in Newsletter Archives section on web site for Smartmarriages.com, Subject: Two Species of Kids – 8/31/03)
• The children of divorce are handed a really big job. When parents are married, it’s their job to do the hard work of making sense of your different values, your different beliefs, your different backgrounds. When they get divorced that job doesn’t go away, it just gets handed to their child instead, who is 4 or 8 or 12 years old. Their child is and always will be, throughout their childhood, looking to their mom and dad as the first and most important role models for their own moral and spiritual formation.
And now these role models live completely separate lives; lives that, to a child, often seem to be polar opposites. And when the child asks the big questions of moral and spiritual identity —who am I? Where do I belong? What is true? What is right and wrong? Is there a God? They’re looking to two different models that often seem as different as night and day. And those two people aren’t talking about this kind of big stuff anymore. They’re not fighting about it —they’re talking about nothing.
The child is wrestling with the differences that the child sees in each of their worlds. And the conflict that used to be between the parents has now gotten transferred to the child’s inner life. And it’s within the child’s own life in a very lonely, overwhelming way that the child is trying to confront these big questions. It’s the distinctive experience of the child of divorce. (Elizabeth Marquardt, The Emotional Hurdles of Living Through a Divorce – FamilyLife.com Broadcast Date: 10/24/06)
• Myth: My child will be better off if “he/she” is out of the picture. Fact: Children seldom view a parent in the same way as an adult. Even if a parent is “out of the picture,” they are always in the in the children’s mind. Attempting to remove a parent from the child’s life can actually harm the child. However, if a parent is abusive and represents a clear danger to a child, legal safeguards are available. (Jeff and Judi Parziale, from a Pantano Christian Church web site article, titled “Divorce and Remarriage Myths.”)
• Two faulty beliefs provide the foundation for our current attitudes towards divorce. The first holds that if the parents are happier the children will be happier, too. Children are not considered separately from their parents; their needs, and even their thoughts are subsumed under the adult agenda. Indeed, many adults who are trapped in very unhappy marriages would be surprised to learn that their children are relatively content. They don’t care if mom and dad sleep in different beds as long as the family is together.
A second myth is based on the premise that divorce is a temporary crisis that exerts its more harmful effects on parents and children at the time of the breakup. …The belief that the crisis is temporary underlies the notion that if acceptable legal arrangements for custody, visits, and child support are made at the time of the divorce and parents are provided with a few lectures, the child will soon be fine. It is a view we have fervently embraced and continue to hold. But it’s misguided. (Judith Wallerstein from the book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, A Twenty-Five Year Landmark Study, pp. xxiii-xxiv)
• I’ve talked to adults who have gone through divorce and have spent hours talking with them, interacting as I watch them attempt to recover and pick up the pieces in their lives and sort through all the emotions of what they were experiencing trying to piece it together. And I’ve often thought, if an adult who’s emotionally mature, supposedly, fully developed as an adult, with everything in place —if they struggle trying to piece it all together and sometimes spend decades piecing together their own emotions of what they’re thinking and feeling, how can we expect a 12-year-old, a 15-year-old, or, for that matter, and 18-year-old to process this emotional earthquake that has aftershocks that go on into adulthood —how do they even interpret it? (Dennis Rainey, The Emotional Hurdles of Living Through a Divorce – Broadcast Date: 10/24/06 – FamilyLife.com)
• Elizabeth Marquardt says children of divorced parents are more apt than those living in intact families to feel divided between two homes with different values. They’re asked to keep secrets about the different households. They’re left without clear guidance on what’s right and what’s wrong, turning instead to friends and siblings. And they’re “more apt to struggle with loss, isolation, loneliness and suffering.”
Marquardt has the support of psychologist Judith Wallerstein, whose controversial Second Chances in 1989 started a firestorm of debate. Wallerstein found that many adult children had never gotten over the often “cataclysmic” changes divorce brings throughout a child’s lifetime. While divorce is seen as a 2nd chance at happiness for a parent, a child doesn’t see it that way. (Article can be found in Newsletter Archives section on web site for Smartmarriages.com, Sent: July 17, 2003 Subject: Kids of divorced parents straddle a divided world – 7/14/2003)
• It’s rare that “a child doesn’t experience some stress and loss during childhood,” Constance Ahrons says. “But that doesn’t diminish the pain children feel when their parents get divorced. It just puts it in perspective.” (Article can be found in Newsletter Archives section on web site for Smartmarriages.com, Subject: Kids of divorced parents straddle a divided world – 7/14/2003)
• My observations of children of divorce, including my own, are simple. Divorce makes your kids’ life harder. Would you want to go to a different home every few days because it suits someone else’s schedule? Would you like to remember at which house you left your wallet, your laptop, your workout bag, your briefcase? How about sleep in a different bed, use a different toothbrush, get used to the new person in the kitchen and the master bedroom? Your kids have to remember textbooks, notebooks, backpacks, favorite t-shirts, socks, Vans, homework, football helmet, cleats… No wonder these kids are more anxious.
