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Thinking Divorce? Think Again? | effect of Divorce on Individuals and Family

  • "America's 50% divorce rate is an American tragedy that no one talks about...When do we ever hear a presidential candidate talk about the divorce rate?"  If elected, Boteach said he would push for tax deductible marriage counseling until the nation's divorce rate declines by half.  (Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, 2012 New Jersey GOP nominee for Congress)

  • While the divorce rate has dropped in recent years, it is not an indication that more families are staying together; rather, more people are choosing not to get married in the first place.  
  • “Divorce can be deceptive—legally it is a single event, but psychologically it is a chain, sometimes a never ending chain, of events, re-locations, and radically shifting relationships strung through time, a process that forever changes the lives of people involved.”  Judith Wallerstein, Second Chances
  • Many who divorce to find greater happiness, find that the divorce revolution fails to deliver on its promise of greater happiness and better relationships between men and women.  Instead, divorced couples often experience greater economic and emotional hardships.  
  • Divorce takes a terrible toll on the family involved in it; but it also does serious damage in other ways, by putting more people on welfare, and by driving up the crime rate.  Unfortunately, no-fault divorce has made divorce easy. 

    Pastors can help battle divorce and turn it around by making marriage a priority within each congregation.  Many Kentucky churches pledged to cut the divorce rate by only marrying couples who received premarital counseling, and offering mentors to young struggling couples.  This practice resulted in a 90% success rate for marriages.  Intense premarital counseling and mentoring has divorce-proofed most couples. 

    Older folks in the pews who have been married a long time, need to step up and guide the younger ones.  This is an outreach opportunity to disciple couples. 

    Research shows that with just a few practical steps, almost any marriage can be made into a permanent one.  The successful, stable marriages that result do not just benefit the couples, but their whole community and state.  Workers in the middle of divorce tend to be less productive, so a community with a high divorce rate is less attractive to businesses.  On the other hand, a community that can drive down divorce becomes a more attractive place for companies to invest, because they are going to have less problems with their employees than they would in some other city. 

    Children of divorce commit more crimes, so if a community’s divorce rate goes down, its crime rate can drop as well. 

    Finally, divorce often drives the ex-wives and children into poverty, and they end up on welfare.  Divorces cost tax-payers a fortune.  Divorce hurts the entire state.  Churches can work together to fight state-wide for lasting marriages.   (Reporter Paul Strand of CBN News; Mike McManus of Marriage Savers; Kent Ostrander of the Family Foundation of Kentucky; The 700 Club, December 11, 2013)

  • Children are the first victims of current laws permitting so-called “no-fault divorce.” From the standpoint of children, divorce is too easy. Summarizing decades of social science research, a careful scholar concluded that “the family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married.”  (Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010 (2012), 158)

  • A Harvard law professor describes the current law and attitude toward marriage and divorce: “The [current] American story about marriage, as told in the law and in much popular literature, goes something like this: marriage is a relationship that exists primarily for the fulfillment of the individual spouses. If it ceases to perform this function, no one is to blame and either spouse may terminate it at will. … Children hardly appear in the story; at most they are rather shadowy characters in the background.”  (Mary Ann Glendon, Abortion and Divorce in Western Law: American Failures, European Challenges (1987), 108)

  • Myths or Facts?  View http://unitedfamilies.org/default.asp?contentID=35 to separate the myths of divorce from the facts, covering 12 topics based on more than 150 resources, including:  
    • Divorced couples—are they happier after divorce?   
    • Children—are they better off with divorced parents than parents who fight and don’t get along?
    • Single parents—are they just as capable as married biological parents for raising healthy, happy children?  
    • Step-Families—do they help children adjust to divorce?  
  • Spokane is the #1 city in the top 25 cities of the largest 200 cities in the country, having the highest divorce rates.   The adult population in Spokane is 172,484.  
    15.9%   Divorced
    44.13% Married
    33.94% Single  
(source:  Consumer Advocate; and the U.S. Census, KXLY4 News, February 1, 2018) 

  • Children are impacted by divorces. Over half of the divorces in a recent year involved couples with minor children.   (Diana B. Elliott and Tavia Simmons, “Marital Events of Americans: 2009,” American Community Survey Reports, Aug. 2011)

What You Can Do
  • Be Faithful and Loyal.  When one person in a marriage gives their heart to someone else—engaging  intimately with another person whether physically or mentally—it will lead to a crisis which will likely lead to divorce.
  • Make a Commitment to Stay Together.  “It does not take a village to raise a child.  It takes loving, responsible parents, two of them, together for the duration.”   Harry Stein, How I Joined the Vast-Right Wing Conspiracy
  • Put Your Spouse First.  Selfishness is the main cause of divorce, not incompatibility.  All couples are vulnerable to infidelity –a result of selfishness.    
  • View the excellent DVD: "Thinking Divorce?  Think Again."  This insightful presentation discusses the realities of divorce which are related by an attorney, financial manager, counselor, pastor, and numerous people who have personally experienced divorce.  Consider realistically what your life will be like after divorce—it’s much harder than anyone ever anticipates, causing many to regret their decision to divorce.  This is an outstanding, highly informative source to aid those who are married or considering the decision to divorce, as well as valuable knowledge and insight for those who want to understand adults and children who have experienced divorce in their lives.   (produced by Lorie D. Fowlke JD.)
  • Don’t lose hope.  Don’t let your family blow apart like a dandelion in the wind.  Work through problems so the marriage will survive. 
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