A new Gallup Poll shows that 70 percent of Americans think that divorce is morally acceptable. That’s up 11 percentage points from seven years ago. Good thing? Bad thing? Well the Gallup people seem to think it is a good thing: “People going through divorce often deal with a range of difficult emotions, including anger, sadness, trepidation, remorse, and a sense of failure. One issue becoming less and less a factor in that gut-wrenching mix is the sting of moral condemnation.” http://www.gallup.com/poll/107380/Cultural-Tolerance-Divorce-Grows-70.aspx
But if you ask the some 42 million children (since 1970) who have been devastated by their parents’ divorce, I think they might prefer a little more public “sting” if it were to help keep their family intact. The research is pretty clear: divorce has a dramatically negative impact on children with many suffering from its effects throughout adulthood. (See UFI’s Guide to Family Issues: Divorce) As I read polls such as this one, my heart aches for the children and for the adults who seem to be cavalier and clueless regarding the impact of divorce.
I am reminded of an experience that an acquaintance shared with me. She and her husband were having a tiff and their young daughter, unfortunately, was a witness to the louder than usual voices. As the argument wound down, the couple noticed that their daughter was particularly distraught. Upon inquiring, the young girl choked back her tears and said: “Are you getting a divorce….just like Cami’s parents? Please! Don’t get a divorce.”
The couple took the opportunity to gather their children together and explain:
“We are sorry that we were fighting and we’ll try to handle it differently next time, but know this: Your parents will NEVER get a divorce. It doesn’t matter what happens; we can fight, stomp out of the room, be very unhappy with one another… but we have made a commitment to one another and we will work through our problems. Divorce is not an option for us; so take that off your list of concerns forever.”
I believe her. I only wish that the rest of the country believed in their marriages as much.