Friday, April 22, 2011

Date Night Topic: Top 5 Reasons for Divorce

We were blessed tonight with the invitation of a Date Night event at our church. I've never been to one so I had no idea what to expect. With six daughters, a "date night" is somewhat of a unicorn concept: I've heard of it but can't remember the last time I saw one :-)

After our teen/preteen aged children were set up with dinner and chores, we headed to our church. Upon arrival we found about ten tables set up with about four couples per table. We helped ourselves to a generous amount of homemade lasagna and salad. Someone snuck in Papa John's cheese breadsticks and they were wonderful too.

Towards the end of our dinner, our Bishop stood up and announced that he had a topic of discussion he wanted to share with us. As a divorce lawyer, he admitted that he never dreamed as a child that his field of expertise would end up being prenuptual agreements and he wondered how all this divorce experience would ever serve him and those around him.

For the next 45 minutes, he shared with us the top five reasons that he has personally seen destroy marriages. He hoped that by sharing his experience with us regarding what he has seen ruin so many other marriages would enable us to make our marriages more successful and avoid the many pitfalls in our society today.

He estimates he has mediated around 1000 divorces and these five problems are the majority of the causes for marriage failures.

#5 - Unmedicated mental illness. This is regarding people who have known mental issues but choose NOT to medicate properly. Some medicate improperly with alcohol or other drugs which causes problems. Some refuse to follow their presciption medication for whatever reason and it leads to problems. When asked which mental illness he saw most, he stated Depression.

#4 - "Hen-pecking" is what he called it. He also verbalized a disclaimer that he was not solely singling out women as the perpetrators. This is a catch phrase more popularly called "nagging." He said it leads to diminished self esteem and that can certainly lead to an unhappy marriage. He sees it in both men and women, where one spouse constantly "rides" the other about not doing things the "right" way. After years of trying to please the spouse, some people choose to give up and divorce.

#3 - Pornography. This needs no explaination. What I did learn though was that different people classify pornography in different ways. Some people see the front page of tabloids at the grocery market checkout stands displaying partially see-through bathing suits as being pornographic. Others think it has to have the word Playboy or complete nudity to be considered porn. Regardless, he states he is seeing less and less of this as a reason for divorce. It IS common to see it grouped with one or more of the top five listed here, but it is not seen by itself as much as he thought it would. He emphasized that he in NO way is downplaying pornography as an important issue. He simply stated that it can be dealt with, repented for, and fixed. Other issues on this list (especially #1) can't be simply medicated or repented.

#2 - Sex. I did not hear whether he was reporting on problems with sexual relations between marriage partners, per se, or problems of infedelity (sex outside the marriage.) Regardless, he stated that although this definitely ranked in the top two of acts that led to divorce, he clearly verbalized that it was no where near as common as the number one reason for divorce.

#1 - Debt. We talked about how, in our society today, it is consciously acceptible to buy things on credit, take on massive debt, AND brag about it. The phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses" was used to demonstrate how so many people buy the latest gadget, newest car, biggest house on the block just to (attempt to) impress other people. He noted how his grandparents bought their house for $25,000 (a LONG time ago) and never attempted to refinance. During the housing bubble, this $25k house would have sold for $700,000 and yet they stayed. Their generation paid cash for everything and put nothing on credit. His main point was that money isn't everything. His grandparents had very little money, still have very little money and have lived a full and happy life.

So there you have it. A successful divorce attorney sharing his first-hand knowledge on how to avoid divorce. I study many resources but when it comes to first-hand knowledge, theories and hypotheses go to the back of the line.


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