When you got married, you didn’t expect to have any marriage trouble. It’s the same for everyone who gets married. The high of love and connection seems impenetrable. Yet the statistics tell the story of at least half of married people destined for divorce.
And let’s be perfectly honest. You ignored the statistics. And you also discounted the experiences of your friends and family members who had gone through a divorce. You basically ignored the warnings.
Yet, in spite you got married with expectations of a lifetime of harmony.
Do you see the disconnection?
I am not trying to make you feel worse than you already must be feeling. I am NOT judging you! But it is time to get serious about saving your marriage! Just because you are on the edge of the cliff, and everyone is shouting for you to jump (societies “experts” say divorce is no problem), does not mean you have to jump, and kill a marriage that can be saved.
The only real cause of divorce is the decision to get one. Instead, you could learn how to save your marriage
The first step is to back off away from the cliff.
Let’s give this looming divorce some serious thought. Because, as has been proven over and over, when you know the causes that led you here, you can find better ways that allow you to regain a happy marriage.
People only begin asking divorce questions when everything looks bleak. At some point in a troubled marriage people begin to ask themselves if what they are going through is worth it, then they start going downhill really fast.
It is not too late. Because, and I hate to sound so cavalier, maybe going through what you are now experiencing was the only way to get you to start paying attention to your marriage!
When you no longer see a way out of the suffering, it is natural to weigh your options and start looking into divorce as one of them.
It is not a good thing, but it is natural.
Because most people, at that point, have switched to survival mode, which means the first questions are not even the correct ones; but instinctively self-protective.
But now is the time to wake up, now is the time to get meaningful help.
Think about it this way.
Divorce is the equivalent of abandoning ship; it is not a decision people should take lightly, or without making every effort to save their marriage. Only when there is no hope left, should you consider abandoning your marriage.
We hear “I did all I can” from people who write to us, all the time.
Is that so?
What exactly did you try?
How could you have come up with some superb knowledge if all your past ideas led you to this point?
You need to admit you did not know what to do. Don’t just blame this, or that, or him, or her. You just did not know how to make your marriage wonderful; or it would be! It never would have gotten off track at all.
Here is the irony:It is far easier to make your marriage incredible again, than it is to end your marriage. Click To Tweet
You only need to know how, and have the will to get through this tough patch!
The divorce rate in our country does not define mass psychological dysfunction. It defines a lack of marriage understanding.
Many have misled you to believe marriage is difficult, and requires compatibility, daily effort, and sacrifice. It does not.
It requires proactive love, which you already have within you (but must learn how to manifest). Then, it requires understanding the dynamics of marriage.
Would you go up behind the wheel of an airplane without knowing how to fly it?? Of course not!
But that is what you did when you got married. You put all your eneffrgy into the wedding, honeymoon, and whatever. But you did not study how to build upon your love and friendship into a true marriage.
That, you could say, is the main reason for divorce; not lack of money, unfaithfulness, or “irreconcilable differences”. In other words we will put it this way,
The causes of divorce can be reversed.
Marriage is scientific. There are laws that govern marriage. Just as there are laws that govern flight, or building, or music. If you ignore those laws, (which you never knew about), you crash… period!
Sadly, our society spends so much effort on educating its children about mathematics, literature, etc., but the most important aspects of living are neglected. It isn’t your fault your marriage is in trouble. But now you need to get marriage education.
One of our pioneer marriage counselors Paul Haggenburger, who taught psychology in colleges, used to say that marriage counseling is 99% educational when done right. I mostly agree. The online program we created is very educational, and very comforting as well. Because you will learn to see the wonderful possibilities. Even though your marriage seems to be at an end.
No public schools teach relationship or communication skills. No courses instruct children about what to expect or look for in marriage relationships. The art of unconditional marriage is unknown in our culture.
Young men and women typically seek a suitable mate based on chemistry, looks, and similar tastes. For this reason, even the most suitable married couples have a difficult time being married. Because they do not know what is required of them.
