Thursday, September 23, 2010

Children from divorced homes must work on their marriages

Couples from broken homes must approach relationships with caution

Studies have shown that the number of divorces in the United States has risen since the 1960s because of laws making it easier and divorce becoming more socially acceptable. Research has also shown that children from broken homes are much more likely to divorce - 50 percent if one member of the couple comes from a divorced home and 200 percent likely if both members of the couple came from divorced homes. Many young couples today face challenges in order to keep their marriages solvent, and not repeat the vicious cycles of the past.

Children of divorce often pledge to work on their relationships harder, or sometimes postpone marriage until they are older.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Marriage counselors say that children who see marital strains affect the way a child perceives his or her romantic relationships. One young woman, in an effort to not follow her mother's path to divorce court, read dozens of books on relationships and divorce. Before she and her boyfriend got married, they additionally enrolled in premarital counseling.

"We realized our parents' relationships affected our relationship, and we didn't want to have a failed marriage," she said. "There are already so many things against you when it comes to marriage. We wanted to make sure we knew as much as we could."

The effect of divorce on children can be very different, says Bradford Wilcox, director of The National Marriage Project. Some adult children of divorced parents avoid long-term relationships and marriages, while others become determined to make their own marriage last.

"Divorce is a risk factor, but there's no such thing as a single sociological factor that dooms you to marital failure," Wilcox says. "It's important for couples to articulate their concerns to their boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse."

William J. Doherty, a professor at the Family Social Science Department of the University of Minnesota, says a failed marriage in a family may actually propel a child of divorce to get married, often times at an earlier age.

"They [the couple] will cohabitate, or they are more eager to jump in," he says.

Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and dating expert at says divorce in a family can sometimes help children strengthen their own relationships with their future partner.

Fisher says children of divorced parents may be more likely to spot a troubled partner and avoid dysfunctional relationships. These children are often more resilient and overcome obstacles quicker in relationships. They may also take more time to determine whether marriage is the right choice for them. Studies have shown divorce rates fall when people marry at a later age.

There even may be a silver lining to our current landscape of marital strife. "We may very well see a generation of stable relationships," Fischer says. Catholic Online

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