Your Kids Are Going to Get Divorced Unless We Fix This

Comments 26
(Image courtesy of Bridal Banter.)
(Image courtesy of Bridal Banter.)

I’ve written and published more than 400 posts here.

Many of them are about divorce and marriage because divorce was the hardest thing I ever did. I don’t mean “hardest thing” like: Oh man! Running a marathon was really hard! Or. Oh man! Installing that patio was really hard!

I mean: I can’t breathe. I cry and puke and panic all the time. I think I might die. And that doesn’t even scare me anymore because this is so horrible that dying might be better.

Maybe not everyone freaks out like me when they get divorced and they don’t see their kids all the time.

But I know some do. And maybe more importantly? I know some WILL. Because until people figure out how to be better at marriage, the divorce rate is going to continue to wreak havoc on families and society.

Kids are going to get angry and develop emotional and psychological issues.

Money is going to be tighter.

Families and old friendships will fracture. New ones will be formed and then those will fracture, too, because not enough people are learning lessons.

Fewer people smoke than they did in the 1970s because now we know there’s an infinitely greater chance of you getting cancer and dying if you do.

More people exercise and eat healthy than they did in the 1970s because now we know all of these great benefits of healthy living versus unhealthy living.

More people wear seat belts. Fewer people drink and drive.

We do a better job as a society with public safety measures of all stripes.

It’s because we DO get better at things. It’s because we CAN change things.

Why Aren’t People Doing Anything About Divorce?

I feel like so many of us just shrug our shoulders and think: Ehh! Nothing we can do about it! It’s just the way it is!

Because we don’t want to “legislate morality?” Because we don’t want to “tell people what to do?” Because we can’t “force people to be nice to one another?”

Sure. We can’t make ignorant people not hate. But we CAN—slowly but surely—cure ignorance.

We have done it over and over again as a society. With smoking. And STDs. And social issues related to race and sexual orientation and environmental conservation.

We CAN teach kids about common causes of divorce—things we grow up NOT EVEN KNOWING will destroy a marriage.

We CAN teach kids about the extensive research done on gender studies, and how smart cross-gender communication can improve our romantic, social and professional relationships across the board.

We CAN teach kids about the ramifications of divorce, financially and socially and in all of the ways it can damage our lives.

We teach kids all these things they never use when they grow up.

But pretty much EVERYONE is going to end up in a relationship, sooner or later. We can quibble over marriage rates, and gay couples, and those people who are going to co-habitat but never marry. Whatever. Those people STILL need to understand how to co-exist in those intimate relationships, and I would argue these things are infinitely more important to a person’s quality of life than ANYTHING we teach in school.

We may not be able to save already-horrible marriages, but we can damn sure start arming young people with the knowledge they’re ALL already interested in anyway: How to get and keep significant others and get along with friends.

We can save FUTURE marriages. We can.

I want to start sharing some older posts that I really believe in.

Some of these 400 posts have been read tens of thousands of times. Others? Just a few hundred. And I think some of these ideas are too valuable to live in the shadows.

So I’ve decided I want to start re-sharing some of them.

I’m going to start here:

Why should we all care about divorce as much as I do?


Other than our mutual interest in Earth continuing to spin around the sun without any major catastrophes, can you think of anything that affects so many people?


Maybe you’ll care like me. I sure hope so.

Please read:

The 95 Percent

26 thoughts on “Your Kids Are Going to Get Divorced Unless We Fix This”

  1. Matt, you are so right on the mark with this. I worry about this with my own kids. Not only because I was the child of divorce and, eventually, a husband/father of divorce, but also because the value of personal relationships seems to be deteriorating at a younger age. The disposable mentality prevelant in society doesn’t just pertain to products anymore — I see it in my own teens and their friends. They change friends as often as they change their Facebook status it seems. That worries me. I’ve been incredibly happily remarried now for seven years (in August), and I keep hoping the example my wife and I set for our children in terms of expressing our appreciation, love, affection and respect for each other is an example our children will follow in their own relationships.

    I’m just not sure, though. Then again, it’s hard to tell anything when you’re dealing with teens…

    Terrific post, Matt, and you definitely have much wisdom to offer in your past posts. Glad you are putting them front-and-center again.

    1. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment, Ned. Like you, I am a child of divorce AND now a divorced parent.

      I don’t want to throw up my hands and just say: That’s just the way the cookie crumbles! I don’t even like crumbly cookies that much.