Marriage is like any other “THING” — You Need to Know How It Works and What to Do
If your marriage is troubled and you feel desperate, don’t give up. Every couple I’ve worked with had reached the “I give up” stage (Are you in this stage?), but 99% of them recovered from that within hours of using our techniques methods, and principles.
They stopped arguing, mistreating each other, and soon began to treat each other the right and respectful way. They went on to have wonderful marriages. And you can, too!
You should never give up. But you need to know how marriage works and what you have to do. Once you’ve learned the essentials, your marriage will be amazing.
If your marriage is in trouble, but not at the end of the rope where you need our program, get a hold of Lessons for a Happy Marriage or Breaking The Cycle, and end your suffering and frustration. I promise you will be amazed by the logic and simplicity of marriage rules.
It makes no difference what you might think may be causing your marital problems.
Maybe you tried couples counseling, but that didn’t work. Marriage counselors suffer the same rate of divorce as everyone else. Its usually not the best way to go…. when I was a divorce mediator I got my referrals from therapists; what does that tell you?
Divorce is a Black Hole
Divorce is a black hole that individuals get sucked into when they think they have to end their marriage.
Some people imagine the divorce process can be made more humane. These good people fight the system. I was one of them. The reason I became a divorce mediator was to help people divorce with “kindness”. It was altruistic, but not plausible.
Trying to change how divorces happen ultimately is not the answer. It isn’t the process that creates the trouble, anyway. Divorce itself is the problem. You cannot improve catastrophes like divorce by very much. Divorce always results in disaster for the family, not to mention the unforeseen domino effects it has on future generations and society itself.
When I finished my first book I spoke at Second Saturday seminars, for women who were getting ready for divorce. Thankfully, there were a number of women who were not entirely committed to divorce. They were open-minded, and our marriage help program saved their marriages.
Divorce is a black hole. Once you pull the trigger, you have no idea what will happen to you, your spouse, and your children. If you stick out your marriage, and fearlessly face your issues, at least you have a foundation for your family and vows to start anew.
In all, divorce compares to the cutting off a diseased limb, instead of treating it with antibiotics. Not every marriage can be saved, but most can, if you approach it with patience and an educated understanding.
Usually, marriages that have ended in divorce were seen as not fixable because they were misunderstood as being alive. They were abandoned, run away from.
The general public misunderstands marriage
At the Marriage Foundation we fight what we see as the universal ignorance about marriage.
We’ve defined marriage and all its functions into scientific, pragmatic parts. Breaking the Cycle and especially our program, allows individuals to save their marriage through knowledgeable, positive actions.
The “hushed up” trouble with divorce is a secret right in front of us. Divorce lawyers in virtually all communities, do not think of themselves as evil. They just do not know any better! we don’t see them as evil, either. They just don’t know.
Our confused-about-marriage society blames the family-law industry for divorce, which misses the point. Lawyers, judges, and marriage and family therapists unintentionally and subconsciously cover up the troubles caused by divorce. But these troubles should be considered before you divorce.
Here is a list of problems that come from divorcing. It should be noted that these problems cannot be avoided.
- Divorce undermines self confidence. The divorcee cannot miss the obvious. They made a bad choice. Not just “a” choice, but the 2nd biggest decision of their life!
- It undermines the important qualities of problem solving, loyalty, self-reflection, trust, and judgement.
- Divorce makes “giving up” seem OK.
- It teaches that “blame” is justifiable. Other horrible traits become justified: anger, resentment, self pity, and rationalizing.
The above happens to the divorced couple, their children, and their family and friends, to one degree or another. The suffering imposed upon children of divorce is horrible!
The black hole deepens for children
This is a small list, just to spark some thought about what children suffer through:
- They have their two “protectors” now fighting each other. This seeds mistrust.
- Parents put aside children in favor of a protracted dispute. This seeds disloyalty
- They lose their foundation of safety. This seeds fear.
- Parents become poor role models for how to create harmony. This seeds broken future families.
