A “couple” of clarifications; It is rare for “couples” to seek divorce

Let’s start with the end of the article.

Do you know a couple who appears to be close to giving up?

I like this question. I like it because a gut honest answer would serve a good purpose. After reading through the piece, which laments the fact that:

Research has shown that about two-thirds of all divorces today are occurring in low-conflict marriages.

more specifically

That is, they’re ending without a death blow like infidelity or physical abuse

Rainey plays the language workaround trick I described in this post.

Instead, a couple simply accumulates enough disagreement and disharmony that they begin believing that the best option for doing away with the headaches is just to do away with the marriage. [emphasis mine]

The answer to the question about whether I know a couple that appears to be close to giving up is…….no. Further, in my 51 years I can count on one hand the number of couples that fit this description. My anecdotal experience is buttressed by every study that sets out to unpack divorce dynamics. The who and the why are almost never THEM and THEY MUTUALLY GAVE UP.

The data is out there. A 30 minute casual effort to find information on divorce dynamics would yield a plethora of results that so eclipse the statements in this article as to make it read like parody on truth. The fact that Rainey mentioned 2/3 suggests he has read the rest of the statistical story, and the nature of the business he is in tells me he has repeatedly encountered the party for whom the divorce is the last thing he wants. In short, he knows that it is women filing these low conflict divorces and men being jettisoned against their will, made to become visitors to their children, and having their resources split down the middle-if they are lucky-by threat of law.

He also knows, because he has written about it recently, that children are deeply affected by the decisions of these women. Finally he knows that low conflict marriages, where the couple do not divorce, are very likely to get past the rough patch and years later these couples reflect back on a great marriage that perhaps experienced some challenges along the way.

One researcher told me that if a couple can find as little as 20 percent of their marriage that they would call satisfactory, they have a better than 90 percent chance of making their marriage better in two years–if they stick with it, if they keep fighting, if they don’t give up and throw in the towel too soon.

When he goes so far as to mention a statistic that gets almost all the way to the heart of the matter, then dilutes the impact by using a language work around to spread the concern equally across everyone involved, he becomes part of the problem. A woman in a low conflict marriage who is considering divorce finds great comfort and much rationalization when she reads this. She can convince herself, more easily, that despite her husbands incessant weeping and begging, the most personal she need envision the situation is that THEY are divorcing. Some will even avoid the shared responsibility that THEY suggests and maintain the frame of a divorce that “just happened”. The piece is high end hamster food.
I didn’t think I could get more disappointed in Family Life. I regularly read, and write about, articles that obfuscate on marriage matters. Sometimes though he will come dangerously close to revealing, even if by accident, the truth of what the numbers say in aggregate. When he does that, and kills the truth with weasel words, it represents an intentional effort to not alienate women.

Here is a quick rewrite of the fourth block quote above, including direct references that point to where his concern should reside if actually making a difference was a goal.

Instead, a person (most often the wife) simply accumulates enough disagreement and disharmony that she begins believing that the best option for doing away with the headaches is just to do away with the husband.

The call to action would ask:

Do you know a woman who is about to detonate her marriage? If so, share with her all the negative effects of divorce, the fact that the same problems she thinks she has will manifest in the next relationship, her children will be greatly harmed, and finally discuss with her what scripture says about this with her. Challenge her to not join the 2/3. Encourage her to not destroy another family.

 

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25 thoughts on “A “couple” of clarifications; It is rare for “couples” to seek divorce

  1. For too many “couples”, the wife *is* the couple. What’s sauce for the goose *is* sauce for the couple.

  2. “When he goes so far as to mention a statistic that gets almost all the way to the heart of the matter, then dilutes the impact by using a language work around to spread the concern equally across everyone involved, he becomes part of the problem. A woman in a low conflict marriage who is considering divorce finds great comfort and much rationalization when she reads this. She can convince herself, more easily, that despite her husbands incessant weeping and begging, the most personal she need envision the situation is that THEY are divorcing. Some will even avoid the shared responsibility that THEY suggests and maintain the frame of a divorce that “just happened”. The piece is high end hamster food.

    I didn’t think I could get more disappointed in Family Life.”

    This. It is always more comfortable to peanut-butter-spread responsibility from “me” to “us”.

