Top 10 Reasons To Divorce (NOT!)
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Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009
by Lee Baucom
Save The Marriage
Divorce. A big word and a big decision. One that many take too lightly. After 2 decades working to stop divorces, I have heard all the reasons people give -- really the justifications. So here is my Top 10 List!
10) This just isn't fun anymore! Reality Check: "Fun" isn't really what it is about, is it? There is no promise that times will be fun. In fact, I think the real question is "what can you learn from these tough times?"
Marriage can be tough. But for couples that actually work on making their marriage better, the tough times fall away. There will always be tough spots, but couples learn to better manage them -- if they focus on improving the relationship.
9) He/She changed! Reality Check: Thank goodness! We all change. Sometimes, the changes are more popular with those around us.
Sometimes, we forget that we changed, too. In fact, what we really missed is that we change each other. The fact that change happened, that is part of the deal. Talking about the changes, good and bad, that is the sign of health and growth.
8) That toothpast, toilet seat, (fill in the blank) drives me crazy! Reality Check: We all do things that drive others crazy.
Marriage puts us into close proximity to those idiosyncracies -- and therefore much more into the "crazy zone." But really, is there no way around that? How about 2 tubes of toothpaste?
How about figuring out a way around those issues? Are they really that big?
Oh, and isn't it nice to be accepted for ourselves, crazy habits and all? It amazes me how often people want to be accepted, but forget that the other person really wants to be accepted, too! Work to accept, rather than judge.
7) We don't have anything in common. Reality Check: First, this can be changed. Any two people should be able to find SOMETHING in common. We are really all more alike than different. So look for the commonalities, not the differences.
Then, seek out some places of connection: vacation destinations (perhaps not your first choice, but still fun), hobbies, food styles. . . maybe the kids??? Really, I am just suggesting a shift in outlook, not necessarily a shift in anything else. I can either look for how my wife is different than me, or how we have commonalities. The choice is mine. . . if I choose it.
6) Our finances are driving me crazy! Reality Check: The most commonly reported reason for marital discord is money. That is the symptom. The real issue is power:
who controls the money, what priorities get funded, etc. Money is merely a tool. Use it to further life together.
Whenever power is an issue, the true connection of marriage hasn't happened. So, time to shift the focus back to connection and away from money.
BIG Reality Check: Think you are fighting about money now?
You haven't seen anything, yet! Divorces attorneys ask for a retainer, usually $3 to $5K. That, my friend, is a downpayment!
Double that, since there are two attorneys involved. Then double or triple it. The average divorce in America costs $20,000. Think you can do it for less? So have MANY others.
Oh, then you need to factor in the drop in your retirement to 1/2 of what it is. Then factor in the cost of maintaining 2 households. There is only one financial winner in a divorce: the attorneys.
5) The kids shouldn't see us fighting! Reality Check: Agreed! It is very unhealthy for children to grow up in conflicted homes. The constant stress creates a much higher diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder, clinical depression, and anxiety. Quite a price to pay!
But there is that other option of working on your marriage and making it a happy one! You may be teaching your child an important lesson: you don't have to quit. Sometimes, you can work through tough times and come out better.
4) It won't harm the kids! Reality Check: This one fails the research, big time! At one point, some research indicated that children are not affected by divorce. That research has been shown to be flawed. No serious research shows children unaffected.
Think about it, you are tearing away everything a child knows as safety. Even if it has been conflicted, the family is still where a child finds security. Their entire world is turned upside down by divorce. How could that NOT affect them?
Would they recover? Sure, they will move forward. But the scars are permanent and lifelong. Don't be fooled by those who quote bad research to justify the whole divorce industry.
3) We don't love each other! Reality Check: This usually means that the feelings of passion and attraction are missing. No surprise, since the majority of marriages do not nurture the relationship. If I quit exercising, become sedentary for a few years, then look down and am surprised to see little muscle and lots of fat, it would be wrong to use that as proof to not exercise! It is just a reality I have created by not taking care of myself.
The real answer is to get with a program of exercise. In marriage, it becomes about becoming intentional about nurturing the relationship. Will it be easy? No. Ever started an exercise program after being sedentary? Did you get sore? Did that mean you should stop?
The obvious answer is the soreness comes from the muscles not being used to the exercise, and the real solution is to keep exercising. Now, I can't just jump in and run 20 miles after doing nothing. I have to build up. Same in a relationship. You start slowly and build up. . . and the feelings will return!
2) I didn't sign up for this! Reality Check: Likely, you did! Remember this?:
"For richer or poorer"
"In good times and bad"
"In sickness and health"
Not much left there, is it? Broke? Covered. Chronic or even terminal illness? Covered. Lots of tough days, no fun, no talking, lots of tension? Covered.
