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.
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.