    Anecdotally, I don’t observe men doing this very often; in fact, they do the opposite and try to “own” more fault than is their share.

    As for being disappointed in Family Life…as someone who has been to two of their Weekends to Remember and found them overall value-added, yes this is quite disappointing.

  3. Very well said, Empath. So long as we continue to dehumanize the marriage and reduce it to a thing rather than the people in it (I pilfered that form Cane), you’ll never see women willing to stick it out through a “low conflict” marriage and see the satisfaction that comes on the other side.

  4. I listen to these guys and FOTF sometimes on the radio just for curiosity sake. I have never heard them single out women or make women feel uncomfortable. They regularly do it with men of course. But the sin of our age is hurting a woman’s feelings.

  5. @Wapiti

    Somewhere along the line learned that you’d attended those conferences. When I learned that it made me stop and think because after reading your blog and comments for a few years now I weight that you found it helpful/useful. We can disagree on the church of GFOFHAVV all day and, another nice feature of being male is, get on with discussing other things. So I’ve actually even considered giving one of those things a try. It may be a great experience for my wife and I. This year marks 24 so why not. Worst case is I have material for a few posts thereafter.

    As to the Nutella spreading, this corruption of the language…i cant tell if its cause, effect, or both. Its ubiquitous in beliefs and ideologies where one needs to feel good about self, feel empathetic to others, and do great harm all at once.

  6. Maybe the solution is to tell husbands that if they do their roles as God expects for them to do, wives would not get so frustrated with the sins of the husbands.

    Someone needs to speak the truth about the roles of the woman and the man and stop writing all the blame and scold articles that only talk about a wife having to submit and shut up, lest she hurts her husband’s delicate ego. Some of you need to pray to God and ask Him to show you the truth and the light and tell a cetain female on the internet not to get all arrogant and prideful and delete people, just because a woman questions her unfair doctrine through the use of a bunch of long pages of discussion scolding wives about submission.

    I read the Bible and know that some of these so called Christian websites are nothing but cults.

  7. Empath,

    Some people can’t take the heat. Most are brought up to look for a way out of situations that causes stress. The easiest way is to walk away. The hardest is to fight through it. Unlike twenty years ago, parents haven’t taught their kids to fight through anything. Afterwards most are looking for handouts or easier way of doing things. I find them wanting this and that but don’t want to put in the work. It’s the same thing with marriage, it requires work and once you say ‘I do’ there is no more self or me when it comes to decisions within the marriage.

    Another thing is that some people can’t bare their own faults. If someone points them out, they feel bad but in return they go into the unknown when the conversation was simply about picking up your clothes and putting them in the hamper. I’ve concluded that some married people causes their own stress.

  8. @Rookie

    Another thing is that some people can’t bare their own faults.

    Ok, ok: While I may seem wholesome, let me assure that there is a big crack in my posterior.

  9. This. It is always more comfortable to peanut-butter-spread responsibility from “me” to “us”.

    I’ve seen a lot of the ‘me’ to ‘you’ type of spreading in couples over the years. Usually it was the female making the push in my experience though I have seen men do it too.

    I listen to these guys and FOTF sometimes on the radio just for curiosity sake.

    My wife likes to listen to Christian radio as back ground noise through out the day. One day I over heard what was being taught during the FOTF slot. I was more than a little shocked. Now the radio is turned off when that show comes on.

  10. @Jean

    Maybe the solution is to tell husbands that if they do their roles as God expects for them to do, wives would not get so frustrated with the sins of the husbands.

    Someone needs to speak the truth about the roles of the woman and the man and stop writing all the blame and scold articles that only talk about a wife having to submit and shut up, lest she hurts her husband’s delicate ego. Some of you need to pray to God and ask Him to show you the truth and the light and tell a cetain female on the internet not to get all arrogant and prideful and delete people, just because a woman questions her unfair doctrine through the use of a bunch of long pages of discussion scolding wives about submission.

    I read the Bible and know that some of these so called Christian websites are nothing but cults.

    Glad you commented. Id be glad to have a discussion with you. I have not blamed and scolded any specific woman. I mainly parse articles written by men like Dennis Rainey and other national ministry leaders. it would be my pleasure to hear your grievances and allegations and I assure you I will not delete or moderate you unless you went x rated, used inordinate amounts of profanity, called another poster a liar or some other charge Id ask that you defend, etc.

