The statistics are sobering.
Whether your parents stayed together is a big risk factor when it comes to your own marriage.
Their divorce makes you 50% more likely to divorce yourself. If your guy’s parents are divorced, too, make that 200%.
What’s the point of even getting married, then?
If your parents are divorced, your life is ruined. You’ll never find happiness. Every single relationship you have will end in turmoil and tears, and it’s all because of them!
Hmm. Let’s start that over.
The statistics are sobering. Whether your parents stayed together is a big risk factor when it comes to your own marriage.
You might not even get married, given much it scarred you to watch your parents’ marriage break apart.
Their divorce taught you painful lessons about love. It forced you to grow up early.
You never dreamed about wearing a white veil and sashaying down the aisle, because your imagination inserted dishes smashing and shouts raining like confetti.
Marriage would never be your happily-ever-after. Not when it was the prison your parents finally escaped….
Are you as depressed as I am right now?
There’s a lot of gloomy information out there on being the child of divorce. Given that half of all kids today will see their parents divorce, we need a new story. One that doesn’t end in doom and gloom.
The only way to get that story is to forget about the statistics.
Statistics are useful only if you believe you’re like everyone else with divorced parents.
None of us are “like everyone else.” Tendencies aren’t destiny. We have a choice.
Just as having a parent with cancer doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get cancer, so having parents who divorced doesn’t automatically mean your relationships will fail.
Instead, you might just decide you’re going to do everything possible to make sure the same fate doesn’t befall you.
Having a family member with cancer might motivate you to alter your lifestyle, get regular checkups, and follow your doctor’s advice more seriously.
Having divorced parents might motivate you to learn from their mistakes, work on your own relationship skills, and hold back on marriage until you’re sure you can commit.
You can end up physically and emotionally healthier just by paying attention to your parents’ (bad) example.
That’s the positive legacy of divorce:
A generation of young people who are even more committed, smarter, and more serious about love than any generation in the past.
It’s happening already.
The divorce rate has dropped significantly since its high in the 1970s and 1980s. Looking at the data, University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers projects that the divorce rate will eventually drop down to a third of all marriages.
We’re learning from the past. We’ve seen what happens when kids grow up without two parents, and we’re making better choices.
Having divorced parents can make you more committed, more relationship-savvy, and more likely to be married for life.
But that opportunity is available only if you choose to learn from everything you went through … rather than blame your parents for everything from the hard time you had in school to your terrible boyfriends.
It’s human nature to fantasize about what it would have been like if we’d had a “perfect childhood.”
The definition of perfect is, of course, everything we didn’t get as a child. Who would we be now if our parents [fill in the blank]?
Maybe you wish your parents lived somewhere else, or took more interest in you. Maybe you wish they had more money, or sent you to a different school, or weren’t so weird.
Would your life be better now if your childhood were different?
You see, kids with a “perfect childhood” (not that there’s any such thing) don’t always encounter the difficult circumstances and situations they need to grow.
Just as muscles need resistance to get tougher, so our character needs challenges to grow stronger and more resilient.
The harder the challenge, the more potential for growth.
Not all challenges build us up. Some break us. And that’s a risk we have to take. Even being broken can be a learning experience, as you discover what it takes to pull yourself back from nothing.
There aren’t many challenges emotionally tougher than seeing your parents divorce. It has the potential to break a kid. Never mind what it does to the lone father or mother trying to make a new life.
But it also has the potential to make everyone more resilient, more compassionate, and wiser the next time around.
So you can follow the statistics predicting a lifetime of difficulty, all because of something you can’t change from your past…
Or you can scoff at the audacity of researchers trying to tell you what your future is going to be.
Your future is in your hands.
Nowhere better to be.