From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Think twice about divorce

During the 1970s and 1980s, conventional wisdom rationalized the consequences of divorce on children with the thought that children were better off living in happy single parent homes, than in less happy two-parent homes that were filled with marital conflict. However, today’s research suggests a very different picture. As our understanding about the long-term effects of divorce is revealed, committed parents need to take another look before deciding to discard their marriage.  For those who are already divorced, it is hoped that these thoughts will help with the vital tasks of co-parenting.

Those who think that “a bad marriage is forever” are urged to consider the work of  Professor Linda Waite, who studied couples who almost got a divorce. In her book, The Case for Marriage, she reports that bad marriages are not as permanent as we previously assumed. Over time, she found that 86% of people who considered themselves to be in bad marriages but who chose to stick it out, reported a turn around in their marriage over the next five years. In other words, their decision to honor their vows and hang in with their marriage actually resulted in a return to former levels of happiness once the option of divorce was dismissed. In view of this finding or until we develop improved ways to protect our children, parents should give responsible consideration to their marital obligations. For those who have already divorced, remember to behave in the best interest of your children. While certain circumstances, such as abuse and domestic violence make divorce imperative, we must realize that whimsical divorces create broken hearts in our children that last a lifetime.  

©Copyright, 2004, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

Return to Love & Marriage

Return to Table of Contents