"Divorce-is-contagious"


#1

I just read this news article and thought many of you here would find it interesting. Researchers observed that divorce increases the risk of further divorces among family and friends. Here are a couple of sample statistics quoted in the article: Divorce increases a close friend's "risk" of divorce to 75% and increases the stats to 33% for friend's of friends. People with a divorced sibling are 22% more likely to be divorced.
telegraph.co.uk/family/7871149/Divorce-is-contagious.html

This got me thinking about how my own friends' and families' marriage (and a few divorces) affected my own marriage. I see how these things can connect together to spread throughout the society. And here's philosophical analogy question: If divorce can spread like a virus, is there something that can protect people against divorce like a vaccine?


#2

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:1, topic:204626"]
I just read this news article and thought many of you here would find it interesting. Researchers observed that divorce increases the risk of further divorces among family and friends. Here are a couple of sample statistics quoted in the article: Divorce increases a close friend's "risk" of divorce to 75% and increases the stats to 33% for friend's of friends. People with a divorced sibling are 22% more likely to be divorced.
telegraph.co.uk/family/7871149/Divorce-is-contagious.html

This got me thinking about how my own friends' and families' marriage (and a few divorces) affected my own marriage. I see how these things can connect together to spread throughout the society. And here's philosophical analogy question: If divorce can spread like a virus, is there something that can protect people against divorce like a vaccine?

[/quote]

Don't engage in the negativity for starters. Fight the modern feminization many of us were raised on first by working on erasing it from our minds and second from studying what God truly intended for a woman to be and a man to be (for a woman, Proverbs 31 is a great starting point). Work on being the spouse you always dreamed you'd be instead of focusing on how you wish your spouse would be. But I haven't been married long. However, I have seen so many unhappy and failed marriages that I have been taking notes on what has lead to unhappiness for nearly most of my life.


#3

Here's a quote I find interesting:

When a divorced person confided in someone married, the married person gained knowledge about the benefits and drawbacks of divorce. In the study it appeared most people saw the benefits in divorce.

A friend of mine went through divorce a few years ago. I remember feeling a little bit of envy the fact that she had a child-free weekend every other weekend...then I would feel bad for feeling that way because I could not stand the thought of being away from my children that often and having them completely out of my life all that time. ...but the "freedom" was definitely something that went through my mind.

Obviously, I don't believe that "freedom" is worth the price paid. At. All. But I guess that quote just reminded me how I felt about that back then. Being married and raising a family takes commitment and time. It's time well-spent, but I can see how people would see it as a benefit. It's really sad.


#4

It is hard to separate the effects of the first divorce on others from the fact that the people involved are in the same social situation. For instance, a sibling of a divorced person grew up in the same family, and it could be the shared family experience was the true tipping factor in both divorces. Friends might be from work, who share working conditions that stress marriages, leading to divorce. Friends also share attitudes towards marriage and family. It may be that the first marriage that ended in divorce was itself at risk because of the attitudes of the social circle towards divorce.

I won't argue that people don't take permission from their friends' actions, only that the first ones to divorce may have just been the first frogs in the hot pot to cook to doneness.


#5

I agree with the premise having seen it in some of my various social circles -- some circles were strictly social and some were work-related but it was quite obvious that once one man in the circle had what was perceived as "the guts" to call it quits and get a girlfriend, it gave permission to others in that circle to do the same.

When asked
"If Dave hadn't divorced Barb would Steve have asked for a divorce?"

one wife replied,

"No, I doubt it. It seems that Dave's actions gave Steve the permission he needed to do the same."


#6

[quote="EasterJoy, post:4, topic:204626"]
It is hard to separate the effects of the first divorce on others from the fact that the people involved are in the same social situation. For instance, a sibling of a divorced person grew up in the same family, and it could be the shared family experience was the true tipping factor in both divorces. ...

[/quote]

It's interesting that in the article the divorce statistics of siblings (22%) wasn't as high as the divorce statistics of friends and close friends.

