Marriage and Divorce

It is a very common story. Two people meet. They fall in love, and soon; they decide to spend the rest of their lives together. They decide to get married. They plan a wedding. They invite their relatives and their closest friends. And, in the presence of God; they take life-long vows. What is wrong with this picture?

Nothing! However, in our society today, within 8 to 10 years after exchanging their eternal vows and even after having children, roughly a half of first marriages end in divorce. Divorce, is a major life-changing stressor that affects millions of adults and children in our society. Every year, over a million couples divorce in the United States, and over a million children are affected.

When marriages end, the consequences are often disastrous, especially for the children that are involved. How are the lives of adults and children changed, when divorce occurs? Let us look at the adults first. Today, we know a great deal more about how divorce affects adults than we did just a decade ago, or even just 5 years ago. We know, for example, that within 5 years after their first marriage ends, 80% of men and 75% of women are remarried.

We know that most second marriages and subsequent ones are more likely to end than first ones are, and that years, even decades after first marriages end, some parents are still angry and they are experiencing difficulties moving ahead with their lives. Many parents find that communicating with an ex-spouse following divorce can present major challenges. Moreover, within a very short time, they are faced with the harsh reality that continuing to work with each other to co-parent their children, especially when they have a history of not getting along well, can be very stressful.

Insofar as children are concerned, they are the ones, who usually suffer the most when marriages end. We know that younger children are usually more adversely affected than older ones are, and that boys are usually more adversely affected than girls are. We also know that many of the problems, which children usually encounter following divorce, continue to affect them well into their adult years, and that children, whose parents divorced, are more likely to divorce when they become adults.

In addition, studies confirm that children of divorce are more likely to do poorly in school. They are more likely to use drugs. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, and they are more likely to become depressed. Even the suicide rates are usually much higher for children of divorce than for those children, whose parents stay together....

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Danny Ding