- Children statistically do poorly in almost every way, from psychologically to economically, to relationships and academics.
- Children NEVER recover. Recovery is not the same as adapting.
Before you divorce, please evaluate the effort it will take to regroup, and make your marriage into what it should be. You can then weigh that against all the various costs of divorce.
We have never found divorce to be the answer (unless there are unsolvable issues, such as child molestation). Fixing your marriage may be easier than you think! You need to learn about marriage before you can decide. But no matter how difficult your marriage, divorce is way worse than you can imagine!
So let’s take a closer look on what causes divorce
When I began the research to help people with their marriage, I looked into what causes divorce. i thought it was the first step in creating remedies.
In 2003, common wisdom pointed to unfaithfulness, usually by the husband, financial issues, drugs, or alcohol. I am unsure of current “thinking”. But I’m sure it is wrong.
The above are all “bad” circumstances for sure, but I had to ask why good people would risk ruining a marriage by indulging in an affair, or risk the financial security of their family by not doing all they could. There had to be something more that led married couples, who swore love and loyalty, to get so far off track.
Some causes for divorce that need no further explanation. For instance, mental instability leading to the point of endangerment, and unwillingness to face the reality of the psychological problems, is grounds for separation that may lead to divorce.
Or if you discover you are the wrong gender, sexual orientation, or are in a really bad situation (such as with pedophiles or murderers), divorce is reasonable, rather than trying to save such a marriage.
But lets stick with usual people who succumb to the weight of temporary problems and cannot figure out how to resuscitate their marriage. What causes divorce for those families?
Prior to having children, a greater number of “legitimate” causes for divorce exists. It is very possible a couple rushes into marriage without the maturity or wisdom required. Or if couples learn things about their spouse, they find difficult to live with (which should have been known before marriage), the divorce door opens much easier.
But once children are present, the cost of divorce becomes in many ways, too high, which makes uncovering the cause(s) the top priority. Then, couples should feel compelled by their situation to deal with them and find positive solutions.
The causes for divorce are much simpler and fixable than people think. In fact, I have broken the causes down into general “marriage killers” and explain them in great depth in our books and courses. They are listed below in a simplified fashion:
- The first cause is broad, it is called over familiarity. This means (usually) both individuals gradually start to treat each other like siblings.They take each other for granted, expecting each other to not get in their space, but having no problem getting into each other’s space.Speech and behavior becomes crude and disrespectful, yet they feel offended when treated that same way.The best way to illustrate this cause of misery is to compare your current behavior to how you treated them during the dating/courting phase.
- The second cause is a lack of understanding of marital communication. It seems we, as a society, have not drawn a clear distinction between marital communication and other communication types. But you should understand, it is absurd to speak with your spouse the same way you would with someone else. So when you tie this cause with over familiarity, you end up in a living hell.
- The third cause is best described as business mentality. Think about it by reflecting back to the first cause and ask yourself if you had read it with your spouse or yourself in mind. Too many individuals expect wonderful treatment from their spouse. However, they only begin giving wonderful treatment when the other has proven their sincerity, similar to a business deal.This disastrous cause overrides your vows, which were not supposed to have been given with reciprocation in mind.
I hope you can see that focusing on the underlying causes of marriage failure makes a lot more sense than pointing out the manifestations.
If an individual feels both unloved and trapped, there are countless ways their behavior will be wacky. What’s the bottom line? In our culture, the escape hatches are too numerous to count, whether via porn, cheating, fighting, or divorce.
The best thing you can do when your marriage begins slipping is to gain marriage understanding. Study marriage. Learn about it, about what marriage can give you and what obstacles you will face and how to overcome them.
The point is don’t give up just because it feels tough at the moment. First learn, then apply your knowledge to make your marriage great. But don’t try to figure it out yourself. It is too complex. With our guidance you can attain the marital dreams you sought.