I also remember the affect that friends' divorce and friend's marriage trouble had on my own marriage. I get the point that 3GirlsRUs made about time alone.

Some friends of my husband and I divorced a few years ago. It had a weird effect on my own marriage. They didn't live near us any longer, but when we had lived closer, my husband and I used to do things with them. We were really thrown off when we learned that couple was divorcing. Similar thing when learning about friends' marriage troubles. It makes you sit up and take notice. It can cause you to re-evaluate your own marriage.

If divorce can spread like a virus, then when we encounter someone who is sick, we wash our hands. I don't mean wash our hands of the persons, but I mean take precautions against germs. I liked Gmarie suggestion of not letting negative thoughts (about spouses) fill our heads.


#7

It’s not limited to divorce. Sin is contagious. I would expect exposure to others committing nearly any sin with impunity to increase the incidence of that (and other) sins.


#8

I’ve often suspected that the reason my parents were divorced is because for my father, it was a way to fit in at work - all the other guys were getting them.

Because, really, all of their problems were easily solvable, if he had just been open-minded enough to try. When I was a child, everything just seemed so insurmountable, to me, and I thought they “had” to get divorced, but now, having been married myself for 23 years, and seeing us get through way harder things than my parents ever faced, my Dad just seems - kind of sissie-pantsed - to me. :shrug: My mother is really a great person, and very easy to get along with, once you make up your mind to do so. She isn’t the wicked witch that he makes her out to be, nor anything close to it.

The vaccine against divorce is, number one, it isn’t an option, no matter what happens, and number 2, you give everything you’ve got to your marriage, and you don’t worry about whether the other person is doing an equal amount of work. And three to ten are, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, and, last but not least, communicate. :slight_smile:

Did I mention, communicate? :wink:


#9

[quote="JerryS, post:7, topic:204626"]
It's not limited to divorce. Sin is contagious. I would expect exposure to others committing nearly any sin with impunity to increase the incidence of that (and other) sins.

[/quote]

This is an eye-opening but very unfortunate truth. Marriage takes a lot of hard work, constant communication, more give than take, and tons of prayer to keep it centered around God, but it is truly worth it in the long run.

Socializing and even just talking with others whose daily lives are not aligned with Our Lord's teaching (and not speaking up about our moral values when we should) can push us all to stray more and more every day. Then Satan has a real easy time squeezing himself in.


#10

[quote="jmcrae, post:8, topic:204626"]
I've often suspected that the reason my parents were divorced is because for my father, it was a way to fit in at work - all the other guys were getting them.

[/quote]

That is sad. :( And it reminds me of something my father used to say. "If everyone else is jumping off a bridge, are you going to jump?"

[quote="jmcrae, post:8, topic:204626"]
The vaccine against divorce is, number one, it isn't an option, no matter what happens, and number 2, you give everything you've got to your marriage, and you don't worry about whether the other person is doing an equal amount of work. And three to ten are, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, and, last but not least, communicate. :)

Did I mention, communicate? ;)

[/quote]

And remember, communication is important too. ;) :D

Regarding your point 1, back when divorce was a huge taboo, very few couples divorced. (There may be a few valid reasons for divorce, but those are extreme cases.) I'm quite positive there were marital problems back then, but most couples stayed together.


#11

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:10, topic:204626"]
Regarding your point 1, back when divorce was a huge taboo, very few couples divorced. (There may be a few valid reasons for divorce, but those are extreme cases.) I'm quite positive there were marital problems back then, but most couples stayed together.

[/quote]

People also knew how to marry well - they just took it for granted that you marry within the same culture, religion, and moral outlook as yourself. You didn't get engaged until after you knew that both sets of parents liked each other, and that the other person's parents liked you. There was far more of a sense that, this was a joining together of two families - today, people don't take those things into consideration any more - they marry the first person who asks them, and hope for the best.

I've also noticed that there are so many people who don't consider their own opposite sex friends as being potential mates -they're looking for princesses from afar, or knights in shining armor - sometimes, they decide to get engaged after six months of dating, having never met before that, without even knowing each other's real names, let alone very much about their religious beliefs or cultural customs.