    If we can stay with facts and not hyperbole we may learn something.

    The first point Id make is that men hear our faults nearly weekly in church, in every marriage seminar, in counseling, etc. No one is shy to point out that some men use porn, neglect their wives, etc. You are angry seeing what is a similar type assertion, but directed at women. You are angry because you are simply not accustomed to hearing it. Therefore, its a bit out of balance to tell men “if they do this and that” women will not get frustrated….which I assume you mean then divorce, because Ive never read any article where men were upset that women get frustrated. I certainly am not bothered by that. if she, however, files a divorce and makes a man a visitor to his kids over frustration….yep, I have a big issue with that, and so should you.

    Finally, since you’ve “read the Bible” you should know that what men ought to do has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it frustrates women or not. That is not the litmus test. God calls men to assume a role, and it is God who will judge man. God calls women to assume a role and it will be God who judges. Neither has any God given “rights” to expect anything or to measure the others performance against a standard set by God. its one thing to write and complain and some men do here and elsewhere, its another thing to file a divorce because you have judged the man is failing to meet Gods standard. THIS is the item that differentiates the genders at this time. Women are blowing up families. Men are not.

    Hence we need this conversation because it is based in facts and not feelings. And the other conversation, the one telling men to just man up more, just serve more, etc etc and all family problems will go away, that one has been happening for 50 years

    No cult here. Just men and some women who can see that there is an absence of accountability for women in the church. That we, here, agree on that is no basis for forming a cult. besides, i dislike kool aid

  11. @Empath

    Worse. You don’t seem wholesome AND you have the, er, division of your center of gravity

    It hurts me when you talk like that.

  12. Were I to interact with Jean, I would ask her to thoughtfully reconsider her position by asking her to answer the following question. Is the failure of the heavenly Bride to submit a failure of the heavenly Groom to fulfill His role?

  13. Empathological has already addressed the imbalance of teaching toward what women are called to in marriage versus men, so no need to rehash that.

    I do however, want to defend those women bloggers who hold a hard line on the way dialog is conducted on their sites. I tend to allow a veritable free for all and have heard from some women who have expressed concern, but I understand why the ones who heavily moderate do so.

    There is a standard they wish to uphold that simply cannot be when every post is dragged down into a debate between those who want to grow as wives and address their shortcomings and those who want to defend their sin and shortcomings by pointing out what the men could and should be doing to reduce their wives frustrations.

    Since our frustrations are not an excuse for disobedience, and women have absolutely no business instructing men on how to be the heads of their homes, some “Titus 2 bloggers” take the position that they’d simply rather not be bothered with women who don’t seem to *get* that.

    On my blogs, I have only ever deleted two people (in 7 years). One when I found out she was a sock puppet, and another when she brought her consternation with another blogger over to my blog and went off topic.

    So women who want to disagree respectfully are perfectly welcome to engage in the discussion at LITR.

  14. @Elspeth

    Women that comment defending their sin or telling their husband what he should be doing instead of focusing on their own shortcomings come off as judgmental, rude and disrespectful. It’s one thing to come respectable but to tell someone you don’t know that they need to get on their knees and pray for God for their shortcomings simply because you said so doesn’t fly well with anyone.

    Say if I walked in a feminist conference and I said the following.

    “God said submit to your husband Like Christ love the church.”

    Feminist don’t like this verse in the bible and I’ve been to a couple sites where talking about this is banned in cross gender discussions. Like I’m hungry and I have a can of worms. Will I eat the worms or throw it away to find something better for me?

  15. It’s one thing to come respectable but to tell someone you don’t know that they need to get on their knees and pray for God for their shortcomings simply because you said so doesn’t fly well with anyone.

    Well no, it doesn’t, but it doesn’t make it any less true, and I suspect that a large part of what ails the church is that everyone is so concerned with being fair that we never get to the heart of the matter.

    Te best thing anyone ever did for me when I was complaining about my husband was ask me, “And what is your contribution to the problem, Mrs. Perfect? What could you be doing differently? Have you examined yourself and your sin?” There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that in my estimation.