On top of that, they have to do science reports in first grade, master algebra in fifth. Everything’s gotten harder. I’ve volunteered in my sons’ classes, and I hate to say it, but I can tell which children have parents who are divorced. Admitting this brings me no pleasure, and a great deal of pain. (Gigi Levangie, from Huffington Post article, “Wasbands and Wives: Seven Reasons to Stay Married)
• William J. Doherty, director of the University of Minnesota’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program believes that divorce, unfortunately, is sometimes necessary. But it should be avoided if at all possible because it brings about permanent disability, especially when children are involved. If divorce were a medical procedure, it would be like amputating a limb —not like cosmetic surgery —a drastic measure justified only in the most hopeless circumstances. (In the November/December, 2002, issue of Psychotherapy Networker)
• Many of the children of divorce, fear splitting up and are determined not to let it happen to them. But it does happen. Children of divorce have a higher rate of divorce themselves than children from intact families. Penn State sociologist Paul Amato, who has studied adults whose parents divorced, said that children learn about marital commitment and permanence by observing their parents. In children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined. They come to marriage with unrealistic expectations.
As one researcher put it, young people today are entering marriage in “a profound state of cluelessness. We’re mesmerized by the romantic idea of marriage and blinded to the reality. We’re sold on Cinderella, not on how uncomfortable wearing glass slippers for the next 50 years might be,” writes Paul. “If you don’t grow up viewing a marriage firsthand, you have little chance of understanding marriage as it needs to be. It’s easy to idealize,” she adds in an interview.
“WE” NOT TRIUMPHING OVER “ME”: Unfamiliar with how marriages ebb and flow through good times and over rough patches, children of divorce are quick to bail at the first sign of conflict, says Paul, and that creates a rash of what she calls “starter marriages” —couplings that last but a few years and produce no children. (Children of Divorce in No Rush to Repeat Error –By Andrew Herrmann -June 10, 2003 – The Chicago Sun Times)
• Marriages of the children of divorce have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families. A major reason for this is that children learn about marital commitment or permanence by observing their parents. In the children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined. (10 Myths of Divorce, National Marriage Project)
• Our research estimates that 55-60% of marriages that end in divorce fall into the category of “good enough marriages.” These marriages appear to be functioning well only a year or so prior to the divorce. From a child’s perspective, these divorce are unexpected, inexplicable, and unwelcome and are thus most likely to harm children. These marriages are significantly more likely to divorce because of infidelity, citing explanations of “drifting apart” or “communication problems.” They are unlikely to mention abuse because these were not highly conflicted marriages. (Paul Amato, Smart Marriages keynote)
• Here’s why their divorce is your business: The children of our generation’s divorces enter the pool of possible mates for our children. Damaged and hurt by their parents’ lack of commitment, they bring the baggage of brittle emotions and insecurity with them into their marriages. They make what is already a struggle-the nurturing of healthy marriages in the next generation-even harder.
The effect upon children creates a strain upon every resource in our communities. Juvenile delinquency increases. Teachers face ever-mounting discipline problems at school. The ranks of those in need of government assistance and private charity continue to swell. No family comes through divorce and ends up with the financial resources they would have had staying intact, and the effect is particularly bad on the mother and children. Every year the magic of compound interest works in reverse: Combined resources that the married couple could have set aside for retirement or the kids’ education are diminished; less of a return is earned, and the future financial security of everyone is threatened.
Among Christians in general, divorce is just one more scandal that makes a mockery of what we say we believe. If the power of the Holy Spirit, Whose indwelling we claim to have, is not great enough to enable us to live with one another under the same roof, what good are all our “peace on earth” slogans? (Mary Kochan, from the Catholicexchange.com article, Why Divorce is Your Business)
• How much pain are parents entitled to inflict on their children, simply because their children may rise above it and avoid psychological dysfunction? Like scholar Judith Wallerstein before her, Mavis Hetherinton (a respected research psychologist) finds that even when divorce dos not result in long-term damage, it is “usually brutally painful. To the boys and girls in my research, divorce seemed cataclysmic and inexplicable. How could a child feel safe in a world where adults had suddenly become untrustworthy? (From: For Better or for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered by Mavis Hetherington and John Kelly)
• From where I’m looking at with divorce, the problems don’t go away, they’re simply just pressed down the generational pipeline, and it seems to me that they tend to multiply. Parents are already adults. They’ve got some [emotional] tools they can use, if they choose to, to work through these problems. But they pass their problems onward generationally, to their children. The problems are going to multiply because children are far less equipped to deal with these issues when they’re young. I feel like they grow up emotionally stunted. (Charlotte, a woman discussing the impact her parents divorce had on her on the radio FamilyLife.com interview on: Surviving the Aftermath of Divorce Broadcast Date: 10/23/06)
• Nicolas Wolfinger (author of Understanding the Divorce Cycle: The Children of Divorce in Their Own Marriages) analyzed data on 33,000 Americans from two major national household surveys to calculate how divorces recur through generations. His conclusion: Having divorced parents greatly jeopardizes the odds of keeping one’s marriage intact and heightens the likelihood of multiple divorces. Wolfinger found that when both husband and wife come from families of divorce, they are nearly three times more likely to split up than couples whose parents stayed married. If a parent was divorced at least twice, the odds that an offspring’s marriage will survive are only one in three. Wolfinger attributed the phenomenon partly to learned behavior. Having seen their parents give up on a marriage, people are more likely to bail when their own relationships turn turbulent. (Kyung M. Song from an article in the Seattle Times titled, Marriage as learned behavior: Can divorce be foretold? Wednesday, July 27, 2005)
• Various surveys reveal that the experience of divorce made children “overall much less religious than their peers from intact families.” Many of those who attended a place of worship on a regular basis as children also said that they felt abandoned by their church family, with two-thirds stating, “that no one from the clergy or congregation reached out when their families broke up.” In addition, they “are much more likely to say they doubt the sincerity of their parents’ religious beliefs, do not share their parents’ values, and to say there are things their parents have done that they find hard to forgive.” (Interviews and surveys conducted by Elizabeth Marquardt, an affiliate scholar with the Institute for American Values, and Professor Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin)
• If you break up your marriage, you break up God’s picture of God’s relationship to us before a watching world. (Cindy Wright)
• We need to recognize that in children of divorce, their faith journeys are impacted by their parents’ divorce throughout their lives. So we’re not just talking about young children, we’re talking about young adults and even older. Divorce shapes young people through their lives, how they approach the major stories of the faith, and how they approach the big questions of moral and spiritual development. What came through [in a major study on the impact divorce has on children] so poignantly is how often these young people would seek out a church and a life of faith even without either parent. It wasn’t even just that they went to church with one parent after the divorce, but they’d get there however they could. So many of them told stories of walking to the neighborhood church, taking the city bus, going to church with a friend, showing up alone and being children in the pews alone.
One young woman said, “I remember going to church, sitting there in the back, and the kids who came with their parents sat up front.” And my heart just broke. She had this image, and I don’t know that it was necessarily true that every single Sunday the kids with the divorced parents sat in back but in her memory that’s how it was. I think it gives some insight into how set apart and different she felt. I think the clergy, the congregation, and we adults, often don’t know what to do with kids who are from a divorced family. We don’t want to offend their parents, we don’t want to make the child cry; we don’t know what to say so we just say nothing, which is the worst thing of all. (Elizabeth Marquardt, Surviving the Aftermath of Divorce -FamilyLife.com Broadcast Date: 10/23/06)
• Cohabitation: At least half of all newlyweds have lived together first, researchers say. And David Popenoe, a Rutgers University sociologist, estimates that two-thirds of people who marry have lived with somebody else first. Live-in unions are more fragile than marriages. About 41% of unmarried opposite-sex couples living together have children younger than 18 at home. But sociologists Pamela Smock and Wendy Manning have found that children born to couples who live together have about twice the risk of seeing their parents split than those with married biological parents. (The State of Our Unions – By Rick Hampton and Karen S. Peterson USA TODAY Feb 26, 2004)
• “When a younger couple gets a divorce, they worry about how it will affect the children. My Mom told me that’s partly why she and Dad stayed together for so long. Did it mean that what I saw as a perfect childhood was a lie?” There’s a notion that an adult child won’t hurt as much as a youngster, that a 26-year-old isn’t as likely to be affected by her parents’ breakup. That she’ll understand. It’s not true. Understanding what your parents are going through is even worse. I began obsessing about their growing old alone. I pictured them in separate houses without someone to make them tea if they had the flu. They could come live with me, but I’d have to choose one.
