Sunday, February 7, 2010

Does Divorce Make People Happy?


Research Says Staying Together is Your Best Option
Written by e-Mom. Follow me on Twitter. Subscribe in a Reader

Dear Discerning Reader,

If you’ve ever been divorced & remarried (or if you married a divorced person), please be aware that this entry is not addressed to you. I trust you’re doing your best to appropriate God’s redemptive grace in your new life and relationship.

However, if you're a "wannabe" divorcee, the intent of the following post is to point you to the research, so you can make your own intelligent and informed decision.

Love, e-Mom

The Power of Commitment

Every single one of us faces challenges in marriage. Gender differences, childhood trauma, financial stress, and a myriad of other life issues bring conflict and pain. Even in the best of circumstances, our innate self-focus can make staying married seem nearly impossible.

At some point in your marriage, separation and divorce might look like the best option. But is it?

Focus on the Family produced a readable synopsis of an important research report that was published by the Institute for American Values. Their findings debunk the modern myth that someone in a troubled marriage is faced with a choice between either...

a) staying a miserable relationship and being unhappy forever OR
b) getting a divorce to look for happiness in a new relationship

The research team interviewed 5,232 married adults twice. In the first round, 645 individuals reported being unhappily married. Five years later, these same adults were interviewed again. Some had divorced or separated and some had stayed married.

Same Marriage: New Happiness Five Years Later

Researchers were astounded to find a full two-thirds of the unhappily married spouses were actually happier in their marriages five years later. Surprisingly, the opposite was found to be true for those who had divorced. Why?

The Institute for American Values study determined that while divorce might provide temporary relief from the pain of a bad marriage, it also introduces a host of new complex difficulties. These include child-custody battles, emotionally scarred children, economic hardships, loneliness, poor dating skills, and so on. Only 19 percent of those who got divorced or separated reported being happier five years later.

Among those who initialy rated their marriages as
"very unhappy," but remained together, nearly 80 percent considered themselves "happily married" five years later.


There's the raw data for you. You can read the rest of the Institute for American Values article here. If you’re considering a separation or divorce, I urge you to take some time to read through the IAV study. You’ll hear quotes from men and women who probably have a similar story to yours.

Learn how others have toughed it out through the difficult times, and how their long-term commitment to their marriage took them to a new level of happiness and fulfillment.

Related

1. "Extreme Makeover: How God Renewed Our Marriage Against All the Odds" by Chrysalis

2. "Is Divorce Ever Right?" (The answer might surprise you) by Chrysalis

3. "An Honest Look at Divorce" by Dr. Gary Chapman from his book, Loving Solutions

Note: Discover some interesting new blogs at Best Post of the Week.

Photos: blaisr (Flickr)



Up Next—Spiritual Growth: 7 Steps to Forgiveness

Have you thought about the advantages of divorcing?
The disadvantages?


6 Comments:

A Stone Gatherer said...

Awesome post E-mom! thanks for the stats!!!

Faith said...

This was an excellent article and full of good information! Divorce is not an option for my husband and I and I really only think it is permissible as a Christian if a spouse commits adultery and is not willing to work on the marriage or if abuse occurs and counseling is not working or considered.

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Interesting statistics. My parents divorced when I was young. Several years later they both regretted it. But it was too late. To me, the cost of divorce is too high. And this is just more confirmation. Thanks for sharing!

gemini said...

This is a very strong reminder for couples who are contemplating divorce, the children are the one's most affected and the cycle goes on and on and on. Be proactive...let's heal ourself so we can heal our marriages.

e-Mom said...

Kim: So glad you got something out of this post!

Faith: You're right that separation/divorce... "is permissible as a Christian if a spouse commits adultery and is not willing to work on the marriage or if abuse occurs and counseling is not working or considered."

Alicia: This is so tragic my sweet friend: "My parents divorced when I was young. Several years later they both regretted it. But it was too late." My parents divorced too and still have regrets to this day. :~D

Gemini: Amen, you know the truth: "the children are the one's most affected and the cycle goes on and on and on." :~D

Buffy said...

I am happily married to a divorced man but it was *not* his choice to end the previous marraige. Sad to say, it takes two to make a marriage. If one of you is willing to keep trying and the other one wants out there's not much alternative once they've made their mind up.

It would be interesting to see how that statistic split between people who insisted on divorce v people who wanted to keep trying. Maybe the second lot are better at ultimately creating happiness in another relationship, like my husband has.

 

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