Failing Marriage Can Be Rescued

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 14, 2011 | Go to article overview

Failing Marriage Can Be Rescued


Byline: Rebecca Hagelin, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Culture challenge of the week: lonely, hurting marriages

I just can't do this for 20 more years! Stacy's lonely marriage was worse than it had ever been. Now she wanted out.

National Marriage Week, which kicked off Feb. 7, crescendos on Valentine's Day. Across the country, millions of married couples exchange cards, send flowers and have romantic dinners as they celebrate their commitment to each other. It is a beautiful reminder that in spite of the naysayers, marriage is not dead.

But for hurting couples like Stacy and her husband, Brandon, Valentine's Day or their own wedding anniversaries only emphasizes what they don't have. Many couples quit, propelled by the desire to find something better.

It's a tragedy that's become routine. Our culture makes it easy to undo a marriage - from no-fault divorce laws that allow one spouse to end a marriage unilaterally to marriage counselors predisposed to see divorce as the best solution to a person's unhappiness.

And when divorce occurs with a person's family or social circle, it has a destabilizing effect on others' marriages. One 2010 study found that when a couple's close friends divorce, their own risk for divorce spikes by 75 percent. And a sibling's divorce increases a person's own likelihood of divorce by 22 percent. These events move divorce from the unthinkable to the thinkable category - and weaken a couple's commitment to their own marriage.

Marriages plagued by abuse, serial infidelity or substance use may indeed require dissolution - but the majority of marriages fail not because of serious pathology, but because of interpersonal issues.

How to save your family: Get help for your hurting marriage

What's the solution for a couple like Stacy and Brandon? …

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