Changing the Divorce Statistic
It is a sad fact that divorce rates are quite high around the world (though my research indicates that the divorce rate is happily rising less steadily than I had previously thought!). Marriage is no longer "until death do us part" but for only as long as the spousal relationship is convenient to both parties. I wonder if one day I will be telling my grandchildren about the "good old days" when the nuclear family still existed and where the family could live together in peaceful harmony.
Before I continue on to discuss ways that we can begin to unify as families and therefore change the divorce statistic, I would like to address one of the primary reasons that the divorce rate is as high as it is:
It is easy to get a divorce. When it came time for my husband to divorce his second wife, it was a simple matter of filing paperwork with the clerk that stated that the couple had been separated for the period of one year and that the marriage could not be saved. There were no questions asked and the couple never went before a judge. All it took was a piece of paper, three signatures and a notary and the awful deed was done. Blessedly, there were no children of the marriage.
I firmly believe that if divorce wasn't so easy we would see less of it. The honest truth is that in our current society and culture women in particular are given very little reason to work on their marriages. Judges favor mothers in custody battles and in many areas men are ordered to pay alimony and child support. The unfortunate fact is that women are rewarded for divorcing their husbands!
I am aware that my opinions on the subject of marriage and divorce may be unpopular. I am notably a Christian woman who has chosen a particular traditional path within my marriage. I believe with all sincerity that the traditional model for marriage works. If it didn't work, it wouldn't be called traditional marriage.
So for those of you who are about to be offended, I wish to apologize in advance. I may lose some popularity, but I will not lose my integrity.
Reasons a Marriage Ends
There are several reasons why a marriage might come to an end, and I intend to spread the responsibility equally between both the husband and the wife. My list is short: I feel that the reasons I have listed are the roots that sometimes branch out into other factors that might affect the marriage.
Breakdown of Communication is a Common Cause of Divorce
Contrary to popular belief, men and women are essentially different from one another. I am biologically, psychologically and emotionally different from my husband. No matter how hard I press, he is never going to be a woman with a woman's response to every problem, and however much he might like me to, I will never think like a man.
I like the way that Emerson Eggerichs talks about how women see through pink glasses and hear with pink hearing aids and men see through blue glasses and hear through blue hearing aids. We each take our own experiences and our own understandings into every discussion we have with our spouse. And sometimes this can lead to miscommunication, anger and resentment.
A breakdown of communication can cause a host of satellite problems within a marriage, including a husband who spends too much time out of the house or a wife who focuses all of her energy on the children.
His Lack of Love Leads Her to Withdraw
Women have an essential need for love. When they feel that their husband doesn't love them, women react in several negative ways, not the least of which is withdrawing their respect and affections from their husband. Most women don't realize that they are contributing to the "crazy cycle" (see the Amazon link above) in so doing. This withdrawal contributes to the breakdown of communication and can be very injurious to the health of the marriage.
Her Lack of Respect Leads Him to Stray
Just as a woman needs love, respect is essential to a man's feeling of well-being within his inter-personal relationships. Many women are surprised to discover that for men, love and respect are interchangeable. Women in general don't understand that a man will not feel loved if he doesn't feel respected: it is the same to him.
Men will seek out people and situations that make him feel good about himself. This is one of the most significant reasons why men are unfaithful to their wives.
The Couple has Nothing in Common (Any More)
People change. I have heard it said time and time again that it is impossible for people to change, but just in the past five years that I have spent with my husband we have discovered new interests together and have learned that there are some things we simply cannot share. He does not, for example, understand my love of dollhouses and hiking, while I strive to get involved in his golf activities even though I also lack interest.
This is one area where marriage takes a serious effort. If a couple isn't willing to make some sacrifices and work together in order to reach some common ground, the marriage may fail.
One person can save a marriage. The reason for this is the "Crazy Cycle" that Eggerich's describes in his book Love and Respect. When a woman feels unloved by her husband, she is likely to respond to him with a lack of respect. When a man feels disrespected by his wife, he is likely to respond to her in an unloving manner. In this case, both individuals are wrong. But it only takes one of them to stop the cycle!
I am personally inclined to believe that it is easier for the woman to jump off the spinning hamster wheel. Men are often surprisingly easy to please once you have learned which buttons to push (and I am not talking about manipulating him, either!). Reaching out to your husband with a respectful attitude can work real magic on him.
I highly recommend taking a look at the book For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. While I began to understand eight or nine months ago the importance of respect to my husband, I didn't truly understand how I could show respect to him until I discovered this wonderful little book!
Men are Accountable, Too!
I find that the power a woman has in her marriage is oft-discussed, while a man's responsibility is overlooked. It is possible that this treatment is due to the fact that most authors on the subject are male and assume that females don't understand the male sex while men of course understand their women. Because of this, some of the best possible information is overlooked and lost in translation.
Don't worry, Shaunti's husband, Jeff, has come to help you with For Men Only.
Loving your wife can completely change your life, and Jeff Feldhahn shows you how in very specific terms. I have also written some hubs on the topic that might help you to better understand some of your wife's language.
What I wish to stress here is that any discord or discomfort within your household may be caused by your wife's unhappiness. It is always worthwhile to examine why she is unhappy, and keep in mind that women are very relational creatures. We want to talk about our problems, rather than think about them. And remember, don't try to fix her! She isn't broken!
You Aren't Stupid
And I know that you aren't. Ladies and gentlemen, I understand that you know that marriage is a challenge and that there are going to be times when it is difficult. I know that if you genuinely wish to save your marriage you will seek marriage counseling. I also know that you are aware that the decision whether or not to divorce is a choice that you make, not something you are forced to do.
I'm not coming to you from a judgmental point of view. My husband is twice divorced and I have been divorced once. We have both been the victims of affairs and we have both forgiven our former spouses. We have both been on the receiving end of the divorce papers. And we both know that sometimes there are simply unresolvable differences between spouses, and the marriage ends.
I know that you don't want to add to the statistics, and will very likely do everything you can to save your marriage.
If you are looking for more information on how to improve your relationship with your spouse, please watch my profile for new hubs on the subject. Marriage is one of my favorite subjects! I have included below a list of links to my previous hubs on the topic as well as a list of recommended reading.
Recommended Reading: Books
Recommended Reading: Hubs
- Showing Your Man Some Love
One of the things that every woman wants to know is how to make her husband feel loved. She naturally believes that because she is so desperate to feel his love, that he must, therefore, be desperate to feel...
- Why Sex is Important to Men
I have a surprise for you, gentlemen: Your wife probably doesn't know how important sex is to you. Now sure, she knows that it's important. She knows that you (very likely) want more of it than she does. She...
- The Importance of Loving Your Wife
I believe that a marriage can be successful even if only one partner is willing to try to make things work. In this case, I am going to be addressing what it is that men can do to help to strengthen their...
- What is it with women and tough questions?
Every man knows that at some point his wife or girlfriend is going to ask him some really tough questions: "Does my bum look too big in this?" or "Does this dress make me look fat?" She's going to ask these...
- Why Women Obsess Over How They Look
Honestly now... Why do we women obsess about how we look? We might have the most supportive and loving husbands in the world and still worry about what others think about us. We look around and we compare...