Divorce: Do I Really Want to Go There?
- Sunday, 17 October 2010 12:31
- Joyce Oglesby
Divorces are easy to obtain, but “hell” to live through. For years and generations to come! The effects of divorce not only …
Divorces are easy to obtain, but “hell” to live through. For years and generations to come! The effects of divorce not only grip the broken family unit but, also, can strangle the joy right out of living.
If you think you’ve exhausted all efforts to keep a marriage intact, consider these ramifications of divorce.
Here are just a few effects of divorce that I have observed through my experiences in a dysfunctional, abusive childhood, 30+ years in my court-reporting career, and giving advice to hundreds of people over my 39 years as a minister’s wife. While the list is not exhaustive, these are certainly some effects that should be taken into consideration.
1) Financial loss. Both parties generally suffer financially, but typically women bear the brunt of the fall. It’s been proven that women experience approximately a 30 percent decline in their pre-divorce standard of living, while men only experience a 10 percent decline. (A real disparity, since moms typically get the kids and child support doesn’t begin to pay for the cost of rearing a kid!)
2) Compromises health. Extreme stress is not uncommon in divorce.
3) It doesn’t end the war; it merely changes the battleground. A lot of people get divorced because they don’t want to fight anymore. You’ll still fight – you’ll just do it through car windows, at front doors while you dare them to cross a line, via telephone, text, email. It’s a never-ending battle. And it doesn’t really stop when the children are 18; don’t kid yourself!
4) Problems don’t go away. All the ones you had when you were married, you still have when you divorce. It won’t change a thing! And typically, only exacerbates it.
5) If you fought about money, you will continue to do so. Because now someone has to pay child support; and one of you, if not both, will have to forego a lifestyle you became accustomed to in marriage.
6) Divvying up debt and property only adds to the great divide! Suddenly, things that meant very little to either party in the marriage take on a whole different meaning just knowing the other one wants it!
7) It changes your circle of friends. It’s hard to fit into a “couples’ world” when you’re the fifth wheel. It may last for a while, your friends may be gracious, but you will feel awkward, and soon just fade out of the picture and your circle of friends.
8) Dating has changed since you last were on the market! It’s a whole new ballgame out there – regardless of the longevity of your marriage!
9) Can shorten your life expectancy. Again, studies show married people tend to live longer than the unmarried. So, guys, when you think your wife is nagging you to death, she’s really extending your life! Keep that in mind!
10) Your relationship with God will alter. It could go either way: you can have a deeper walk with Jesus, or you can get caught in the quicksand of life. Most Christians find themselves compromising their sexual morality because they can’t rein-in their self-control.
Oh, but wait! There’s more. You didn’t think I’d leave out the kids, did you? How could I? They bear the biggest brunt of divorce. I only put them on the back burner because … hey, that’s what you do when you go through divorce. You’re not kidding me! There may be an isolated incidence here or there when parents’ first consideration is the kids.
And, I would say, while you might want to bail in your marriage, your children don’t want you to! I’m going to, again, interject this caveat: When you live in an abusive situation, one to the extent that I did where Mom is being beaten up day in and day out – or the kids, for that matter – your children NEED to be out of that environment. But, what they WANT – their heart’s desire – is for Mom and Dad to get along! They still need both parents. That kind of situation is just a mess!
What are the effects of divorce on children?
1) It rocks their world. Sometimes, depending on how the parents handle it, it can affect different children varying ways. But for most kids, divorce is traumatic!
2) They will typically question: Was this my fault? The effects of the tension throughout the marriage exacerbate with divorce, and they accept a lot of the blame for the parents’ failure to get along.
3) Their security is challenged. Kids will question: “Hey, if Dad left me, will Mom leave me, too?” Hundreds of thoughts go through their minds and settle harshly on their hearts.
4) Lifestyle change. The majority of kids who “go through a divorce”:
a. find themselves moving out of their home environment;
b. sometimes relocating to a different town – leaving friends and teachers and having to adjust to new surroundings;
c. sees a parent struggling with money more so than ever before – especially if child support isn’t timely.
5) Can adversely affect their grades. You may suddenly find a straight-A student’s grades failing miserably. A student already struggling, be prepared for a blow-out in his grades, and a drop-out later on.
6) Kids are more likely to make poor choices after divorce. Many kids – boys, especially – get involved in drugs, alcohol and deal with anger issues, and girls enter into abusive relationships.
7) Negative health side effects include depression, anger, frustration, eating disorders, alteration in sleeping patterns, head and stomachaches, and mood disorders.
8) Lose their family structure – one set of the grandparents typically loses out! Aunts, uncles, that stream of support – prayerfully a support; because that’s not always the case – but, that family unit is disrupted forever!
9) KIDS ARE NOT AS RESILIENT AS WE DEMAND THEY BE. Adults don’t even adjust to the change easily, yet we expect our kids to – and not make things worse! At some point, – and again, usually happens pretty fast – they are forced into “adopting” a new mom/dad/set of siblings.
10) SPECIAL OCCASIONS ARE NEVER THE SAME. Birthdays, Christmas, graduations, weddings, you name … forever changed!
11) Psychologically, the effects show up in different seasons of a child’s life. You may not see a radical change immediately, but it can arise, even later in life. Or, just when you think they have taken the hurdle, another decade brings another set of issues. Divorce hangs around from D-day (divorce day) to D-day (death day). Marriage truly is “till death do us part.”
The consequences of divorce are costly. There are so many variables involved when people come to this place in their lives. It comes down to a choice – a choice of wills. Many times, only one wants the divorce, leaving the other party no choice. One wills not to work it out; everyone else suffers the consequences.
I’ve seen the worst of the worst scenarios in the legal world. There is no justice when it comes to divorce. Sometimes the dust settles fairly quickly after the hate mongering is over; sometimes, it’s YEARS before the emotions calm down; and then, there truly are times they take the bitterness to their graves.
Before you make any rash decisions, ask yourself the question: Divorce: Do we really want to go there?