      The kids who need to hear this stuff the most are the kids whose parents don’t care, or don’t think about this, ever.

      I don’t know where one begins to have this conversation about relationship- and family based curriculum being instituted at a classroom level, and whether it would even be impactful.

      But it feels like a worthy discussion and I appreciate so much that you wanted to be part of it.

      Thank you, Ned. Hope all is well.

      1. I couldn’t agree more that part of our education system should include more about the value and importance of relationships than just sex education. Our kids enter the world prepared to do algebra and know the dates of important war battles but have no real life skills. Years agio,I read an argument about the vaue of a high “IQ” versus a high “EQ” (emotional intelligence), and I remain convinced that knowing how to effectively get along with — and have empathy for — others will get you farther in life on the happiness scale than solving math equations.

        All is good here, Matt, and I always hope the same for you as well.

  2. It needs to more than in the classrooms. Children learn from what they see and hear in the home. We need to be teaching our children not only about “how to fight” but how to “resolve” conflict. We need to set the example for our children which means we need to take accountability for our actions and words. We need to teach our children how to love, accept and forgive. We need to teach them to be accountable, responsible and mindful. And even after all these things, we need to recognize that eventually our children will make their own choice because regardless of what they are taught, they will be faced with their own forked road of choice. I do appreciate your post and the awareness you are sparking in others. What an amazing way to initiate change. Good on you!

    1. Thank you very much. Parents always have, and always will be the primary educators and influencers on their children during their formative years. Of course it’s best coming from parents. But so many of our problems today regarding family and all of our interpersonal and psychological hangups stem from bad parenting. Being in the classroom will never be enough. But if society, collectively, decided this was a subject that warranted education and training in school, it would be there for the kids who don’t have that guidance at home, and would only be further reinforced by all the children fortunate enough to have stable home lives.

      This is something I feel pretty strongly about. I’m just not sure how to start that conversation on any macro level.

  3. Your best post to date! I was a child of divorce and I in-turn, became a wife/mother of divorce. Even though I tried my best for divorce not to happen. I will definitely speak to my two little girls regarding relationships when they reach a more proper age. I’m not saying it will stop them from getting a divorce, (God forbid) but I will definitely send them out into the world, armed and knowledgeable.
    I experienced pain via divorce twice as a child when I witnessed my mother going through two marriages and then my own. And I don’t want that pain neither for myself again, nor my children. I think you’re blog is absolutely wonderful and even though you aren’t perfect, your thoughts on the whole marriage/divorce issue most definitely is! Keep up the great work!!!!

    1. Thank you very much. Sounds like you and I had very similar experiences and a shared desire to not put children through that.

      It’s a lot to take in psychologically and emotionally. I appreciate so much that you think things you read here have value.

      Thank you for saying so.

  4. Both sets of my grandparents are divorced. My parents and all of their married siblings are divorced. I and both of my siblings are divorced. There is nothing I have prayed for more earnestly and more often than that this would be the end of divorce in my family line. It literally hurts to think that this is even a possibility for my two most precious treasures. Great… And terrible post. Thanks for all you do to fight the fight for those who still have a chance to get it right.

    1. I feel a bit like an imposter. I’ll probably even spin that into a post someday. This idea that some divorced guy somehow can add value to someone else’s marriage… it sounds ludicrous.

      But too many people write and say that it matters for everyone to be wrong. So, I guess it matters.

      And that pushes me to want to do more.

      Your encouragement is always appreciated.

      1. I feel.

        I’ve been asked to do a devotional thought for a BRIDAL SHOWER at my church….really?!?! Talk about feeling like a fraud. . . but they seem to think I have something important to say so I guess I’ll do it. … meh…

  5. Great post, Matt. I couldn’t agree with you more. I want relationships, marriage, taught, talked about, some of these secrets shared with others. Human relationships are learned behavior. That is what I try to blog about too, because this is an issue that is going to impact nearly everyone. Not only are we not arming and equipping our young people, I think the culture at large is teaching them the precise opposite of what they need to know.

  6. I don’t know why we can’t fix this, as a nation. Someone once said we should make it harder to get married. I think there’s truth to that. But I also agree, that children and adults should be “taught” more about the importance of relationships, about caring about the other person, and really working at getting it right. Still and all, though, some marriages will still fail. They just will. I’m sorry, but they will. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try harder to get them right, and have less divorce.

    1. Unless you’re a total psychopath (“you” being anyone!), I have a hard time believing very many people stand at the alter or in front of a judge or an Elvis imposter and exchange vows they don’t intend to keep. I MUST be a small percentage, otherwise, we’re more lost and broken than I ever thought possible.

