We’ve Got It Backwards


Marriage is supposed to be permanent and parenting is supposed to be temporary. It seems as though our society has it backwards. It feels like we are slipping into a thought pattern of thinking marriage is temporary and parenting lasts forever as we see more children move back into their parent’s home or parents assuming responsibility for the care of their grandchildren.

At Winning At Home, we do our best to promote staying married for life through platforms like this article and speaking around the world about how to maintain a healthy marriage. I think there is a greater chance our children will be successful if we provide them with a stable home environment. Of course there are no guarantees, but let’s also not give up so easily at the first sign of trouble.

I recently read an article entitled, “Ways I Blew My Marriage” that was written by a man who had been divorced twice. The article originated out of an experience he had when asked to give marital advice to his sister on the eve of her wedding. He felt he had nothing to offer. Instead, he made a joke about divorce and received a few courtesy giggles. The experience left him feeling a bit dejected until it occurred to him that he had a lot of “keeping your marriage from ending” advice that could be just as helpful. Sometimes people who have been through a divorce hide behind jokes, but the divorced people I’ve talked to assure me there’s nothing funny about it.

I remember what one woman told me after she went through a divorce. She said the relief someone thinks they will feel after divorcing their spouse will be replaced tenfold by the stress of being a single parent, adjusting to a reduced income, and extreme feelings of loneliness. This woman thought she would savor her time alone only to quickly miss having someone in her life. When she started dating again, she realized that nobody is perfect and that marriage is going to be work regardless of who you marry. That fact is reinforced by statistics from various websites that find over 60 percent of second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. And don’t think getting divorced will eliminate that person from your life. If you have children, you will always be connected, and those encounters will be even more stressful than what you experienced while you were married.

When people are in the throes of marital distress, they simply can’t see the forest through the trees. Their view is blocked by the loss of communication they’re currently experiencing, the doubt they feel about their love for their spouse at the moment, and the unrealistic notion that somehow divorcing will solve their problems. That couldn’t be further from the truth. So many marriages could be saved if people were willing to fight for their marriage through counseling together, attending a retreat, or simply by making an effort. I really believe divorce doesn’t solve your problems, it adds to them. I know there are some very sensitive situations involving abuse or infidelity, but I’ve seen healing even in marriages that have experienced those situations.

If your marriage is in distress, I encourage you to take all of the energy you would use to survive a divorce and put it back into your marriage. Give that a try and see if the results lead to more winning at home.