Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it—that divorce doesn’t have to be painful. Most of you who are reading this would probably want to challenge me on this statement. I agree, but I have firsthand knowledge of a story that is not only hopeful but also realistic. So first some facts:
“Current divorce statistics in America is estimated at 50%. This data is not accurately correct, however, it is reasonably close to the actual rate. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that ‘Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue,’ which is actually a projection. Commonly said, 50% of all marriages in America end in divorce. But this statement about the divorce statistics in America hides all the details about distribution; however, you can also check out this divorce statistics page for the latest information.”
Enrichment Journal also gives similar divorce statistics in America:
U.S. Divorce Rates
3rd Marriage – 78%
2nd Marriage – 60%
1st Marriage – 41%
Source: divorce statistics.org
Now for the good news: I have had the pleasure of working with a female client for several years prior to an upcoming divorce. This was a highly intelligent, driven woman who was in school going for an advanced degree. She had two children actively involved in sports, and she reported that “My children are my life.” Her utmost concern was how her children would handle the divorce. She worried it would ruin their lives. Of course, this is a reasonable concern, given all the challenges involved in a divorce, from angry, hurt couples who simply cannot work together amicably to protect their children and also to continue a friendship with their spouse for the benefit of all.
Let me be perfectly clear: there are awful reasons for divorce that include affairs, addiction, abuse, and more. I am not condoning those situations. But whatever the reasons, if you have children, they are not the cause and should not be impacted negatively by the disruption.
True to form, my client was experiencing all the emotions expected: anger, hurt, disappointment, frustration, and hopelessness about the future for her children. We spent several sessions and a few months working on her and re-inventing her self-esteem. She expressed her anger, and as the time went on was finally able to look at a different relationship for her and her spouse. Fortunately she and her spouse were on the same page about their children. Both were committed to do what it takes to make every effort to keep the family together for the children. And that is precisely what they have done and are continuing to do today. They are being flexible with visitation and time to spend with the children. They are helping each other to keep the schedules for their extra- curricular activities going.
They are spending certain holidays as a family, and they are respecting each other as parents with a purpose. What is happening as a result is that my client is seeing her spouse in a different light and is able to find forgiveness for his behavior, originally the cause of the divorce. They are in synch about finances and family goals. They are developing a working relationship, allowing each of them to move on and still keep the family part intact. Yes, sounds like a miracle, but I offer you the thought that this is possible.
Now I am in the business of saving marriages, not breaking them up. But in the event that there is a needed break-up, this is the way to go. Life is full of challenges, but when you commit to bringing children into the world, their needs are important. It is all part of accepting the roles of a parent and a responsible adult.
So my tip today is to be a role model and show your children that if a divorce is in the cards, they are going to be okay. Divorce doesn’t have to carry gloom and doom. In fact, what they might learn will be how to make good choices as they, too, become responsible adults.