Before you throw in the towel - do you know:
- Remarrriages have a higher failure rate than first marriages.
We think if we just change partners, our problems will be solved. Not so.
And if there are children involved, you'll turn some perfectly nice person into a stepmother or
stepfather. In remarriages with children – stepfamilies – the divorce rate is even higher.
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, which they blame on "drifting apart" or "communication problems". These 50-60% of divorces are unlikely to mention abuse because these were not highly conflicted marriages. - Paul Amato, Smart Marriages keynote Couples can take a simple Marriage Education class and learn the skills to communicate and fall back in love.
Divorce causes a decrease in wealth that is larger than just splitting a
couple’s assets in half. Divorce drops a person's wealth by an average of 77%.
And, contrary to popular belief, the research shows that the wealth status of
divorced men wasn’t significantly better than that of divorced women, in terms of real money.
Divorce devastates your wealth. By the same token, married people see an increase in wealth that is more than just adding the assets of two single people. If you really want to increase your wealth, get married and stay
married. - Jay Zagorsky, Ohio State, Journal of Sociology, Jan 2006
Children-of-divorced-parents are at least 50 percent more likely to get a divorce than those
from an unbroken home, said Penn State Professor Paul Amato, a researcher and expert on
parent-child relationships. When both the husband and wife come from divorced families,
the odds of divorce are 200 percent higher.
"If you want to stay married, marry someone just like you. Except if you're
from a divorced family, marry someone from an intact family," said Nick Wolfinger, researcher.
When either the husband or wife is a child-of-divorce, those marriages were almost twice as likely
to fail as marriages where neither spouse came from a divorced family. Marriages between two
spouses from divorced families were more than three times as likely to fail. Wolfinger finds children
of divorce are more likely to cut and run. If you experience relationships as transitory while growing up,
that's what you'll do as an adult. Most people remarry, so a couple of years after their parents divorce, a
kid is going to pick up a stepparent. Second marriages have even higher rates of divorce than first
marriages, so that kid may experience a second divorce. Having a stepparent makes a kid even more
likely to divorce later in life - having a stepparent teaches that spouses are replaceable if things don't work out.
- Men, women and children all do better in intact FIRST marriages -
and, that's on all measures: health, wealth, satisfaction, and success.
Work things out and you'll all be better off - in the long run.
As summarized by columnist Maggie Gallagher: "Even among advantaged, middle-class
white children, divorce doubles the risk that 20 years later these adult children will experience
serious social, emotional, and/or psychological dysfunction."
Mavis Hetherington, a respected psychologist/stepfamily researcher, found that the adult-children-of-divorce had twice the divorce rate of kids from intact families, and that only 20 percent of the adults (the parents) who saw their marriages end felt their lives have been improved by the experience.
- 1/28/07 Virginia Free-LanceStar
"The central hazard of divorce for the child is not his acute unhappiness, however tragic this may be, but the possibility that the family disruption will in some way discourage his progress along the developmental ladder." Wallerstein and Kelly (1980)
At the statistical level there is evidence to associate growing up in single-parent families and
stepfamilies with greater risk to well-being – including a greater risk of dropping out of school,
of leaving home early, or poorer health, of low skills, and of low pay. (p. 23) Child Poverty in Perspective
- Marriages, like everything else, go through slumps – down times. But, with time, things often get
better on their own. In The Case for Marriage Waite and Gallagher point out that many who report that
their marriages were at the bottom of the scale on marital satisfaction, when asked five years later,
reported being at the top on marital happiness. What changed? Many had no idea – often couldn't even remeber that they'd felt things were bottomed out. It seems that simply keeping our vows – hanging in through the "for worse", even the "for boring" or when we feel all out of love can, eventually, be what gets us to the promised land. Get married, stay married – what a concept. In their follow-up research, Does Divorce Make People Happy? Waite and Gallagher flesh out these findings. As people go through unhappy periods in their marriage they fantasize about getting out of the marriage and finding happiness by falling in love with someone new. It turns out that the surer route to happiness – in the long run – is to fall back in love with the person with whom you have children, extended families, and a history – someone who will enjoy the grandkids with you and has been there to know what you've done for others.
- The new relationship is only going to be *new* for a few short years, then you'll be back to trying to figure out
how to make a marriage work. Except this time you'll have to do it with the added baggage of exes, jealousy, step kids, child support, visitation. And, don't kid yourself that single life doesn't get old, lonely, and boring.
- You CAN get past boredom & disappointment, also affairs, substance abuse, porn addiction, emotional and physical abuse, betrayals, and come out better and stronger than before. Click for
must read articles and resources on recovering from infidelity, anger management and on "dating your mate".
- Or, perhaps you're already in a remarriage and are struggling to avoid divorcing
for the second, third, or fourth time. The classes, skills and information that work for first
marriages, will also work for you. Visit the Directory of programs. Take a basic marriage skills course but also search for
special stepfamily programs and resources. Many are available on DVD to watch at home. Check the "at a distance" section.
- Marriage Education classes are not just for the engaged or newlyweds. They work for
couples on the brink of divorce – hopeless couples in the deep end of the ocean who feel they've fallen out of love - who have drifted apart. The courses also work for cohabiting couples. These are relationship skills.
You CAN learn new ways to interact, to connect – and by so doing, can become "masters of marriage" – gain the confidence
to marry or, if you're already married and facing disappointment, to fall back in love. "New love is the brightest, and long love is the greatest, but revived love is the tenderest thing known on earth." - Thomas Hardy
When it comes to the kids, it's not just single unwed mothers whose kids struggle.
"Most researchers reported that STEPCHILDREN were similar to children living with
single mothers on the preponderance of outcome measures and that stepchildren
were at greater risk for problems than were children living with both of
their married parents." - The Journal of Marriage and Family
"I'm not advocating for loveless marriages. But it's also the case that marriage
doesn't make us happy every day. No marriage does, but your marriage serves
as so much more than just a vehicle for immediate individual adult needs. It makes
one world for your child, and children will tell you that means everything to them."
Elizabeth Marquardt, Between Two Worlds
- Anyone even thinking about divorce must read these essays/blogs:
"Wasbands and Wives: Seven Reasons to Stay Married" by Gigi Levangie
"Marriage" by Frank Pittman
"When a Family Man Thinks Twice"(about divorce) - by Josh Coleman
"Those Aren't Fighting Words Dear" Here's a strategy from the Modern Love section of the NY Times - a woman who hung in. When her husband said, "I don't love you any more, I want a divorce" she said, "I don't buy it."
The Wedding Toast I'll Never Give - Ada Calhoun
Marry, Divorce, Reconcile: One Woman’s Path to Joy in a Reclaimed Marriage.
"Is This All There Is?: In Her 50s, Looking for Love" - Michael Winerip
"A Father's Reflections"
"How Marital Therapy Can be Hazardous to Your Marital Health" - Bill Doherty, Smart Marriages Conference
D I V O R C E D? Don't Even Think of Remarrying Until You Read This
The Top Ten Myths of Divorce - by David Popenoe
Thinking About Divorce? Divorce Crossroads Guidebook for Couples
When the Nest Emptied, Discontent Entered - Regrets from Unhitched from NY Times
Also, click to read a collection of Before You Divorce quotes
Between Two Worlds by Elizabeth Marquardt. $16.47 on amazon. To order, click:
Divorce's Legacy: Often Financial Ruin
The Logistics of Post-Divorce Parenting
A Summary of research on the Effects of Divorce on Children
Reunited - Act One, This American Life, NPR, Ira Glass (26 mins/5/2009)
Click here for a full list of resources for fighting an unwanted divorce
Click for a Directory of Programs of courses and resources. Find a course in your area - or travel to a weekend class or retreat. Do it today. Even if things feel hopeless - even if it feels that it's too late. The worst you could do is learn communication skills and have a more civilized post-marriage, co-parenting relationship.....you will be parents till death you do part. And don't kid yourself, as Carl Whitaker, marriage and family sage, said, "When there are kids involved, there's really no such thing as divorce."
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