Divorce and Blended Families
Today’s #ThursdayThoughts post touches on a topic that has affected so many of us, perhaps too many. Have you been affected by divorce in your family, or know a family that has been? We hope that Owen’s thoughts from his book for fathers, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”, will resonate with you. Get in touch if you need to talk.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE SOME OF THE PROBLEMS FACING BLENDED FAMILIES OR FAMILIES AFFECTED BY DIVORCE OR SEPARATION?
Whether you’re the father in a blended family or a divorced family or a part-time dad, you still have to understand that you have a role. You are a survivor. You have in you a lot of learning and experiences that you can pass on. You have a huge library of information about how the world works, so the more information that you can pass on to the children who’ve been put into your care, the more beneficial it will be for future generations. You can help your children understand why you want them to get on and develop their different talents and abilities. And you can help them get out of difficulties they might be experiencing. In particular, the more you know about the ways in which separation or divorce may be affecting the child, the better you’ll be able to deal with the situation. The adult population has to be educated about how certain circumstances are affecting our children emotionally. We will not see a reverse of divorce or abortion or contraception in our time because of the way in which they’re drawn into the western world, so we shouldn’t just say “I wish it was the way it was…” We must say, “This is the day” that we’ve been given and work around this age to the best benefit for our children.
Divorce or separation causes most children to feel insecure and regularly upset. That said, I’m sure there are cases of children who have thrived after divorce or separation because the circumstances in the marriage were so extreme, so there’s no wholesale judgment that can be made about how divorce or separation affects children. The vast majority of cases are not extreme, and some of these marriages could still be worked out. One expert from the United States, Judith S. Wallerstein, who’s quoted in most studies on divorce and separation decided to write a book about good marriages, because in her studies she realised that there wasn’t a great deal of difference between families that stayed together and those that broke up. Looking at them from the outside, you couldn’t tell which marriage between two was the happy one – they both faced and regularly dealt with the same problems. The difference was commitment.
The commitment wasn’t there in the case of the ones that fell apart. The “happy” ones were the ones where the people stuck it out, because no marriage or person is happy all the time. French scientists have determined that attraction is triggered by a chemical reaction at the start of a relationship that lasts six to twelve months, but after that high goes, commitment is needed. It’s a wonderful means of bringing people together but this blind love will not continue so we must commit to one another. This chemical reaction is yet another survival mechanism. The reason we survive as a species is that it encourages us to engage us with other humans in such a blinded way, and procreation ensues.
Once you’ve committed to your partner, that love feeling will re-emerge from time to time. But that will never happen unless you are committed to that person through thick and thin. You’ll fall in love with the same person over and over again, but you have to be willing to stay in for the long haul. If you say, “I’ll fall in love over and over again with different people and have that buzz again and again for the rest of my life,” you’ll never find true love, because that is a very selfish approach. I fear that children being raised today to be happy-clappy all the time, whose parents never let them be sad or dissatisfied (or even pause for reflection) will never be able to maintain the type of commitment that a good marriage requires.