When my wife, Ruth and I married, we assured each other that we were truly committed to our “until death do us part” wedding vow. Specifically, we agreed that divorce is not an option in our marriage. Although it seems to me that this should be an important consideration for any couple preparing to marry, it was crucial for Ruth and I. In part, this was due to the fact that we both have had previous marriages. Additionally, we both came from homes with divorced parents. Having had an up close and intimate experience with the devastation divorce brought us, our parents, our children, our siblings and so many others; we wanted our relationship to have no part in contributing to that.
THE THEFT OF DIVORCE
In addition to the waste that divorce had caused in our own lives, Ruth and I had a growing concern for the ruin throughout our society that has come from divorce. Relevant U.S. statistics* on this include:
- Annually, there are about 2.1 million marriages and there are about 1 million divorces. The divorces impact more than 1 million children.
- Each divorce costs our society an estimated $25,000 to $30,000. That means $25 to $30 billion in overall increased cost to our nation.
- Children in single parent homes are:
- Seven times more likely to live in poverty.
- Nine times more likely to drop out of school.
- More likely to have academic problems, behavior problems, be aggressive, have low self-esteem, feel depressed, and experiment with illegal drugs.
- 70% more likely to be expelled or suspended from school.
- Twenty times more likely to be in prison.
- 25-30% more vulnerable to illness.
- The negative impact of divorce on business includes:
- Disrupting the productivity of a worker for up to three years.
- During the first year following a divorce, the divorced employee loses an average of four weeks work.
- Lost productivity, due to marriage and relationship difficulties, cost companies an estimated $6 billion.
- Unhealthy marriages, family problems and divorce are major stressors. Stress related issues cost corporate America $300 billion annually.
- Unhappily married couples were almost four times more likely to have a partner abusing alcohol. Individuals with alcohol related issues miss work 30% more.
- Health issues affected by divorce include:
- Married men live ten years longer than divorced men. Married women live four years longer than divorced women.
- Divorced men are twice as likely to die of heart disease, stroke, hypertension or cancer; four times as apt to die in accidents; and eight times higher by murder.
* Sources include: U.S. Census Bureau, Marriage Commission Research, NY Institute for American Values, Marriage Savers, President Obama, Choosing Wisely Before You Divorce, A Cry Unheard and The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.
THE BEST DEFENSE …
In order to under gird our commitment to our “until death do us part”wedding vow, from early on in our marriage we have kept our eyes open for married couples activities and groups that we could join in. Our most significant find, during the first eight years of our marriage, was the Married Couples Fellowship at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa (CCCM). It’s a wonderful group, headed up by Pastor John Mann and his wife, Rynner. We received far too many blessings through our involvement with this fellowship to recount here. One of our very favorites, though, was getting to go with the group on their annual week-long couples retreats to Kauai. Those retreats almost always coincided with our wedding anniversary. If you’d like to get a better sense of all this and have a good laugh, check out my related article, entitled Kayaking Up The Waialua. Continue reading