But if you really want to get a divorce, here are the correct questions to ask
When people have difficulties with their marriage, right away they want to learn about divorce and have many divorce questions to ask. They want to know what to expect in terms of costs, the duration of the process, and what laws govern a divorce. Everybody wants to know how they can be protected and what they will end up with from the separation of family and assets.
Reality is that some people think along the lines of, “I will give our marriage another chance or two, but I doubt it will work, so I better be prepared.” This defeatist attitude will not help save your marriage. That is a fact anyone can tell you. The “just in case” mentality warrants death for marriages. I must add though, that in some cases you have to do that. Just don’t let paranoia or bad advice get the better of you.
The right divorce questions to ask are:
- What are the short and long term effects of your divorce on you, your kids, your ex to-be, and your family and friends? The right questions should be prioritized according to a value system, rather than a monetary system.
- Can my marriage be saved? Of course, this should be the first question, but divorce has become so normal that it almost never is.
A WORD OF CAUTION: There are two general top-line incentives for saving your marriage: negative and positive. The negative incentives are the hardships you will endure from divorce. Nobody likes to talk about them, but they are real and they are inescapable.
- Negative incentive — Your kids will suffer, period! This is not an “if?” question. This is a “how much?” question. You will barely be able to control the damage because much of it is psychological.Most children are fine until you get a divorce, and then BAM! Drugs, early sex, declining grades, emotional instability, alcohol, personal troubles, and suicide possibility. Divorce opens Pandora’s box for your kids. For the sake of your children, save your marriage.
- Positive incentive — Your marriage is not just salvageable, but it still has everything it needs to be the spectacular marriage you signed up for when you got married.This is rarely brought up because the “experts” of marriage have been the psychologists, and they usually have no idea how to make a marriage work well. Some do, of course, but not because of their training, like a doctor of medicine.
Here are some questions that might serve you and your family:
- Do I even have a basic understanding of marriage? Because when you learn about marriage, you will know what to do.
- Do I understand my role as a spouse? This is different than the above question, because the answer shows you where your power to change your marriage is.
- Do my expectations exceed my desire to serve? You cannot expect a cat to act like a dog or a husband to act like a wife. You will always be disappointed until you learn the facts about gender influences.
- Have I read any marriage manuals, like Lessons for a Happy Marriage or Breaking the Cycle, or taken a quality marriage help course?
The good news is you’re not really ready to give up, are you? You didn’t get married to test and see if you were marrying the right person, correct?
They are the right person; you just don’t know how to be married. If you divorce them, you’ll run into the same problems you’re facing now, again. Why go through all of this destruction, especially of your children, when there is more than hope?
Learn what marriage is all about and how to function in one to make it great. You can do it. God didn’t make marriage just for certain people to succeed, He made it so everyone can be over-the-moon happy.
The effort you make to have a successful marriage is 1/1000th of the suffering you will endure if you don’t.
The questions about divorce usually surface with people turning to friends who have gone through the divorce process. They try to be subtle, so their friends won’t suspect their contemplation of divorce.
They ask how the kids are doing, whether they’re still in touch with their ex, how they are doing with finances, etc. What they really want to know is if it was a smart move.
Very few divorcees will admit they made a dumb move though
A divorcee is seen as somewhat of an expert because they have gone through it. They find some relief from their own pain through sharing their experience.
Unfortunately, they are asked the wrong questions. Usually people first ask, “Was it worth it?” But nobody will reveal the truth.
The trouble is that the answers are coming from a person in the middle of an ongoing nightmare (unless it has been years since the court orders). They cannot help you understand what you will have to go through.
No matter who experiences it, divorcing has to be the most horrendous process imaginable. But some people gloss over it in their minds, smiling and telling you it was worth it; they are usually wrong. Nearly everyone’s (including your own) best path is to analyze how you can stay together and rebuild your marriage. But getting divorced has become too easy.
Very few people are actually better off when divorcing than if they stick it out AND learn how to be married! You, your spouse, your kids—everyone!—is better off when you learn how to be married instead of getting divorced.
