This June marked the 20th year our family has vacationed at the same cabin that we’ve rented from the same family. That is the entire life span of our son Eric, who was just three months old the first time we came here. Our daughters were two and four.
We lived in the same house for fourteen years and went to the same church and after moving we have lived in the same house for five years and attended the same church. My husband had the same job for fourteen years and has been at his current job for five years.
Gone are the days of a father working for his entire career at the same business. Gone are the days of families who have lived in the same house for the entire life span of their children. Gone are the days of going to the same school with the same friends from beginning to end. We no longer have a family physician that not only delivered all our children but cared for them for their entire life. The vow we take at marriage “till death do us part” no longer seems relevant to most people, having been replaced with “until I no longer love you” or some other trite phrase.
There can be some good in these changes. I’ve learned to be more flexible, I’ve learned how to develop new friendships, I’ve learned how to make an enjoyable life for myself in new situations, but I’ve also lost touch with old friends, and lost some of the sense of security that comes with having sameness in my life.
50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.
This means that half of the children in the United States not only faces all of the above changes, but needs to adjust to living in two different households, switching every week or month as set up by their parents. They often have to adjust to having a new mom and/or dad and new sets of siblings in both of those relationships.
The other situation children of divorce often find themselves in is growing up without a father. Fully 40% of children with divorced parents have no father who is active in their lives.
Children who don’t have the coping abilities of adults are losing even their basic sense of sameness. Is it any wonder that so many of them end up with emotional, physical, and psychological problems?
I contend that parents separating and leaving each other and their children is not normal, and that children of whatever age do not learn how to cope well, but that losing their sense of sameness leads to lifelong damage.
When I got married 25 years ago our pastors asked us to make a commitment to each other that divorce would never be an option. I’m really grateful for having been asked to do that and that both of us were willing to make that decision. I’m glad to say that even during the roughest times it never was mentioned as an option.
Would you be willing to make that commitment to your spouse today? I think we as a society need to recognize what we are doing to future generations by removing the sameness in their lives, and be willing to take seriously our marriage vows. We need to give our children the years and years of sameness that they need to develop into adults who are healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.
“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19:6-8 (King James Version)
Contact me Phyllis@Phyllis-Sather.com