Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Every Marriage Needs Renewal

The divorce rate rises 16 percent for parents nearing and during the empty nest stage. Claudia Arp, author with her husband David says of this phenomenon - that husbands and wives “look around at the other bird in their nest and think they don’t KNOW them and they’re not sure they LIKE them and not sure they want to spend another 30 years in the marriage.”

In a recent online article from the UK the author said that the number of divorces in Britain had fallen for a third year in a row BUT the number of over-60’s choosing to end their marriages has increased by more than a third in the space of a decade.

In this same article, a divorce attorney said that they had seen a noticeable rise in couples after 40 or 50 years of marriage. One couple chose to separate at age 92. I don’t know about you, but I think if that was me, I could probably have hung on another 2-3 more years in the marriage---even if it was just for the sake of the kids!

I have learned that there are groups such as “Adult Kids of Divorce” who express that divorcing parents is not any easier for adult children. Listen to some comments of these adult children of divorce:

“Whether I’m 7 or 27, I’m still my parent’s child and it’s still my family that’s breaking up.”

“It rips your whole world apart. Everything you thought you were sure of, suddenly you’re not sure of.”

“It was a terrible time. I went through all the pain and grief that any child does when this sort of thing happens, but I had the added bonus of having zero support because I was an adult.”

Interesting. What these adults are saying flies in the face of the idea that adult children are better equipped to deal with the divorce of their parents. What their comments reveal is that their adult pain is just as real as children's pain except that they don't have the benefit of the resources of support made available for younger divorce victims.

Cindy and I are coming up on our 36th anniversary in August. We are both seeing the vital importance of marriage renewal as we go through this period of transition in our family. We work on our relationship not only for our sake but also for the sake of our children and grandchildren.

I hold no judgment on those who can’t make it the whole way together. And clearly there are situations where it is best for a couple to go their separate ways. But I know for me (and thankfully Cindy) a lasting, loving marriage is an important part of the legacy we want to leave behind us. We want our family to see that their mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, really did love each other.

Here is a quote from a Father's Day letter from Capstone Treatment Center in Arkansas. It encouraged me because I know I haven't been by any means a perfect example to my kids as a husband or father. The writer speaks of what he believes is the greatest gift a father can give to his children:

In my opinion, "humble authenticity" is the gift good fathers give by changing for the better. To honestly take a look at ourselves in the mirror includes hard crucibles, God's mysterious ways, frustrations, injustices, difficulties, finally "putting the dots together", and more - then making sustained efforts to change for the better. This process must include owning our mistakes, expressing our remorse and regret, asking for forgiveness, and committing to do differently. It must be the most difficult aspect of human life, one reason it's such a special gift to our children.

Thankful For His Mercy And Grace,


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