This part is easy. Just ask yourself these questions:
- Is your spouse the same person you married, or were they a closet child molester? Discovering a “hidden” life-changing fact is one of the few valid reasons for a divorce.
- Is your spouse a good mother/father, or do they beat or otherwise abuse your children? Almost all deficiencies are normal, and everyone can improve their parenting.
- Are you a loving spouse, or do you not care anymore? Your own imperfections are the one thing you have power over, and it is amazing how influential you can be when you shift your thinking and behavior.
- Do you love your spouse? Love is a choice that precedes the warm and fuzzy feelings that come from it. Turning off your love because of hurt is correctable.
- Did you ever get a marriage manual? No joke! No matter what topic you are interested in, it’s always wise to study up before you give up.
- Will your kids really be fine if you divorce? The statistics back up common sense. Most kids do not do as well as they otherwise would with a complete family to support and nurture them.
Before you get a divorce, or even seriously think about one, ask yourself if you are like a pilot in a plane who hasn’t read the manual yet.
Chances are your spouse is exactly the person you should be married to; you just have no idea how to behave in order to make your marriage a complete success. We have seen husbands and wives with major problems resolve them quickly.
Your marriage is too important to quit on without a major effort to learn enough about marriage to make it work.
Divorce Does Not Work
Us saying “divorce does not work” is not meant to be a universal condemnation of divorce. In some cases, divorce will work for nearly everyone involved. Divorce has its purposes and has saved many adults and children from unending agony.
But divorce does not usually work for most people. The vast majority of those who divorce would have done much better if they remained in their marriage.
We are a strong proponent of marriage, but that does not mean we are fanatics about it. It is always up to the individuals concerned to decide if divorce is the best course of action. But what we do feel strongly about is learning what marriage is and how it works, before you make a life-altering decision to divorce.
Divorce is reasonable sometimes
If you are married to a dangerous person, of course you have to separate from them. It was not you who made them dangerous. And it is not your obligation to stay in harm’s way just because you vowed “for better or for worse.”
Wedding vows, although intended to be unconditional, are not meant to put you and your children in danger. But in most cases, divorce does not work.
What are you trying to accomplish when you consider divorce?
- A reduction in pain?
- A fresh start?
If you are trying to achieve any of the above by contemplating divorce, you have to figure out what is very important.
You never gave marriage a fighting chance (no pun intended)!
When you married your spouse, you started something without a clue of what you were getting yourself into! Because there is no formal education about relationships and marriage, you never received valuable knowledge. You never learned about the critical sciences that govern:
- Biological gender influences
- Body, mind, and soul
- Needs versus desires
- Unconditional love
- And numerous other vital topics
Marriage Is An Exact Science!
When we teach couples, or individuals (which is the case half the time), about marriage, everyone learns things they had never heard of before. And yet everything they learn about marriage is familiar. Because science is usually like that.
It is like learning about gravity. When you hear the scientific explanation of gravity, you are not shocked. But you have more information with which to live your life.
What can you hope to accomplish with a divorce?
- Happiness? You married your spouse to feel happier than before you got married. But you never learned how to derive happiness from your marriage. You mistakenly thought marriage itself would just “do it.” But that is like getting into an airplane and thinking it will just fly! A trained pilot has to take control of the airplane.
- A reduction in pain? How ironic that the greatest relationship of all would cause you pain! Isn’t it likely you are simply flying your marriage into mountains of suffering? If you take a good marriage course or if you read the best marriage book ever written, Breaking the Cycle, you will almost certainly transform your marriage. When you see what you have been doing wrong, you can replace those wrongdoings with positive actions to have a happy marriage.
- A fresh start? Why not? It is much easier to fix something you are familiar with than to throw away years and start with someone new. And, because of the misinformation regarding divorce, you only can imagine the disaster you create for yourself, your children, and your life. Divorce is NEVER pretty!
Bottom line: Divorce does not work. The imagined benefits are never as good as the results that come from marriage repair. Be smart. Get marriage education before you give up. It’s easier and better than you think.