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The Battlefield of Divorce

The Battlefield of Divorce

Marriage problems are relationship problems; they are the result of how two people interact with each other. You may abandon a troubled marriage, but you will still bring the way you interact with others along with you.” -Mark Gungor

It has been years since I have been close to a divorce; however, I have witnessed many others from a distance over the years, mostly through the vacant expressions of the kids–friends of my own children–as they recount their new living arrangements. I remember my early adolescence, mostly lost in the battlefield of my parents’ divorce. Much of my middle school years are lost to me, a salvation of memory that works to erase the anger, cruelty and unspoken pain that became my family.

Recently, I have been reminded of many of my forgotten memories as a co-worker and friend navigates his own battlefield of divorce. There are no victors in these emotional wars, which turn our tender and warm attachments with those we loved into a brutal form of ammunition in the pain of separation. It is a form of insanity that I remember well in my parents and was my ready excuse for much of my own reckless and destructive behaviors. It is a literal losing ground of our daily reality and even our connection to our selves. Even when both partners are seemingly ready for the break up, there are few “good” divorces.

This rang true when I came across the recent New York Times expose entitled, “How Divorce Lost its Groove.” Replacing the previous stigma-free too-bad-it-didn’t-work-out mentality of divorce is an understanding by many people like me who went through their parents’ messy divorces as a child that the dissolution of a family is a failure of sorts, that somehow, something more could have been done for the relationship. Marriage is increasingly being understood as something that, like work-life balance, needs to be continually worked at and improved upon.

According to the women in the article, many of whom have written memoirs about their experience, divorce is no longer seen as a woman’s ticket to freedom and liberation. In fact, they are experiencing a kind of punitive backlash among their cohorts. Single motherhood is not glamorous, and divorcing with children often requires an increased commitment between ex-partners to figure out their issues for the sake of their kids. It isn’t just the immediate family that experiences the trauma either. Close friendships and extended family are also disrupted as divorce has an apparent domino effect. A recent study out of Harvard, Brown and University of California recently found that divorce is in fact is contagious- witnessing the breakup of close friends increases the odds of your own marital split by 75%.

All of this shifting has resulted in a significant drop in the divorce rate among the college- educated population. In fact, close to half of this population now believes that divorce should be made more difficult. Within this segment, marriages are lasting longer with increasingly higher proportions of couples reaching their 10th and 15th anniversaries. Interestingly, the dropping rates of divorce don’t hold true among the less educated population where divorce still occurs in over one third of marriages in the first ten years. This correlation between education and marital longevity is an interesting one. Does this speak to improved relationship skills, values or some combination of both?

This question was the focus of the recently released film Crazy, Stupid Love. The story opens with the wife’s request for a divorce and moves through the funny, sad versions of the insanity that ensues as the characters search for themselves and new ground to build a life upon. Unrealistic but hopeful, their process brings them back to the love that they thought was lost, a bit more mature and conscious that the work of staying related never ends. Learning the skills to love is a lifelong pursuit.

 

Read more: Children, Love, Making Love Sustainable, Relationships, Sex, Spirit

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

37 comments

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7:03AM PDT on May 24, 2013

Thanks meant for sharing this type of satisfying opinion, written piece is fastidious, that’s why I’ve read it completely.
Denver Divorce

6:59AM PST on Jan 5, 2013

Thank you

4:23AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

The correlation between a better education and diminished divorce rate is very interesting! I graduated from university a few years ago and it seems to me that the issue has less to do with relationship skills and moral fiber than problem solving skills. To obtain a degree you have to be willing to work out problems and think up creative solutions to difficult questions, even if it's just on paper. You also have to be willing to stick with something that's occasionally very stressful. All that practice probably pays off later in your personal life if you let it :)

6:07PM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

Sandy, truly sorry to hear about your circumstances! Interesting you mention the golden calf...

When the isrealites built the Golden Calf it was the ultimate marital unfaithfullness, like a husband, the Lord jelously loved his people, despite this unfaithfullness, God STILL led them home to the promised land, AND even today he has kept his promise to them!

Our promises are in vain, but the Lord is the ultimate bridegroom and his promises are for eternity!

Whats even more awesome is that he choose to love the isrealites (knowing the future) that they would turn away. Would anyone marry another person if they knew they would be unfaithfull???

5:42PM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

I am sorry that more people don't know that God divoriced the people that refued to go into the promised land because there were giants in the land. They said that a golden calf that they built was the god that brought them up...no love relationship there. I am going through a divorice that should have been done years ago for the sake of my children as well as myself. I stayed because I thought the vow was 'until death do us part'. My wasn't mine was to LOVE,HONOR,CHARISH' until death do us part. Ther hasn't been love,honor or charish for some time now. The contract is broken.

11:27PM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

God hates divorce, he instructs men to love their wives like Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her everyday and sacrificing his desires to meet her needs!

He instructs women to submit to their husbands in the same way. Luckily in my marriage it is not a cord of two strands which is easily broken, It is a three stranded marrige, my wife, me and God, much stronger.

8:33PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

thanks for the post.... right now I am on a custody fight... aww divorce when we have kids.. is ...... hard... but hey.. we have to keep on going

9:41AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

I imagine myself as William Wallace (have you seen 'Braveheart'?) screaming: FREEDOM!!!! :-)

9:40AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Divorce is the first step to FREEDOM!!!

8:34AM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

thanks

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