Talk to your children
Divorce is a sensitive topic, so over the course of time, look for opportunities to open a discussion where you can:
- Identify the benefits of marriages, and thus families staying together;
- Identify the consequences of divorce. You can do this through watching TV programs, your child’s friends, happenings in the community, and life in general.
Correct False Assumptions
Make sure your child understands the “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce” statistic is not accurate. One-half of the married population is not doomed to divorce. There is much reason for hope for a successful marriage.
Re-Commit to Your Own Marriage
Now would be a good time to recommit to your own marriage by explaining to your child something like this: “Our marriage is a commitment we intend to keep. Not only are we committed to each other, but we are committed to you. We will stay married, through good times and bad times. Our marriage is so important to us; we intend to do whatever it takes to keep our marriage healthy and happy.”
Questions to Talk About
- Do you have a friend whose parents have divorced? Do you know how your friend feels about their parent’s divorce?
- Do you think divorce is a good option? What might some other options be?
- What are some things you could do right now to prepare for a strong marriage and avoid a divorce in your future?
Talk to family members and friends
Guide the Conversation
Use some of the questions from the discussion group to guide your conversation.
Additional Questions to Discuss
- Did you know that if you have a friend that divorces you are more likely to divorce? Why do you think that would be the case?
- Do you think it is wise to talk to friends about marital problems, why or why not?
- When is divorce the right course of action? What types of marital issues should be worked out? When do you know your marriage is really over?
- Should remediation marriage counseling be required before people can legally divorce?
Engage the Broader Community
Be a Resource
Think of yourself as part of a public health campaign to inform citizens of the risks associated with divorce and of the long-term benefits of marriage.
Support “Covenant Marriage” options in the law.
Waiting Period Laws
Support laws that require waiting periods for divorce (waiting period waived in cases of abuse). See: Second Chances: A Proposal to Reduce Unnecessary Divorce
Divorce Education and Co-parenting Plan
Support laws that require married couples with minor children to complete divorce education and a mediated co-parenting plan before filing for divorce.
Monitor School Curricula
Monitor your child’s school curricula and textbooks watching for positive messages about marriage and family. When you find messages that undermine marriage and family, be vocal and seek change.
Talking Points- Divorce
By almost every measure, children of divorce fare worse than their peers in intact families. Mounting social science evidence demonstrates the negative physical, emotional and financial effects divorce has on children can last well into adulthood and affect future generations.
Seventy-two percent of all married people are still married to their first spouse. (The ubiquitous “50 percent divorce rate” statistic is highly misleading.)
Divorce is contagious. If your friend is divorced, you are 75 percent more likely to be divorced. If a friend’s friend is divorced, you are 33 percent more likely to be divorced.
Forty percent of unhappily married couples who stayed married report being happy five years later. The couples who report being “very unhappy” and stay married are the most likely to report being “very happy” five years later.
Less than one-third of all divorces are as a result of high-conflict marriages. In addition, divorces that spring from a low-conflict marriage are the most damaging to children.
Barring cases of extreme abuse, children prefer that their parents remain married, even if the relationship is troubled. The research does not align with the common perception of “If we are fighting a lot, it’s better for our kids if we divorce.”
Nearly 75 percent of all divorces filings are by women.
Forty percent of couples “already well into the divorce process say that one or both of them are interested in the possibility of reconciliation.”
Contrary to what you hear about high levels of marital dissatisfaction, 80 percent of married individuals say they are happy.
Social Media Resources
Help Spread the Word
“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them—it was that promise.”
–Thornton Wilder, author
Be Civil and Kind; Not a Pushover
One of today’s most serious problems is the tendency for people to think their “cause” is so important it justifies incivility, intentionally flouting the law, and even violence. Don’t be one of them! Not even just a little bit. Law breaking and incivility are signs of decaying morals and a decaying society. The veneer of civilization is actually quite thin.
Winning at all costs is not a virtue, but compromise isn’t always a virtue, either. Beware of approaching a policy negotiation with nothing but compromise in mind. A compromise mindset is often the forerunner to capitulation. The pursuit of peace does not requires us to conform to other’s beliefs, and others are not required to conform to ours. Peace is about recognizing differences and balancing them. So stay firm. Do not be a push over. Your rights are important and you can hold true to them while being kind, peaceable and civil to those who might disagree with you.