Calling it Quits
I was seven years old when I first started praying that my parents wouldn’t get divorced. As a child, I understood the confusion that an unstable, married relationship could bring to someone’s life because I was living it. I personally thank God so much that no matter what my parents went through, they chose to stay together. I’m forever grateful that as a young girl I didn’t have to grow up with the consequences that come from parents getting divorced. Couples typically get divorced for a number of reasons, including money problems, infidelity, lack of communication, abuse, compatibility issues, unhappiness, addiction, parenting styles, past hurts, etc. Unfortunately, divorce rarely solves any of these issues. The research shows, in general, that unhappily married adults who divorce are no happier than couples who stayed married. Granted, divorce can be the right decision in certain circumstances involving infidelity or abuse, but it’s important to understand the devastation that divorce can cause.
According to Bridget Maher, a policy analyst for marriage and family at the Family Research Council, "Divorce leads to many ills, including poverty, depression, poor health and a greater likelihood of suicide. Divorced men have higher rates of mental illness and death due to accidents and suicide than married men. Also, divorced fathers who do not live with their children are more likely to engage in behaviors that compromise their health. A study of children's home environments found that divorced mothers are less able to provide the same level of emotional support to their children than married mothers."
In fact, when married couples address problems together, there’s the potential to improve a person's overall quality of life. Divorce is not the answer. Experts always ask, "How do you know when it's time to call it quits?" Maybe we should be asking a different question. "How can we work out our differences?"
Dr. Phil says it this way, "You know you're ready for a divorce when you can walk out the door with no anger, frustration or hurt. Otherwise, you've got unfinished business," says Dr. Phil. "Unless and until you look each other in the eye feeling peace, no hatred or resentment, you're not ready to get a divorce."
Here are some important questions to ask yourself according to an article I read.
- What was your marriage like when it worked?
- When did it go wrong? Why?
- Is what you're fighting about worth breaking up your marriage?
- What do you want?
- What is it costing you to be in your relationship?
- Are you willing to put in the effort to make the relationship work?
- What are you doing to contaminate the relationship?
Finally, relationship problems are opportunities to grow and to make tough situations better. Those are the teachable moments in our lives and the ones we learn the most from. Many couples I know that have gotten divorced say that it was too late to start working out their issues because they were too big, too difficult, or too deep!. But divorce doesn’t magically solve the problems that couples face. If you’re struggling in your relationship and you’ve reached the end, reach out to a couple that you admire that can help you or find a mentor.
“What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”