    See, the problem is that no one should have to tell any Christian who is even slightly serious about their faith that they have their hands full with their own sin. But no almost no one is telling any women that at. all. We sin and we get to blame it on our husbands. If he loved right, we could submit right. What foolishness!

    So there are a select few of us telling wives to cut the crap and get the plank out of their own eyes. A few chicks stumble upon a post here or there, follow links to other women doing the same thing. So then these bloggers find themselves being mocked on FreeJinger or some other liberal snark site and their interpretation is that there this “overwhelming number of women” out there telling other women to shut up and submit. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We’re a drop in the ocean compared to the majority of voices in the culture and church.

    What’s more, only those already on the path are listening to us anyway. The vast majority leave a few hateful comments and then run off to their more liberal, “sane” havens and talk about how awful and hateful “those women” are. And this includes Christian women.

    They can feel comfortable with doing that because most churches approach the Bible’s verses on marriage in such a way that the commands to the wives and husband balance out (it’s sort of a wash). So that if you do what Paul wrote the “right” way, then you get mutual submission – in practice. That’s what they think, anyway. It was just the harshness and backwardness of the culture that Paul was in that forced him to express it the way he did. All that good stuff.

    I’m ranting. Sorry Empath.

  16. “See, the problem is that no one should have to tell any Christian who is even slightly serious about their faith that they have their hands full with their own sin. But no almost no one is telling any women that at. all. We sin and we get to blame it on our husbands. If he loved right, we could submit right. What foolishness!”

    This is the issue with the church as well. When there some sort of marriage seminar or teaching in the church, the man is usually beaten on the head with a bat with no medical attention. And the wife has this big grin on her face saying Amen or the sound and grunts of agreements. It’s hard to get beat up at home verbally and the same thing happens at the church. Some men have simply hashed out the easiest one to get rid of; church. Corrected a wife is almost like sinning to God in some people views.

  17. What are the statistics, presumably by pre-divorce interviews, on what percentage of divorces were mutually sought?

  18. “So I’ve actually even considered giving one of those things a try.”

    As mentioned, I went twice…once in 2007, and again in 2013. Both were value added in my opinion, although I found myself having to keep my guard up at both nonetheless. The 2007 session was pretty heavy on the male-shaming wrt spouse abuse (think Promise Keepers, if you remember those guys), the 2012 session was much much less so. Worse, the women in the 2007 session were encouraged to “escape” or not tolerate abusive relationships (when we all know the definition of abuse is very very broad); nary a peep about leadership and followership. “Half Ephesians” (from a recent comment thread here) is a good way to put it. Thankfully in 2012 some balance was restored, and the womenfolk where exhorted more or less on par with teh menz.

    If you go, I think you’ll enjoy it. If for no other reason than it is a two-day date night alone with your bride with no kids, electronic devices, etc., to distract you from your task of reconnecting.

  19. I went to some of the first PKs, the biggunz….one in Houston and one in Dallas. i went to another after their rebirth that was actually the catalyst for implosion.

    Elspeth

    i can see those women now asking, quite indignantly, why is it OK to tell women speck/plank but not men….thats all we are doing to men. UTTERLY unable to process perspective

  20. Marriage dehumanize men. The courts and wives dehumanize men. When a judge tells you you no longer have any rights or legal protections and the documented bad behaviour of your wife does not count against her, you are no longer human. The only way to humanize marriage is to do away with state involvement.

    That and the “Christian” stance on marriage dehumanize men as it is to relient on a woman’s voluntary good behavior. Something I no longer have cause to believe in. Leastwise not any significant number

  21. Pingback: Is marriage just a piece of paper? | Dalrock

  22. Jean,

    Where are all the articles telling women to hush and such? I hear about them all the time, but I haven’t seen any, especially not on FotF, FLToday, etc. (And I listened to them a LOT in the past.)

  23. Correct Brad. You hear about them all the time. I have struggled to co me up with a term for this dynamic. Women read other women writing online that some women are being abused, or being told to submit or else, or that the church has a rampant and growing problem with more and more teaching telling men to make their wnn all formsives submit, teaching women they must shut up and give sex i on tap…..etc.
    The same women who will readily grab those warnings and run with them will, when faced with a vetted study that indicates something unflattering to women will retort, statistics are made up on the spot, can be made to say anything.

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