My observation and experience is that the most successful marriages are between people who have everything in common except their gender. :)


#12

[quote="jmcrae, post:11, topic:204626"]
People also knew how to marry well - they just took it for granted that you marry within the same culture, religion, and moral outlook as yourself. You didn't get engaged until after you knew that both sets of parents liked each other, and that the other person's parents liked you. There was far more of a sense that, this was a joining together of two families - ...My observation and experience is that the most successful marriages are between people who have everything in common except their gender. :)

[/quote]

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. People can stop divorce before it happens by choosing wisely who they marry. That's a great observation!


#13

Sitting here reading through this thread, it struck me as interesting in my own life. My parents divorced when I was 3, and later, my younger brother was married and divorced twice.

I use those unfortunate circumstances as a means of inspiration to make my marriage succeed, 15 years and going strong. I am a convert and can honestly say that since my conversion to Catholicism, I see my marriage and my family (3 boys) get better and better with each passing year. Having your household as the the Domestic Church is a key component to a strong marriage.


#14

[quote="gardenswithkids, post:1, topic:204626"]
I just read this news article and thought many of you here would find it interesting. Researchers observed that divorce increases the risk of further divorces among family and friends. Here are a couple of sample statistics quoted in the article: Divorce increases a close friend's "risk" of divorce to 75% and increases the stats to 33% for friend's of friends. People with a divorced sibling are 22% more likely to be divorced.
telegraph.co.uk/family/7871149/Divorce-is-contagious.html

This got me thinking about how my own friends' and families' marriage (and a few divorces) affected my own marriage. I see how these things can connect together to spread throughout the society. And here's philosophical analogy question: If divorce can spread like a virus, is there something that can protect people against divorce like a vaccine?

[/quote]

The contagious part is the SELFISHNESS. People get together and talk about how they want things to be "their" way, like when they were children. Then, they rationalize why they should be selfish and give in to the basic instincts. The more you lay down your life for others, the more they'll want to lay down their life for you. Pop culture media promotes the instant gratification of the basic instincts through physical and chemical brain pleasurism, which is diametric to sacrificial love for others. My marriage has been stronger since I made a conscious effort to reduce my exposure to pop culture media. Why take unnecessary chances with the temptation to go astray? Why risk screwing up the family and the marriage?


#15

[quote="jmcrae, post:8, topic:204626"]
I've often suspected that the reason my parents were divorced is because for my father, it was a way to fit in at work - all the other guys were getting them.

Because, really, all of their problems were easily solvable, if he had just been open-minded enough to try. When I was a child, everything just seemed so insurmountable, to me, and I thought they "had" to get divorced, but now, having been married myself for 23 years, and seeing us get through way harder things than my parents ever faced, my Dad just seems - kind of sissie-pantsed - to me. :shrug: My mother is really a great person, and very easy to get along with, once you make up your mind to do so. She isn't the wicked witch that he makes her out to be, nor anything close to it.

The vaccine against divorce is, number one, it isn't an option, no matter what happens, and number 2, you give everything you've got to your marriage, and you don't worry about whether the other person is doing an equal amount of work. And three to ten are, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, communicate, and, last but not least, communicate. :)

Did I mention, communicate? ;)

[/quote]

NIce advice !!!:thumbsup:


#16

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it yet, but the divorce rate among those who conscienciously refuse to participate in contraception is practically zero.

Some NFP folks tout that as a benefit inherent to NFP. As if it is the NFP practice that innoculates the marriage. I think it is more subtle than that. Living a married sexuality as God intended (true chastity) contains its own self regulating mechanisms. When a healthy couple has a legitimate reason to avoid more children, NFP is a way to do that, but a hard one. That very difficulty serves as sort of a canary in the mineshaft early warning of impending problems. If you can't tolerate the discipline of NFP, the problem isn't usually NFP, it's a problem in the marriage somewhere. Use that early warning to identify and fix the problem before resentment and bitterness are too big to overcome.

