I saw it in an E-Mail, the announcement of someone I know who is getting a divorce from their spouse. They have two children. I understood, given the public visibility of this individual, that they wanted to announce this sad news just once and for all.
Still, the news was painful to read. Of course, this would mean one parent and the children moving to another location, in another state, while the other party would remain here. Fortunately, the parents are getting counseling, as well as the children.
I thought “My, how things have changed from fifty years ago. “I knew of people who were children then and their parents got divorced and nothing was said. You just had to move on, despite the pain of losing a parent. There was the change in income, the change in status, the change in schools.
You also didn’t want to mention divorce either in church. There would always be the moralist church member who would pontificate and say “that so and so child had come from a broken home .“ For these children, fifty years ago, there would be a tendency for isolation. Not many people would volunteer to become a surrogate parent and escort a young person to the “ father-son “ banquet or the “ mother-daughter “ tea at the local church.
Now things are different and hopefully better for families. You now have Divorce Recovery workshops at many churches. You have organizations of support for single parents. You have bereavement programs for children. All of this is wonderful, and is greatly needed to help people who are hurting.
But you didn’t have this fifty years ago. Then the landscape was different, and it was lonely and difficult.
The popular thinking is that divorce rates are continuing to rise, and with that, there are greater challenges facing families that are affected by divorce. But is this really true ?
Sarah Jacoby has noted:
Researchers have found that the rate of divorce in the U.S. actually peaked at about 40% around 1980 and has been declining ever since. And, according to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, the probability of a first marriage lasting at least a decade was 68% for women and 70% for men between 2006 and 2010. The probability that they would make it to 20 years was 52% for women and 56% for men, so that percentage is closer to the frequently-cited “half,” but still not there.
Other estimates show that three-quarters of those married in the 1990s would make it at least 15 years (compared with just 65% of those married in the 1980s). And if that current trend continues, the vast majority (about two-thirds) of marriages will never divorce. Divorce Rate In America 2017 Statistics, Marriage Today – Refinery29 https://www.refinery29.com › Health › Sex Cached Jan 24, 2017 –
So maybe the news is better than we thought. There is still divorce, but there is not as much of it as we may tend to believe. Perhaps, all of the resources we now have “ i.e. mental health providers, marriage and family therapists, marriage enrichment and other couple communication events”, along with lawyer fees, have provided protective factors for couples being able to remain together.
This still does not help you when you hear about a couple you know who will be separating.
As James Taylor noted in his song “Her Town Too “
“ She gets the house and the garden,
He gets the boys in the band;
Some of them his friends,
Some of them her friends,
Some of them understand “
Ah, the understanding part ! That’s the challenge- to be supportive of all who are affected when a family re-configures, due to divorce, and not be judgmental.
We know there will be pain, in these instances, but people, especially people of faith, can be very helpful, supportive and become “healers “ for those who long for some kind of meaningful family connection.
May it be so.