“Divorce is not an Option”

“Divorce is not an Option”

The last line of the article on CNN Living should be the first line of every piece that is written about marriage—“Divorce is not an option.”  “Children of divorce vow to break cycle, create enduring marriages” has a positive message and shares some great information.  Frankly we were surprised.  Usually articles written about divorce are written to downplay its devastating impact on children and the adults who are actors in each divorce’s tragic saga.  The message is more often than not “don’t worry…everyone will eventually get over the pain and besides we just HAVE to have unilateral (one spouse decides) divorce laws…”

Here are some interesting statistics gleaned from the article:

  • “The risk of divorce is 50 percent higher when one spouse comes from a divorced home, and 200 percent higher risk when both of them do.”
  • “Children of divorce are 50 percent more likely to marry another child of divorce.”
  • “Children with divorced parents face inability to trust; they have no role models for commitment.”

But here’s the encouraging news:

  • “Divorce in a family can sometimes help children strengthen their own relationships with their future partner.  Their resolve to make their own marriage work is deepened.”
  • “Children of divorced parents may be more likely to spot a troubled partner and avoid toxic relationships.”
  • One couple interviewed holds tightly to the motto, “Divorce is not an option.”

We say “amen” to that that.  Imagine the difference in the divorce rate if every couple approached every inevitable challenge in a marriage with that understanding.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect.  I didn’t even marry you because I loved you.  I married you because you gave me a promise.  That promise made up for your faults.  And the promise I gave you made up for mine.  Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage.  And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them—it was that promise.”

–Thornton Wilder, author

3 Comments
  • Harvey Rosieur
    Posted at 16:42h, 23 September Reply

    I agree in principle. When two people make such a promise it should not be broken, but it takes two to make it work. One, with all the will in the world , cannot hold together a marriage that has already been betrayed by the other under the influence of drugs,or violence for example. There are times when a physical separation is inevitable; in fact urgently necessary for safety’s sake. I counselled a woman who was being cheated on regularly and eventually quite openly, beaten occasionally and generally treated with absolute contempt by her husband, to leave him. She was a Christian and did not want to initiate such a step. She had to suffer further before she faced the inevitable consequences.
    There are times when one or other partner lack ‘decency’ and put their own ‘fleshly ‘desires before their marriage bond, regardless of the effect on spouse or children. That is complete and utter betrayal and I cannot immagine a worse or more heartless behaviour, nor a more destructive one.
    Marriage should not be entered into lightly. It is intended to be a life-long contract and with the good-will of both parties it can be.I love the advice of Ecclesiastes Chapter 4:9-12. If the marriage is made by a couple in all sincerity, entrusting their safe-keeping to God, He will keep the marriage bonds from breaking even when they are weak. ‘A threefold cord (the couple and the Holy Spirit intertwined)is not quickly broken.’
    We therefore cannot say never to ‘divorce’,or any of the other evils that exist, but we can resolve not to be a part of them ourselves.

  • John Day
    Posted at 17:13h, 26 September Reply

    I really appreciate this article and also affirm the response by Harvey Rosieur. But on the positive side, our personal testimony affirms the truth of the article.

    My wife and I will celebrate our 53 Wedding Anniversary in 2 weeks. I wish I could say that our marriage was 53 years of “wedded bliss”. Sadly we have had more than enough disagreements–particularly in the early years. Fortunately, after “the smoke cleared and the dust settled” we realized that divorce (although considered) was not an option and we needed to figure out how to make our marriage work.

    For the last half of our adult lives, we have served in pastoral ministry. In that context, I have made these two statements to many couples. “Many couples who separate and divorce never live together long enough to figure out how to make marriage work and learn how good it can be,” and “The only thing that has kept us together was our commitment to each other–when we married we both knew that divorce was not an option.

  • United Families International
    Posted at 16:02h, 28 September Reply

    John,
    The research aligns with and supports what you and your wife discovered:

    “Eighty percent of unhappily married couples who stayed married reported being happy five years later. With the couples who reported being ‘very unhappy’ and who stayed married being the most likely to report being ‘very happy’ five years later.” Source: “Does Divorce Make People Happy? Institute for American Values, Maggie Gallagher, Linda Waite, Don Browning, William Doherty, Ye Luo and Scott Stanley

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