Monday, August 30, 2010

The Dreaded ‘D’ Word in Any Marriage: DIVORCE


Do you ever think about divorce?  According to divorcestatistics.org, the divorce rate in America for first marriages is 41%, 60% for second and 73% for third marriages.  The divorce rate for couples with children is 40%, while those without children 66%.  Generally speaking, it is said that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Do happily married people ever think about divorce?  I don’t know, but I do.  I want to remain happily married.  Just looking at my extended family alone, the odds in favor of divorce is very high: my grandmother is divorced, my aunts and uncles, my mother-in-law, her sister, my father-in-law twice…  So, I do think of divorce and the fragility of marriage:
  • how easy it is to break the bond;
  • what, how and why things go wrong; and
  • the hard work it requires to keep a happy marriage.

For couples with children who divorce, not only does divorce mean dissolving a marriage, but also a family.  Admittedly, my husband and I agree that children don’t bring a couple together – but can pull them apart.  There is less time together as husband and wife, for ‘me’ time and sleep.  There is more time devoted to being ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and bringing up baby.  It is so easy for the ‘family’ to take over the ‘marriage’.

So, in the past year, I decided to really think about my relationship with my husband and our family unit.  How can I help my marriage and my family pursue long-term happiness?  

This is the equation I came up with:


Love, Health, Mind and Spirit, and Resources
+
Time for myself, my husband, my child and my community
=
HAPPY MARRIAGE
+
HAPPY FAMILY


I pinpointed four issues important in creating a strong happy family: Love, Health, Mind and Spirit, and Resources.

  1. LOVE is most important because love binds the marriage and the family together and sets the tone for our everyday existence.  The goal is to experience each other’s company, be sensitive, responsive, trust, respect, honor and love each other, and to prioritize bonding time together.

  1. HEALTH is next because we could not physically live and enjoy being together without it.  The goal is to focus on the family’s nutritive diet, proper exercise, quality sleep and daily outdoor time in nature.

  1. MIND AND SPIRIT directs our lives together.  The goal is to focus on growing together – not apart: play and learn together, teach and challenge each other, communicate openly and share information with each other.

  1. RESOURCES allow us to create more of what we already have and enjoy.  Resources could mean money, but also work, knowledge, networks, and relationships.  Everyone contributes, however big or small, to the resources of the family.

TIME is an important resource and I need to set aside constructive time daily for:

  1. MYSELF, for without making time for myself, I cannot be happy.

  1. MY SPOUSE, for without OUR happiness, our marriage cannot be happy.

  1. MY CHILD, for without love and attention, our family cannot be happy.

  1. OUR COMMUNITY, for the family needs to be part of the community.

I have my plan and I will follow it.  If there are any bumps on the road, and I suspect there always are, I can ask: what failed us in the past, what are we doing now and how can we do it better.  Then, I can modify my plan accordingly.  I love being married.  I love being a wife and mother.  I love my family.  I hate to think that passive complacency could cause any harm to what I have worked so hard to have.  I will work to keep far away fom that dreaded ‘D’ word.

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