I missed being a Generation Xer by 3 years. That's not the only difference. I read the article, and I had almost the exact opposite of the writer.
I was 7 when my parents started having marital problems. Unbeknownst to me, my dad had lost his job, and simply stopped working. He would get involved in "get rich quick" schemes. His parents would pay the bills, so he never had to work. Even so, it wasn't enough. My mom tried to convince my dad and his parents that we should move out of our large house into a smaller one, since we couldn't afford it. They said no, and the house was eventually foreclosed and my parents filed bankruptcy. My dad didn't care.
My dad never hit us, but he threw terrible tantrums. I used to walk by a dent in the wall on the stairs, where my dad had kicked the wall. He threw a plastic container of markers at my mother and screamed at her to get out of the house. Several times he would throw tantrums in the car. He would start speeding, stomping on the gas and breaking quickly, to scare my brother and I so we would start crying and begging him to stop. He didn't stop, until he got what he wanted. I remember once, when I was still in elementary school, waking up in the middle of the night to my dad screaming at my mom. I thought "He's going to kill her," and I envisioned him stabbing her, he was so angry. I willed myself to stay awake, so that I could hear my mother's voice and know that she was still alive.
Yet, despite all this, I was terrified of divorce. I tried to convince myself that what was going on in my family was normal, that this kind of behavior was commonplace. "All men behave like this," I assured myself. Needless to say, as much as I hated divorce, I hated marriage even more.
It wasn't until I was 15 that I was able to break free of this thinking. I realized that my dad didn't have any right to treat my mom, my brother, and me in that way. I also realized that, as long as my mom was married to him, and we kept living with my dad, we were sending a message to my dad that his behavior was ok. My brother, 3 years younger than me, felt the same way. We had enough, and we could no longer live like that. We asked our mother to get a divorce. We begged her. For almost a year.
The irony is, after my parents divorced, my brother went through the exact reverse of what the author in the WSJ described. After my parents divorced, my brother, who previously listened to heavy metal music, wore black clothes and acted out violently, began to calm down. He stopped listening to death metal music, and began to read and take piano lessons. Our grades, which had dipped before the divorce, improved dramatically, especially in my brother's case.
Almost a year after our parents divorced, my dad, who hadn't changed a bit, told us he wanted to reconcile. My brother and I threw a fit and told him he was no longer a part of our family, and I assured mom that, if she got back together with dad, I would run away from home.