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Divorce Is Dangerous
Written By: Mark Smith

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When I arrived in Myrtle Beach last Saturday I was flooded with bittersweet memories. Almost every block triggered pictures in my mind of joy filled adventures from another life and time. My now former wife, my three beautiful children and I vacationed there every spring forever it seemed. While every memory was special and sacred, they reminded me afresh at how unnatural, how hurtful and how dangerous divorce really is. Do everything you can to repair and rebuild your marriage. When both partners are motivated and excellent therapy is utilized marriages can almost always be built into happy unions again.

If you are looking at divorce as a fresh beginning, an escape, a new adventure or a transition filled with opportunities please read on. While in many cases divorce actually can eventually bring some or all of those things, it also brings damage and danger to so many different aspects of life. Divorce is dangerous to your innocence, your memories, your partner, your reputation, your finances, your children and your potential.

Divorce is dangerous to your innocence. There is an unsullied wholesomeness and innocence to relatively happy, intact families. When a marriage and family is dismantled via divorce that innocence goes away. Life can still be good and happy but there is a sense that it can all fall apart and go away, that the other shoe might drop again someday. I understand that there is little innocence in miserable, conflict filled, battle scarred marriages. If a marriage is a nightmare and both spouses aren't able and willing to work then unfortunately divorce might be the only healthy option.

To your finances - Divorce is a financial tsunami to most families. It is a crazy plan from a money perspective - cut your net worth in half, reduce your income and then more than double your living expenses. Not good.

To your memories - In my opinion, the best person in the whole world for you to be walking on a beach holding hands with at age 75 is the spouse of your youth. Even in unhappy families there are a great many wonderful memories of what it was like to fall in love, a child's first step or a cute Halloween costume or of the kids ripping the wrapping off of Christmas presents. Those memories are priceless. You are truly blessed if you can stay married and relatively happily so to the partner you built all of those special memories with.

To your children - I do not believe that children benefit by being raised observing a miserable marriage. They will grow up and have your marriage, guaranteed. Having said that, divorce is a jarring blow to the security of a child. Having dad and mom together is a child's home and safety. Being bounced from dad's house to mom's house while having to deal with dad's new wife and mom's new husband as well as step siblings is awkward and uncomfortable at best and down right explosive at worst.

To your reputation - Even in 2012 being divorced is a bit of a black mark. The truth is that very, very few couples are emotionally healthy enough to sustain a viable, fulfilling romantic partnership for even 10 years, much less 50. Every couple faces dark days at some point in their marriage. Most of us were so damaged by our childhoods that we don't stand a chance of having a long term happy marriage. We all marry clones of our parents, so that is definitely not a prescription for a blissful union to be sure. It will be better for your reputation if you can make things work well at home though.

To your partner - I so regret that pain and anguish that I put my former spouse through. Unbeknown to me there lay buried at the core of my soul a voracious, infantile neediness that honestly pretty much took me over from age 45 to 48. By the time that I awoke from this addictive slumber my marriage had been completely laid to waste. It was as if a tornado suddenly spun up out of the center of my heart and destroyed my marriage before I could do anything to stop it. The biggest regret of my life is that my actions brought deep pain to a very good and fine person. I know that there are no bad guys and no victims in marriage though. The pain you bring to your partner offers them an opportunity to do deep work on their unresolved childhood stuff.

To your potential - Ultimately the best version of you is the one who courageously hammers out an interdependent, connected, healthy marriage with your original partner. That is the version still filled with innocence, intact memories, intact retirement accounts, healthier children, a better standing in the community and a life long friend, lover and partner. Plan A is the best plan. Plan B can be wonderful as well, but it is still plan B. Do not feel ashamed of your divorce. I am not ashamed of mine. I came from a horribly damaged childhood and all things considered I have given the next generation a psychological legacy that is light years from where I originated. You went through what you needed to go through and your future can be blindingly bright if you do the work that you need to do on yourself. But if you can still salvage your marriage and then rebuild it, do it. You will be so glad in the long run that you did.

Indianapolis Marriage Counseling Information

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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