Marriage, Divorce, and Kids

By: Mark Brandenburg Ma, Cpcc

It’s been said that one of the problems that
married couples have today is that men tend to
choose their wives the same way they choose their
cars or trucks.

They get the best one available and hope that
there’s not much maintenance down the road.

While this may occasionally be true, there are
certain practices that married couples must follow
in order to avoid adding to a divorce rate that
hovers around 50%. These are practices that are
essential not only for the success of their
marriage, they are essential for the well-being of
our children.

In Maggie Gallagher’s book, “The Abolition of
Marriage," she states that, “Half of all children
will witness the breakup of a parent’s marriage.
Of these, close to half will also see the breakup
of a parent’s second marriage."

Can we possibly continue with a system that allows
half of our children to witness the breakup of
their parent’s marriage? Is a divorce rate near
50% enough to have us consider new ideas about how
we decide about marriage and divorce?

One logical place to start is to educate people
about the qualities of a successful marriage.

We can’t be effective when we educate them two
months before they marry. Emotional intelligence
skills and relationship skills must be taught to
our young people early in life.

When we do teach them about successful relationships,
we should include these qualities:

1.Commitment—According to one definition,
“commitment is a freely chosen inner resolve to
follow through with a course even though
difficulty arises.

How do we show our children
what to do when difficulty arises? Do we move to
where the grass is greener? Commitment is a daily
discipline. It’s the core from which we respond to
difficulty. It’s what makes our lives richer and

2.Emotional Awareness—If we know what’s really
bothering us, we can have effective and meaningful
conversations with our spouse. We can be genuine,
honest, and open with each other. And we can
discover that much of the pain we feel in our
relationship is actually our past emotional
history coming back to haunt us.

If you’re planning on getting married someday, be
aware of what your emotional issues are. And if
you don’t know what your issues are, you may be
the most likely candidate for a divorce down the

3.Be Kind, Not Right—We tend to have a tremendous
stake in showing our loved ones that we’re right.
An enormous amount of time is wasted in our
relationships by arguing over who’s right or

This excessive arguing is just an indication of our
low self-esteem. A much easier and more effective way
to be in a relationship is to commit to kindness. When
you’re kind, you don’t need to be right. And it’s much
easier for others to be with you!

There certainly are both justifiable divorces and
“well-done" divorces that are respectful of the
kids involved. But the number of divorces
involving childish and irresponsible decisions
based on self-interest is staggering.

Children deserve more than this. To allow a system
to continue that has half of our kids witnessing
their parent’s divorce is to turn our backs on our
most precious commodity.

It’s time to consider alternatives. Let’s look at
how we can spend more time educating and training
young people about relationship skills and
emotional intelligence. Let’s look at the fact
that in about 80% of the divorces in this country,
only one of the participants (usually the woman)
wants to end the marriage. Can we keep no-fault
divorce as it is?

And most importantlyFree Web Content, let’s look at our own
attitudes about commitment and decide what we want
to do.

Because the cost of not doing these things is
beyond measure.

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