My parents and I reversed roles. I became the worried one, the one wanting to make sure they had a good weekend or that the birthday present I’d sent was perfect. “I told a friend after the holidays that my family felt dead to me.” “I think you’re exaggerating,” my friend said. But I wasn’t. I was in mourning. My family as I knew it was dying. (Brooke Lea Foster, a 26 year old whose parents divorced as quoted an edition of The Washingtonian Magazine, which isn’t available on line)
• Children growing up in single-parent families are twice as likely as their counterparts to develop serious psychiatric illnesses and addictions later in life, according to an important new study. Researchers have for years debated whether children from broken homes bounce back or whether they’re more likely than kids whose parents stay together to develop serious emotional problems.
Experts say the latest study, published this week in The Lancet medical journal, is important mainly because of its unprecedented scale and follow-up —it tracked about 1 million children for a decade, into their mid-20s. The question of why and how those children end up with such problems remains unanswered. The study suggests that financial hardship may play a role, but other experts say the research also supports the view that quality of parenting could be a factor.
The scientists found that children with single parents were twice as likely as the others to develop a psychiatric illness such as severe depression or schizophrenia, to kill themselves or attempt suicide, and to develop an alcohol-related disease. Girls were 3 times more likely to become drug addicts if they lived with a sole parent, and boys were 4 times more likely. (Article can be found in Newsletter Archives section on web site for Smartmarriages.com, Subject: Study Says Broken Homes Harm Kids More – 1/24/03)
• Children of divorce and of unmarried parents are twice as likely as those from intact homes to drop out of school, 3 times as apt to be expelled or to have a baby out-of-wedlock as a teenager and 6 times more likely to be raised in poverty. Unmarried women living with a man are 3 times more likely to be physically abused that a married woman. (Article can be found in Newsletter Archives section on web site for Smartmarriages.com, Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 Subject: Increase Marriage: Reduce Child Poverty)
• “Growing up in a divorced family greatly increases the chances of ending one’s own marriage, a phenomenon called the divorce cycle or the intergenerational transmission of divorce,” says Wolfinger, assistant professor in the University of Utah’s Department of Family and Consumer Studies. … “One reason children from divorced families get divorced more often is because they have a tendency to marry as teenagers,” Wolfinger reports, adding “the older you are when you marry, the less likely you are to get divorced. It’s good advice for everyone.”
On the other hand, the more transitions children experience while growing up, the more they will experience as adults, Wolfinger notes. “What is the hardest for kids is how many disruptions they experience —the up-and-down cycles. Many will have stepparents, and some will see their new families dissolve. A disruption occurs any time they lose a parent —except from death. That’s different, and doesn’t have the same negative effects on children. Whereas divorce is ambiguous. Children wonder whether the divorce was their fault or who is to blame. And they wonder, “is he coming back?” (From the article: THE DIVORCE CYCLE: CHILDREN OF DIVORCE IN THEIR OWN MARRIAGES, Newswise University of Utah, June 27, 2005)
• Not long ago, Judith Wallerstein wrote an article in USA Weekend titled, “Children of Divorce, Twenty-Five Years Later.” In it she described a landmark new study that has tracked children of divorce for twenty-five years. The study has found that the negative impact of family breakup continues well into adulthood. One such grown child of divorce reported, “Part of me is always waiting for disaster to strike. I live in dread that some terrible loss will change my life.” That is what divorce sounds like twenty-five years later among those it hits hardest.
