Divorce and Kids: What's the Real Deal?
This weekend, I finally put Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce in the library returns bag that sits in my foyer. Because I've been using it as a resource for writing God in the Yard, I renewed it until I could renew it no more and now I owe a lot of fines on it. (I know, I could have bought the book and foregone the trouble, but this is my way of supporting my local library.)
What to do with a book like this? Well, I'm not sure. Even in my own handling of the material as background for the personal side of my book, I find myself in a quandary. I have no interest in criticizing anyone for divorce (least of all my own parents), yet it's an issue that has deep implications.
And maybe that's the answer for what to do with a book like this. We can use it to understand ourselves (if our parents divorced when we were young), our children (if we are already divorced or considering divorce), our friends (if they are contemplating or living through divorce). It's just good to know how things really are, even if it won't completely change our circumstances.
As the book title promises, we learn about the inner lives of children of divorce. This alone makes the book worth a read. But we also learn things like most marriages that end in divorce these days— two-thirds of them— are low-conflict, which means there is not prevailing violence but mostly prevailing bickering and general unhappiness. Interestingly, Marquardt notes...
For years the most-asked question about children of divorce was this: should unhappily married parents get divorced or stay put for the sake of the children? This is no longer the right question. For one thing, a marriage that is unhappy right now might not be unhappy a few years later. For another, divorce is not a sure remedy for unhappiness. (One study showed...that only a minority of people who are unhappy in their marriages today still feel that way even five years later.)
Also interesting, kids don't seem to care if their parents bicker and are unhappy. Well, they care at one level. But the security of seeing mom and dad together day after day still trumps their concerns and tensions. (I tell you, this made me feel better about those arguments we seem to get in every Sunday morning in an effort to get out the door on time!)
Anyway, a good read, if one could call such a book a good read. For me personally, it explained a lot of things.
FOR THIS WEEK's POETRY PROMPT:
Bend to Beginnings
Between Two Worlds photo by L.L. Barkat.