NONE of my friends or family that practice NFP or total openness to kids have been divorced. On the other hand, my folks once upon a time practiced NFP, gave it up because of how hard it was and divorced ~10 years later. Of family and friends that do the contraception thing it is about 33% divorce rate. Convincing to me.


#17

Well done, researchers, you've caught up with the Catholic Church...

2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and **because of its contagious effect **which makes it truly a plague on society.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1993


#18

Truth is the vaccination.

Preaching that divorce is more than a one time sin. For some it is a state that they choose to remain in every day they wake up.

2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Certainly for some, however, divorce was done to them and they remain faithful and open to a forgiveness that is open to reconciliation upon true repentance. Just as God does for us.

I believe that until priests and bishops start to preach AND PRACTICE this Truth, especially in the Sacrament of Penance, out of true love for souls, then the professing Catholics will continue to look no different than the world. We will continue to divorce at the same rate as the world.

Bryan

LOVE SO AMAZING


#19

This is a very interesting insight. Personally, as we’ve had more kids, I’ve had less time to be self-centered. The less self-centered I became, the easier it was to be less self-centered, and vice-versa before kids. I feel that having a deep, romantic Love and a committment by both parents to The Way provides the fuel for such sacrifice to be possible. The metaphor I would use is like climbing up a mountain: climbing up the mountain represents the adult’s free will choice to follow the Church’s rules to struggle in transition from our own self-centered childhood into responsible, sacrificial adulthood. The pain and sacrifice of climbing the front side mountain represents the realization and acceptance of that our own EXPECTED level of personal selfishness must decrease, i.e.: we must grow up. The peak of the mountain represents the epiphany when the light bulb goes on, when we “get it.” The descent down the back of the mountain is no easier in terms of work, in fact, it’s probably harder with more kids, but it is easier in terms of our EXPECTED level of selfishness: we finally realize and accept that we NEED to give it up for others. In giving it up for others, we deeply appreciate the rare times when we can be selfish.

The other metaphor I like to use is “riding the fence.” When we had only 2 kids, I frequently felt torn between selfishness and sacrifice, a.k.a. riding the fence. The “riding the fence” mindset is unnerving for many of us, but especially us male hunters, who like to stay focussed on the task, even if the task is selfishness. Committing to having the mindset of being on one side of the fence or the other is almost easier. I think some adults grow tired of the riding the fence mindset and therefore just give up, and relapse back to the childhood side of the fence, fwiw.


#20

[quote="ManOnFire, post:14, topic:204626"]
The more you lay down your life for others, the more they'll want to lay down their life for you.

[/quote]

I am grateful for this topic. I am visiting this thread because a couple very dear to me is going through a terrible time and I have little or no experience in this area. Your "quote" makes perfect sense. However, what can one do when they lay down their life for another and the other person does not lay down their life for them in return?

My friend (the wife) gives of herself freely, always putting her husband, their children and their grandchildren before herself. They have gone through the tragic loss of their son, the struggle to adopt his infant daughter, and so much more. The wife is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. My friend (the husband) has left the home for the second time in 30 years, not knowing how to fix all that is wrong between them. And now my friend, (the wife) has a broken heart on top of all the other challenges she faces. I want to take the husband by the scruff of the neck and shake him to his senses. Would he walk out on her if she had cancer? Would he walk out on her if she was paralysed? No one takes till death do us part seriously anymore. They just don't get it.

I believe we have to lead by example. My husband and I struggle. What marriage is easy? It's hard work. Our friends know that we have problems, but they also know that we will never give up on each other. Our society is slowly and painstakingly chipping away at the value of marriage and family. We are broken and don't know how to pick up the pieces. Parents, grandparents, family and friends have to find a way to stop being "okay" with those who want to live together, with those who think there is nothing wrong with having children out of wedlock with multiple partners. We have to find a way to just stop being "okay" with divorce and so many more things that are going on in our society.

Please pray for my friends. God Bless.


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