Wow. I feel beaten up. The other day I was reading a little blurb somewhere on the 'net about divorce. I think it was a statement like, "Remember to take care of your spouse & help them to remember to take care of you. I lost sight of that early on in my marriage." That statement is full of regret & loss & it makes me think as I often look at some aspect of divorce (prolly because I am divorced), & reflect back on my own & wonder, still, to this day, whether I should have worked harder to make the marriage last. (I invariably come to the conclusion that no, I most definitely did the right thing by divorcing my ex.) But as I reviewed this idea I was really struck--Does having children cause divorce or increase the likelihood of beginning the process of divorce? And, as I've looked around the WWW, it seems that there is a definite correlation.
You know, there are so many studies out there about the effects of divorce on the kiddos but it's kinda a new thought about the kids' effect on the marriage... Many researchers attribute the trend of unhappy marriages after children to the type of society we've become--the need instant gratification & if we can't make it work we get out without trying to put the real effort into the relationship. Committed relationships take WORK!! Or, women don't need to be married anymore--roles have changed & women can very easily take care of themselves without benefit of a man, or marriage expectations have changed as people are waiting to find their one true love. (I certainly can relate to that). In fact, people are entering into marriage with the expectation that this man or woman will be their everything: lover, confidante, BFF, exercise partner, etc., etc. So, with all that energy being put into the relationship with that one soul mate & all of a sudden a new critter is bawling its eyes out wanting its diaper changed, it's no wonder that that kind of relationship gets a little fragmented especially if one or both parents really wasn't ready to be a parent in the first place. See this great article by Vicki Glembocki in Philly Mag:
And, according to the research, marital satisfaction drops a whopping 70% after the kids are born! YIKES! But I believe it & we change after the kids are born (at least some of us do...). I had to grow up & actually become responsible--go figure! Dr. Mark Goulston asked his couples therapy clients what they were like before marriage & here was the response: "most will say that it was happier. They were more carefree, playful,
happy and most importantly and poignantly they remember putting a smile
on each others' face. Very quickly they will catch themselves and say
something like: 'Now don't get me wrong, we love our children, but we
did get along better before we had kids.'" Reference: http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/causes-of-divorce/general/getting-through-to-anybody-can-children-cause-divorce.aspx?artid=1353
Now don't go thinking that children cause divorce--I think what studies have shown is that if the marriage is a little rocky to start, adding kids may send it over the edge--or if the couple doesn't take stock of the situation early enough & seek to fix it then perhaps that relationship may not last.
So what do I take from this? Because, am I a hypocrite spouting this nonsense after the fact, as both Xing Fu & I have played the divorce dance? No, I am learning from my mistakes. Being in a LTR & planning for the long haul I will re-state what brought me to write this post in the first place: Take care of your SO, and he/she will take care of you. Don't lose sight of this connection when the slings & arrows of life muddy the waters so much that you forget why you were together in the first place. Love each other.