Breaking up is hard to do

Marriage has become big business – especially in the United States.

Not only do we spend a fortune on daddy’s little girl’s special day, but the lawyers in the divorce settlement get to have their “special day,” too!

On average, fifty percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce.

The occupation you and your spouse choose may also have an effect on divorce statistics.

If you are a clergyperson, the divorce rate dips to 20 percent (probably due to pressure from Protestant churches – most won’t accept a minister who is single).  But if you are in law enforcement, that number swells to 70 percent.

But no matter where you fall on the divorce meter, divorce is still a traumatic event. Few husbands and wives consider the need for calm, rational thinking while making decisions that affect not only the adults, but impact the children, too.

Many important decisions need to be made when a couple is considering divorce. But at some point, things often get so bad that one or both partners decide that they can’t stand to be around each other any longer – let alone conduct a rational discussion.

What was once thought to be love has now turned into hate. here is no agreement on anything. There is no such thing as a compromise. And as a result, there is no peace in the household.

Add kids to this volatile mix and now you have something very explosive.

Like a drive-by shooting, I have seen a spouse use the kids as a shield to block insults or send them to the soon-to-be-ex in the form of an emotional bomb.

Don’t be fooled. This isn’t a marriage anymore – it’s now a war!

One couple I counseled was masterful at this.

When the wife wanted to leave, the husband deflected her insults about men by telling their six-year-old son that when his mom made disparaging comments about men, she meant all men – including him!

In another case, the wife sent her young daughter to her husband after he announced that he was leaving her because of her drinking problem. The daughter looked at her dad with those cute little brown eyes and said, “Daddy, why are you leaving us?”

Breaking up is hard to do because you have to learn again how to talk to each other, be civil, and choose not to retaliate or play the tit-for-tat game.

Plus you also have to consider the kids FIRST in everything.

Divorce is like a war – but no matter who is left standing at the end, there is no winner. All sides lose – especially the kids.

I’ve had to teach couples how to be cordial, how to react, how to avoid extra hurt for the kids and how to be fair.

I have to remind them that their decisions shouldn’t have anything to do with the spouse and everything to do with the quality of person they are.

We as humans tend to trade our good qualities for bad ones when we’re angry or emotionally upset.

One might question if we really had the good qualities in the first place.

A marriage and family therapist would be worth his/her weight in gold if couples were to start out with one for premarital counseling and then keep the therapist around for the first few years of the marriage.

This is the answer to the divorce problem everywhere!

Couples who divorce must learn how to compromise and how to give up “self” for the sake of the kids.

Isn’t that interesting?

If it’s possible that during divorce proceedings a couple can learn how to compromise and not be selfish, I wonder what would happen if they learned these things before they married?

Maybe divorce attorneys would become an endangered species.