Ethics & Religion
June 28, 2017
First of a two-part series
By Mike McManus
Marriage has fallen on hard times. Half of America's marriages have
ended in divorce since 1975 - a divorce rate that is triple that of
Britain or France.
Dr. Diane Medved offers answers in a compelling new book, Don't Divorce:
Compelling Arguments for Saving and Revitalizing Your Marriage.
It is must reading for anyone considering divorce.
"Mending your marriage is good for you and for your partner," she
writes. "Overcoming problems will teach you how to prevent future
problems in your marriage...On the other hand, divorce harms your
self-esteem, your present and future health and your standard of
Of course, children will benefit from what she calls the "two-parent
advantage." They'll learn from you how you resolve conflict, learning
that rifts between people can be overcome. However, "your children will
suffer if you divorce. Your separation will have permanent psychological
effects, perhaps crippling their own romantic relationships."
Oddly, no seminary teaches pastors how to heal marriages. For example,
Rev. Jeffrey Meyers of Overland Park, KS said he was flummoxed by a
husband whose wife wanted a divorce, not knowing what to say.
Unfortunately, every state has passed "No Fault Divorce" laws which
allow either spouse to declare the marriage "irreconcilable." Four out
of five of their spouses disagree, but can't claim in court that the
marriage IS reconcilable. Medved comments: "You are half of your
marriage, yet...it seems you are not as important as the partner who
Since California Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the first No Fault Divorce
law in 1969, the number of divorces nearly doubled in a decade from
639,000 to 1,189,000. Medved writes, "The general importance of children
in divorce has led some marriage advocates to suggest that except in
abuse cases, a divorce shouldn't be granted to those with kids unless
both parents agree to it."
Medved footnotes that statement with a reference to my book, How To Cut
America's Divorce Rate in Half - A Strategy Every State Should Adopt. If
state divorce laws required couples with children to agree to divorce, I
believe the divorce rate could be cut in half. To date, no state has
taken this step.
What most pastors do with marriages in crisis is refer them to
counselors - a big mistake. "All forms of marital counseling are
associated with a two- to three-fold increase in the likelihood of
divorce," according to a book, Covenant Marriage.
Medved asks, "Are you an honest person?" If so, how could you be
unfaithful to your spouse?
Even if infidelity is not an issue, divorce forces you to disconnect
with the person you vowed to love forever." That "strips away joy,
injecting sadness and despair."
Therefore she argues for the alternative: to consider the long-term
view, "preserving the history you've shared with your spouse, and
creating footing for an improved future. Divorce, on the other hand,
dishonors the vow you made, cuts off a substantial portion of your life
(and) harms your children."
Divorced men live 10 years less than married men; women, four years
less, and their children, five years shorter lives.
Medved notes that two-thirds of marriages are in "low-conflict
marriages" which "offer the best hope for being saved, and strengthened
for the sake of children. Staying together for their welfare is perhaps
the most important stand a married couple can take for their children's
The major reason people divorce is that they think they will be happier,
perhaps with a new mate. However, a British study reports that 54% of
those who divorced, later regretted it. Many who divorce hope for a
happier remarriage. However, millions remain single after a divorce. In
the "marriage market" a divorced person is not as desirable to the
opposite sex as the never-married.
Two-thirds of those with children who remarry - experience a second
divorce! Why? There are perpetual fights between kids and stepparents.
Kids say, "I don't want a new mom," and can drive her out.
Medved poses a disturbing question: "If you saw your children downing in
a lake, would you jump in to save them?" Of course. "But if you divorce,
you throw them into the lake...Therefore, change the negative aspects of
Here's some good news. Two out of three unhappily married couples who
avoided divorce and worked at their marriage - ended up happily married
five years later!
Copyright (c) 2017 Michael J. McManus,
President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. For previous
columns go to
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