The article goes on to quote Mavis Hetherington, a divorce researcher and now professor of marital psychology at the University of Virginia, “In the short term, divorce is always troublesome for children.” She has scrutinized the workings of fourteen hundred divorce families since the early 1970’s. She pinpoints a crisis period of about two years in the immediate aftermath of separation when adults, preoccupied with their own lives, typically take their eyes off their parenting duties at the very time when their children are reeling from their loss. Is it surprising that people are not emotionally attached in our day? Could this be the reason that in the last ten years instead of men marrying about age 23 and women about age 20, men are now marrying about age 27 to 28 and women about age 23? Do you hear what this generation is saying by their actions and sometimes admitting by their words?
• “I don’t know if I believe in marriage.” • “I get close to someone, then the same thing happens. I’m scared to death to make a commitment.” • “I don’t know how marriage is supposed to work, but I know I grew up in a family where it didn’t.” • “The models that I had didn’t work, and I’ve got mixed feelings about Mom and Dad. I was two days with one parent and two weeks with the other; summers in one house and school years in another. They kept asking me to choose who I wanted to stay with. Why couldn’t they choose to stay together?” (Chip Ingram, Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships)
• Divorce robs children of the bedrock belief in the stability of marriage. It’s unsettling to them. We need to get this thing right! (Unknown)
• Gary Thomas’s book, Sacred Marriage, is the book that I call the best book on marriage because it redeems the institution of marriage. Before reading that book, I had no desire to be married because I see what goes down that road, why would I want to do that? But reading the book and the subtitle of the book, if you aren’t familiar with it, answers, “What is the Purpose of Marriage?” It’s to make us holy more than happy —redeeming the idea that every aspect of marriage is a spiritual formation and discipline that we not only grow closer to God, but also we’re demonstrating or we’re not demonstrating the character of God. And that’s the big thing —our parents were told that when you’re getting a divorce, sit the kids down, and tell them, “Mommy and Daddy can’t get along anymore, so we’re going to get a divorce, but we still love you.”
And what the child hears is that, “Mommy and Daddy once chose to be together,” I came along. So if they can choose not to love each other anymore, then they can choose not to love me if I’m not perfect. And that’s where you get into all of the coping mechanisms. It takes a long time to disassociate from the part that is so ingrained in your hardwiring —that love is fickle and fleeting and it’s what you deserve. Then when you go to church, and especially for children a lot of times, everything is simplified, because you want kids to understand it. And they’re taught things like “adultery is bad.” Well, does that mean Mom was bad? Is Mom bad? Then what do I do with that? Or, God loves you and everything is going to be all right. I don’t feel everything is all right, so does that mean God doesn’t love me? (Jen Abbas, The Emotional Hurdles of Living Through a Divorce– FamilyLife.com Broadcast Date: 10/24/06)
• I’ve got a news flash for the 2 of you: you’re not the only ones living in your home —you’ve got children who are watching you and listening to how you scream at each other. What do you think the impact is when you yell and scream? …If you care about your child, you’ll start caring enough about him to grow up and make a life decision to control yourself (in how you relate to your spouse). Think to yourselves: “We’re going to calm down, grow up and put our son’s interest over our destructive behavior.” (Dr. Phil’s show on September 17, 2002)
• Researchers disagree whether children of unhappily married couples are better off if the parents stay together or divorce. After analyzing the studies, Waite and Gallagher conclude that children are usually not better off when unhappy spouses divorce. Marital dissatisfaction, they write, “is probably not in and of itself psychologically damaging for children: what counts is whether, how often, and how intensely parents fight in front of their children both before and after divorce.” And while divorce may end marital conflict for adults, it doesn’t stop “what really bothers kids: parental conflict,” they write. Children of divorce also have less money, live in poorer neighborhoods, go to poorer schools, and do worse in school than children of married parents—even if those marriages have a high degree of conflict. (Article can be found in Newsletter Archives section on web site for Smartmarriages.com, Subject: Healthy, Wealthy and Wed – 11/09/03)
“Children are being woefully shortchanged. They need us to build a society of enduring families and monogamous marriages. For this reason, we must reinvigorate the cultural ideals of family within the changed circumstances of our time. We must love and support those who are single or divorced while reemphasizing the old ideals of parents living together and sharing responsibility for their children and for each other. Strong families concerned with the needs of children and built on biblical principles are not only possible, but necessary. The hard truth is that in a free society the ultimate responsibility rests with the people. Our injury is self-inflicted. The good news is that it can be healed and restored.” (From: Holiness Today, “Today’s Family: Holding Tough”, March 2003, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot
• What people need to know is that the majority of divorces today don’t end high-conflict marriages. Two-thirds of divorces today end low-conflict marriages. They’re ending marriages that are not characterized by abuse or violence or very serious and frequent quarreling. They’re ending marriages that are often ending for reasons like people grew apart. They’re not sure if they love each other anymore. Somebody else at work is more interesting. Sometimes they’re ending for reasons that we can be sympathetic for —the people in the marriage are hurting. But a lot of this stuff is not on the radar screen to the child.
