Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Divorce and the Military Family

I wrote most of the following as a response to a question posted on CafeMom.com. I realize that parts of it may upset or offend some people. If you get offended, forgive me, but it is what I truly believe. The original post was talking about how many military folks get divorced and how sad that is. I agree: it is sad. It is also largely preventable, and really not so different than the civilian world. My answer seemed to touch some of the other readers, so I am posting it below.This is the second part.

The divorce rates are sad - and as in the civilian world are rooted (so it seems) in a bit of selfishness (which I'll delve into below) and a lack of communication - with the spouses themselves and with the outside world in general. Not sure what else the military can do to help except be more encouraging of spouses joining various "military-focused" groups such as the spouses groups or the other volunteer opportunities out there.

I have several friends who are in the midst of divorces right now: one was/is dual-military and I honestly don't know what happened there. I pray every day that they reconcile for the sake of their awesome boys. The other is single military/civilian. I know what happened there - and it is too common a story but one that plays out in all areas of society not just military. They also have children. I have one neighbor that has divorced in the past three years. I don't know what brought it about, but I know that their children are suffering from it and the aftermath. I pray for them too.

I suppose the point is that some of the problems are inherent regardless of your status in life. Unfortunately. But in my mind, it comes down to a bit of selfishness, a lack of communication and a lack of determination. This has been a topic of recent - and frequent - discussion between Maestro and me.

I've felt it important for him to understand this concept before he meets any potential future wife. So I have pointed it out to him: like it or not, every divorce I've ever seen has involved an element of selfishness. Please see that I did not say that all who divorce are selfish, only that there is an element of selfishness somewhere in the mix.

If you're cheating on your spouse, you want to have that bachelor/ette lifestyle still; if you are fighting all the time over money, children, etc., you have not worked hard enough to listen to one another as well as you should - you want it "my way or the highway." If you work so many hours "for the good of the family" that your family rarely sees you, you've placed money and "things" too high on your priority list. You get the idea. Perhaps this seems harsh, but how often do we work on what we're going to say next instead of really listening - not only to what is being said to you, but to how your words sound coming back. (Communication: another post altogether!) I will say it once more: every divorce I have seen - since I was a girl - has involved an element of selfishness. You can't be selfish and be in a happy marriage.

My oldest son has watched his friends' parents divorce and fight and he has asked if we will ever divorce. We decided long ago that divorce is not even an option. If divorce is not an option as far as you are concerned, then you look for other ways to solve the problems that come with living in close quarters with another human being.

That's my opinion on divorce.

I hope someday that our society comes to see that we can change the divorce dynamic, and that it doesn't require simply not getting married, but more of a willingness to put our personal "wants" to the side for the good of the family unit as a whole.

Linked to:
Christian Marriage Advice

1 comment:

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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