So are the up times -- days of plenty, health and fun. We get too caught up in the negative times and lose our focus. A marriage vow is for life, and works when the relationship is nurtured (notice a common theme here?).
1) (Fill in with your reason)! Reality Check: (Fill in with your own thoughts) This is the most important to think about and evaluate, because it is your's, the reason you are here. Challenge yourself. Think about your reasons, and see if you have built it up into fiction.
Final Word: There are so many reasons people list for "having to divorce."
Most are fictional, just plain inaccurate. They are reasons we use to justify our decisions. But there are two reasons I find justifiable.
First, I do not think abusive relationships should be addressed by the abused. Abusive relationships are always about imbalances in power. But more than that, abuse usually escalates and sometimes becomes life-threatening. Safety outweighs working on the marriage.
Second, I believe that people who are involved in several affairs have a deeper issue that must be addressed before the marriage is addressed. In other words, if someone has had multiple affairs, he or she is unwilling to live within the marriage and the spouse must accept this reality, often by enforcing her or his boundaries -- leaving the relationship.
Finally, if there is an addiction involved, this must first be addressed before anything can be addressed within the marriage. Otherwise, it will be a practice in a) futility and b) blame-shifting -- the issue centers on the marriage, not on the addiction.
Other than those issues, I believe that marriages can be saved, divorce can be avoided. Healing is possible and connection is the result.
Are you thinking about divorce? Reconsider and save your marriage!
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This Article has been viewed 5,312 times. (Not updated in real-time.)Top-level comments on this article: (5 total)
» left by Swapna Nanda from India 4 years 77 days ago.
Dear Mr. LeeThank you for this article. Yes I do beleive that Marriages are made in heaven but they have to be worked out on earth. Perhaps another reason why there are so many divorces is becasue one partner tries to transform the other partner into his/her personality and character.God bless you and please keep striving to save marriages. Every good and healthy marriage is an asset to the society.Swapna
Lee, a promise is not worth more than a life.Your intentions are honorable but divorce is a last option and usually arrives after all the above has been considered, tried and tried again, again and again.Most people who divorce do so after a LOT of soul searching, a LOT of 'trying to make it work' and years of misery before finally putting themselves through yet more misery, financial strife and conflict to escape it once they realise that their efforts are just not working.I wrote an article on why people divorce and the hell they go through when making that decision, it is NOT an easy one.Thanks for the comment! Absolutely, a life is worth more than a promise. I say so as my disclaimer toward abusive relationships.
I also firmly believe that many people divorce needlessly, even if they have agonized over the decisions. If people truly work to save a marriage, then find it doesn't work out, then they can divorce, knowing they have tried.
Over my 20ish years of being a therapist, I see too many throw up their hands with little REAL effort. Sure, they thought a good deal about it -- in their own heads -- but never took action.
My hope is that people work harder. A divorce rate of nearly 50% tells me there is room for improvement.I think the divorce rate is high because people make the wrong decision to marry.
» left by Nancy Daniels 4 years 77 days ago.
Lee,Great article and I agree with you. I think too many people are not willing to work on the marriage because it does take work. And I do think it affects the children.Well done!Nancy
» left by Maree from Oz 3 years 132 days ago.
I so wish I could get my husband to read this...it might actually make him realise that we aren't the only ones to have these issues, and that there is no harm in trying to reconcile. If it doesn't work, I will feel less disappointed in both of us for trying, and less likely to harbour anger/resentment towards him. Attempting to solve a problem doesn't guarantee a solution. But not attempting to try? That guarantees failure... thank you for your efforts in trying to jab us all in the back and wake us up! Anything in life that is worthwhile is worth fighting for....
» left by Lisa from California 2 years 359 days ago.
All of that is very well said, and that is what I thought when I first got married, but now...I still have a question...How do you fix something wrong between two people when only one of them has any interest in fixing it, and the other thinks there is nothing wrong (no matter how many different times/ways they have been informed of the problem and it's severity)?Also, with video games being such a big thing with the men of my generation, what does a woman do if her husband is more into video games than hanging out with her? She has told him of the problem, and he sits there playing and ignoring her. I have thought about throwing my husbands console away, but it cost me $500 when I bought it, and if I throw it away he will just buy another...which will be over $1000 lost...so what should I do?Please don't ask me if I have told him about my feelings...I have...and ...he doesn't care...if he did...he would try and fix things, but he hasn't even tried. I have gone to therapy myself, because when I asked him if he would go with me, he blew up and told me that he isn't going to do that again. We are 27 years old have been married just over 3 years and we live with his parents...I go to school full time and work full time...He has a full-time job.