“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines
the course of your life.” ~ Proverbs 4:23
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 40-50 percent of American marriages end in divorce. For second and third marriages, the divorce rate is even higher. The question is, Why?
Before the ugly word divorce was spoken, thoughts about divorce were already simmering in the mind of one or both spouses. Perhaps the thought first entered as the result of repeated disappointments with one’s spouse or a “one-time-too-many” insult. Whatever the cause, once the words are spoken, pride takes over and, in most cases, the die has been cast.
Or has it? If you are contemplating divorce, think seriously about the long-term consequences of your decision. Here are some things to consider:
1) According to some psychological studies, the emotional pain of divorce surpasses the pain of losing a spouse in death. In the heat of an argument, most people don’t think long-term. Their focus is on surviving the situation at hand. If you’re thinking of divorce, think about how you will really feel after the fact? Will you regret your decision? How will you feel living alone? Will you be able to manage financially?
2) Second marriages have a higher risk of divorce than first marriages. When couples divorce, each brings into a second marriage the same negative character traits he or she had in the first marriage. In other words, wherever you go, you bring yourself with you. If you have character flaws that are contributing to the problems in your present marriage, what makes you think that you won’t carry those same character flaws into a second marriage?
3) Blended families create problems often worse than the problems of the original marriage and family. One of the chief of these problems is opposition between “his” children and “her” children. Each parent has a natural tendency to favor his or her own offspring. This results in conflict between the parents and among the children.
On top of this, there is the problem of the ex-spouse who usually remains in the picture as a parent to one set of children. This can make for very difficult and uncomfortable situations both for the new spouse and the new children.
4) The effect of divorce on the children involved has life-long repercussions. Most parents who divorce rarely comprehend the depth of hurt divorce brings into the lives of their children. Such parents often wrongfully assume that their children are resilient enough to get over it.
It is true that children are resilient; but it is also true that children are very sensitive. Having one’s parents’ divorce is tantamount to having one’s heart torn in two. Such a rift, even when healed, leaves deep scars.
5) God hates divorce. It is not God’s perfect will for a marriage to end in divorce. In Malachi 2:16, we read, “For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce…”.
This is not to say that in cases involving serious problems, such as physical abuse, a couple should not separate temporarily with the intention of seeking professional help. God certainly does not expect anyone to remain in the path of danger.
But in most cases of divorce, abuse is not the issue. So-called incompatibility usually is. And incompatibility usually boils down to an unwillingness to look at the plank in one’s own eye while emphasizing the specks in the spouse’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5). It involves an unwillingness to accept one’s spouse unconditionally and to look at one’s own flaws honestly and with a determination to change.
Perhaps you have been contemplating divorce because you think that your problems defy solution. If so, let me encourage you that “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). Don’t let a moment of anger determine your whole future and the future of your children and grandchildren. Even the worst marriage can become a great marriage when a couple brings God into the picture.
So if you have been contemplating divorce, think twice before taking that final step. Otherwise, you may live to regret it.
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Copyright 2015 by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be published or printed in any form whatsoever without the written permission of Dr. MaryAnn Diorio. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to request permission.
Source cited: http://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/
Dr. Diorio is a Certified Life Coach, a Certified Biblical Counselor, and a Certified Behavioral Consultant. She is also an award-winning, widely published author of fiction for children and adults. You may reach her at email@example.com or via one of her social media venues below: