Marriage, Divorce & Kids
By Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC,
It's been said that one of the problems that married couples
have today is that men tend to choose their wives the same way
they choose their cars or trucks.
They get the best one available and hope that there's not much
maintenance down the road.
While this may occasionally be true, there are certain practices
that married couples must follow in order to avoid adding to
a divorce rate that hovers around 50%. These are practices that
are essential not only for the success of their marriage, they
are essential for the well-being of
In Maggie Gallagher's book, "The Abolition of Marriage," she
states that, "Half of all children will witness the breakup
of a parent's marriage. Of these, close to half will also see
the breakup of a parent's second marriage."
Can we possibly continue with a system that allows half of our
children to witness the breakup of their parent's marriage? Is
a divorce rate near 50% enough to have us consider new ideas
about how we decide about marriage and divorce?
One logical place to start is to educate people about the qualities
of a successful marriage.
We can't be effective when we educate them two months before
they marry. Emotional intelligence skills and relationship skills
must be taught to our young people early in life.
When we do teach them about successful relationships, we should
include these qualities:
1. Commitment-- According to one definition, "commitment
is a freely chosen inner resolve to follow through with a course
even though difficulty arises. How do we show our children what
to do when difficulty arises? Do we move to where the grass is
greener? Commitment is a daily discipline. It's the core from
which we respond to difficulty. It's what makes our lives richer
2. Emotional Awareness-- If we know what's really bothering
us, we can have effective and meaningful conversations with our
spouse. We can be genuine, honest, and open with each
other. And we can discover that much of the pain we feel in our
relationship is actually our past emotional history coming back
to haunt us.
If you're planning on getting married, be aware of what your
emotional issues are. If you don't know what your issues are,
you may be the most likely candidate for a divorce down the road.
3. Be Kind, Not Right-- We tend to have a tremendous stake in
showing our loved ones that we're right. An enormous amount of
time is wasted in our relationships by arguing over who's right
This excessive arguing is just an indication of our low self-esteem.
A much easier and more effective way to be in a relationship
is to commit to kindness. When you're kind, you don't need to
be right. And it's much easier for others to be with you!
There certainly are both justifiable divorces
done" divorces that are respectful of the kids involved.
But the number of divorces involving childish and irresponsible
decisions based on self-interest is staggering.
Children deserve more than this. To allow a system to continue
that has half of our kids witnessing their parent's divorce is
to turn our backs on our most precious commodity.
It's time to consider alternatives. Let's look at how we can
spend more time educating and training young people about relationship
skills and emotional intelligence. Let's look at the fact that
in about 80% of the divorces in this country, only one of the
participants (usually the woman) wants to end the marriage. Can
we keep no-fault divorce as it is?
And most importantly, let's look at our own attitudes about
commitment and decide what we want to do.
Because the cost of not doing these things is beyond measure.
MA, CPCC, is a certified personal
coach, speaker, author, and workshop leader who
helps men to create balance in their lives and to
immediately improve their family relationships,
guaranteed! He is the author of "Fix Your Wife in
30 Days or Less" http://www.markbrandenburg.com/saveyourmarriage.htm
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