Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More
Today, September 20, 2007, the New York Times reported the latest statistic gathered by the Census Bureau, on the fate of marriage in the United States. The numbers do not look too good. According to the Times, 50% of couples who would have celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2000 were either, divorced, separated or widowed. The reporter advises that it is not worth saving up to buy silver anniversary cards.
What is interesting is that most Americans marry and after having been divorced 4 to five years, remarry. Second marriages that end in divorce do so after 7 to eight years. Also, people are waiting much longer to marry but they eventually do. Among baby boomers (those in their fifties) the divorce rates is40%. The article also points out that there are many more widowers as a result of men and women living longer. Because women outlive men by about 7 years many of them are left to live alone after their husband dies.
What a survey or census cannot do is evaluate the impact of these numbers on the quality of life of those involved in divorce. For example, divorce is an emotional, depressing and wrenching experience. Children are also deeply impacted by divorce and remarriage. First, there is the loss of what might have been a fairly stable family. After divorce, children must adjust to some type of modified living arrangement in which they either share time with each parent, moving from one household to the other on alternate weeks, or they see one parent only on weekends. When parents remarry the blending of two families takes place in which the children of each of the parents in the new marriage must adjust to living with a step parent and step siblings.
A lot of the research shows that if divorced people can cooperate with one another for the sake of the children everyone benefits and there is a minimal amount of emotional harm done to the children. However, if one or both former spouses are vengeful and manipulative of the children by using them as pawns, lasting harm can be done.
The divorce rate is really something of a puzzle because the statistics show, as stated above, that Americans do want to be married. The puzzle is why they cannot seem to remain married to the same individual for more than seven years?
What are your thoughts, ideas and experiences on this subject?