They struggle with the idea of, “Okay, my parents are happy, but are they as happy as they could be? Would they be happier not married to my mom or dad? Are they as fulfilled as they could be? Are they bored sometimes?” This isn’t on the kid’s radar screen. What’s on their radar screen is the day their parents come and tell them they’re getting a divorce. That’s when that child’s world falls apart. So my message to people based on my own experience as a child of divorce and all the people I’ve talked to is if you’re married to someone you know is a good person and a good parent, and you’re not sure you’re in love anymore, you feel like you’re growing apart, there are so many good reasons to reach out and get help and save that marriage for your child and for your own sake as well. (Elizabeth Marquardt, The Emotional Hurdles of Living Through a Divorce, FamilyLife.com Broadcast Date: 10/24/06)
• Data demonstrates that in work, school and college education, children of intact families fare better. Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher’s book, ‘The Case for Marriage’, describes more than 50 ways that married parents bestow advantages on children —advantages that extend into adulthood including longer lives and better jobs. Am I suggesting that parents who now live alone call up their long-departed spouses, and invite them back to start all over? No. Nor am I attempting to shame parents who already have struggled with, and made, the choice to permanently sever their marital bonds. Single parents have enough challenges without having to revisit past decisions. But I do call on the many parents of young children who are facing marital problems and concluding, wrongly, that the only option is to quit.
The decision to divorce is often based on two premises: 1) struggling relationships have no hope of repair; and 2) marital separation improves the quality of life for everyone. In most cases, both of these assumptions are false.
So as the school season gears up, take out your daybook and your No. 2 pencil. Schedule the PTO meetings, the soccer tournaments and the ballet classes. But cross out that appointment to see the divorce lawyer. Instead, ask your spiritual leader, your doctor or your local community mental health center to point you to resources that can help you work on your marriage. Then, pencil in an appointment with someone who can help. Your kid’s education is at stake. (Scott Haltzman, MD, Article found in Newsletter Archive section at Smartmarriages.com -Sent: September 04, 2002 Subject: Op Ed: Children soar in school when their parents stay together -9/1/02)
• In a report released last week, Maggie Gallagher of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy says that people in long-term marriages ”live longer, healthier lives with higher levels of emotional well-being and lower rates of mental illness and emotional distress. [They] make more money than otherwise similar singles and build more wealth and experience —than do single or cohabiting couples with similar income levels.” And it’s good for kids. David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values, a think tank that studies family issues, calls marriage ”our society’s most pro-child institution. If you want kids to do well, then you want marriage to do well.” (The State of Our Unions – By Rick Hampson and Karen S. Peterson USA TODAY Feb 26, 2004)
• A recent letter-to-the editor in a large U.S. newspaper reflected the sentiments of one man among the estimated one-third who regretted his divorce. Under the title “Divorce Isn’t Worth the Cost,” he wrote:
“I would wish to comment on the letter that ran Jan. 2 concerning the weakening of men and children through divorce. Anne Smart-Pearce was the author. To my great sorrow, I must admit I am a divorced husband and father. Anne speaks of the terrible price that is being paid and then asks, ‘If a mother had an equal fear of losing her children, would she so readily seek a divorce? Or would she do all in her power to avert such a tragic outcome?’
Might I add this, husbands and wives, if there is even one-half of an ounce of friendliness left in your marriage, take each other by the hand, look at each other’s eyes and then remember of the love that brought you together in the first place! Let each other know, somehow, that you are needed, loved and wanted! If you fail, you will reap the whirlwind, especially you, fathers. You will lose all that is important, near and dear to you. And that is your sweet wife, your wonderful children and your home. Oh, that I had been more wise and not let my pride be my downfall. I can tell you with knowledge that a seemingly endless tragedy does await! The mornings do come when you awake, call her name and then realize that you are alone in a house that is ever silent and does not answer back.” (Guy M. Bradley, West Point, Utah, Deseret News, January 11, 2001, Letters to the Editor, A-10)