Will divorce make me happier?
January 21, 2019
Did you know more divorces are filed in January than in any other month? It’s the “Let’s wait until after the holidays.” mentality, as if somehow it will be less painful to divorce by waiting. Beverly Willett, an opinion editor for USA Today says in a recent article that “If you can wait until January to file for divorce — after the holidays — then you can probably wait indefinitely.”
While waiting until after the holidays may mean one last Christmas Day or New Years with both of you in the same home (for the kids, right?), it certainly doesn’t remove the sting of divorce. And is the sting of divorce really better – for anybody – than the marital unhappiness? In most cases, no.
Numerous studies have shown divorce does not make you happy. Financial loss, increased risk for depression, suicide, and addiction – not only for you but for your children as well – are all byproducts of divorce. And most of us know the likelihood of divorce increases with each subsequent marriage. It’s why I’ve said I’ve never seen a “good divorce”. Is happiness after a divorce possible? Absolutely. But make no mistake, the divorce itself – the separation from your spouse – is not going to be what causes your happiness.
The lure of a divorce is a happiness mirage. Willett writes “The more I take responsibility for the fear of my own unhappiness, the closer I draw to the prospect of genuine joy. It’s not the job of spouses to make each other happy nor is it possible. Happiness is a personal responsibility, and our flawed pursuit-of-greener-pastures approach to divorce further proves it.”
Another reason not to rush into divorce, is the potential long-term prognosis of your marriage even if the current outlook seems questionable. Studies have shown marital quality actually improves over the years for couples who stick it out. Specifically, one study which compared spouses that stayed married with those that divorced, found that while marital happiness declined slightly in the early years of marriage, it actually improved after about 20 years for most longtime married couples. It also found that discord improved continuously over time as well.
Folks, there really can be hope for most troubled marriages. Divorce does not have to be your only option. My own marriage is living proof of this! If you’d like to learn more about the work we do at The Marriage Place to help individuals and couples rescue their troubled marriages, you can contact us here.
You may also like:
Is Your Marriage Counselor Really Pro-Marriage? October 11, 2020This might seem like a silly question, right? After all, wouldn’t you expect any marriage counselor to be pro-marriage? Well, yes you would; but surprisingly, many are not. The reality is a good...
“Til’ death do us part,” remains in most wedding vows today despite high rates of divorce and separation. This is because although marriage can be difficult, most couples enter it with the full intention of spending their lives together, even when a percentage of them don’t.
We use the term ‘lovespan’ to refer to the longevity of marriage.
The “perfect marriage” isn’t perfect and there is no perfect spouse. Be leery of anyone portraying a perfect marriage. The very best marriages are still made up of two flawed people just trying to figure it all out. Even relationship therapists who have good marriages, frequently have hard marriages.