Divorce is a reality for almost 50% of all couples, is your marriage at risk? Do you know the warning signs, the key life changes that stress marriages, what can you do to assess and address your risk.
Divorce is a reality for many couples that forever change the lives of the husband, wife, children and all the extended family and friends. Catholics are not immune to this and divorce also creates an issue of being able to fully take part in all parts of the Catholic faith.
We have interviewed 4 Father’s Team men (all Catholic) who have either gone through, or are going through divorce now to get some idea of what were some of the potential issues, what the men wished they could have done differently, and what they would like to have heard 2-3 years before the divorce (from a Father’s Team Meeting) that would have helped them do more to preserve the marriage.
Some of the men realize that it was really the right thing for the couple to separate, and some thought they (and their spouse) could have done more to keep the marriage together.
However, some of things that we as a Father’s Team should discuss in this topic are:
- Communication – what kind of discussions are you having at home?
- Are your conversations only about discussing logistics of kid sports and ‘what goes on the shopping list’?
- Instead, can you name your wives 3 best friends and confidants?
- Do you know the dreams and aspirations of your wife?
- Are you telling your female co-workers more about your life then your wife?
- How did your marriage start?
- Some of the men realized (too late) that ‘maybe’ their wives got married for the wrong reason.
- Some women are running ‘away’ from a situation (i.e. home life) and not running ‘toward’ something (you). Realistically, it is too late for all of us to revisit this – but again getting back to communication – do you know enough the history of your marriage – have you talked about it?
- This is also a great topic to be talking to our kids who are considering marriage – can you coach your kids to really understand these dynamics?
- Life Stage impact on our marriage – are you paying attention?
- Some of the men interviewed started having issues – or were told their wives wanted a divorce – when the youngest child was going off to school full time.
- When the youngest is 7 years old, the couples were married from 15-20 years and all of a sudden the wife’s primary role as ‘mom’ was diminished – at the same time that the man is ‘hitting his stride’ from a career standpoint.
- Have you talked about ‘her’ role when the heavy lifting of child care slows down?
- Are you hitting your stride in your career, with lots of late nights, lots of travel, promotions, and business dinners? Are you missing a critical life stage opportunity to talk?
These questions should be a topic for the men of the Father’s Team and we should all examine the health of our marriage.
Some of the other ideas volunteered by the men (besides the topics above) were:
- Do you talk enough about meaningful things?
- Do you pray together?
- If you are having issues – have you addressed? Did you consider a priest, our deacons, marriage counseling?
- There are techniques that can be used to change the negative dynamics into positive communication – would you be interested in learning new techniques (one of our Father’s may be teaching this).
- One of the men said in hindsight he would have – cuddled more, talked more about his day and asked her about hers, really kiss her every day, more time with her and less with kids, ask for more feedback, learn to dance, tell her I am proud of her, smile more and savor her eyes.
1. Ephesians 5:25-28
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
2. Dueteronmy 24:5
‘If a man is newly married, he must not join the army, nor must he be pestered at home; he must be left at home, free of all obligations for one year, to make his new wife happy.
1. Paragraph 2385
Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.
2. Paragraph 2386
It can happen that one of the spouses is the innocent victim of a divorce decreed by civil law; this spouse therefore has not contravened the moral law. There is a considerable difference between a spouse who has sincerely tried to be faithful to the sacrament of marriage and is unjustly abandoned, and one who through his own grave fault destroys a canonically valid marriage.
Small Group Questions
- Do you see yourself in any of the 3 situations mentioned?
- Have you considered a serious conversation – are you brave enough to address with your wife?
- Could your wife be asking you for a divorce tomorrow, next week? Would you see it coming?
- Pre-discussion with Rich DelCore and potentially engage some of the Father’s interviewed.
- This week would be a good time to start….
- A discussion with your wife
- Examine your behaviors today