      I think most people’s hearts and minds are in the wrong place. But when you keep getting sad and angry over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, it’s not that hard to see why people lose their shit, then themselves, and everything just explodes into horribleness.

      What we can do is intelligently teach people WHY doing X, Y or Z upsets another human being. There are almost always reasons. And then we can teach life and communication skills that arm people with the ability to carry on healthy relationships and self-diagnose unhealthy ones BEFORE exchanging vows.

      I don’t know how. I just know we can.

  7. Too late. It’s all over. We’ll bottom out at around a 25% marriage rate. This is a global phenomenon. Japan, Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, most of the EU, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Iran, India – All have tanking marriage and birth rates – with Japan being where most will end up. Relationships between men and women in marriage makes no sense anymore. Men benefited in marriage by having male heirs provided by women and women benefited by having financial provision and protection by men. Now – marriage only benefits women.

    The moment Reagan signed off on no-fault divorce, marriage became a racket for women to redistribute their husbands wealth to themselves. From that point forward, the divorce rate soared. California, after four straight reporting periods of a 75% divorce rate, stopped reporting their divorce stats. They haven’t reported for over two decades now, which falsely lowers the national divorce rate. Combine that with the ‘sexual revolution’ and the feminist inspired demonization of men and marriage is rightfully dying.

    Marriage, through divorce, has destroyed countless millions of men’s financial lives (98% of alimony/child support paid from men to women) and resulted in hundreds of thousands of male suicides (only male suicide rate goes up after divorce – not women’s).

    The only way to fix ‘the problem’ is to be honest about the cause. As that will NEVER happen, bye-bye marriage. Gynocentrists ARE NOT going to give up all of the privileges women have over men. It won’t be long before the government forces marriage after X number of months of cohabitation. They’re already trying to do this in the EU with the ‘Cohabitation Rights Bill’. In some countries – you’re already married after X number of months of cohabitation – so fewer and fewer cohabit. What this means is that, in addition to marriage dying, so will cohabitation (beyond X number of months).

    The future for all Westernized nations is that of Japan. Soon, the feeder nations we use to prop up the low birth rates in the US will be infected by feminism as well. Then, the pool of potential new immigrants (low wage slaves) will die out.

    Having said all of the above, I’m grateful that it’s no longer a social expectation to marry and have kids. It would make me sick to give someone the power to destroy my life through such a corrupt and outdated institution as marriage. I guess I owe feminists a thank you for that one. At 50, my retirement funds are already good to go and I never have to worry about loosing that piece of mind in a divorce. I’ve read too many stories by men 40 and up that have to start from scratch on their retirement funds as a result of divorce. Not me. Not ever.

    If you really want to save your children – teach them about how badly marriage, through divorce, can destroy their lives. If I had a son – I’d tell him to never marry. If I had a daughter – I’d tell her to do whatever she wanted.

    1. It seems like you’re making an argument to not get divorced as opposed to fighting for marriage, Actual Truth. What about all of the amazing things that come from marriage? This post is about teaching our children to know what it means to honor a vow…. a person. Your comment makes me sad that people equate marriage automatically with divorce. It doesn’t have to be that way, right?

      1. If I had kids, the thing I’d be worried about most is my child ever having to experience a divorce, a life threatening illness, a serious accident, etc. The consequences of all are life altering and can easily result in a destroyed life. Divorce is right up there with death of a spouse and death of a child as one of the most misery inducing events one might ever have to experience.

        Just like I’d warn them to never smoke, drink and drive, or engage in any endeavor that might raise their risk of contracting a life threatening illness, I’d warn them of the all too common, future destroying consequences of divorce.

        The marriage rate in the US is at its lowest point in one hundred years. In America, there is one divorce approximately every 36 seconds. That’s nearly 2,400 divorces per day, 16,800 divorces per week and 876,000 divorces a year. In 2012, there were 2.4 million divorces (not counting California and five other states), which is over double the yearly average. Subsequent years aren’t much better. Again – California, with 40 million people, and five other states do not report their divorce statistics, which artificially deflates the national divorce rate. California hasn’t reported for more than two decades.

        What I’m saying is that, if I had children, I’d do my best to make sure that they were fully versed in the suffering they’d have to endure if divorce ever became a reality in their lives. Men’s suicide rates go way up as a result of divorce – where women’s suicide rate following divorce remains unchanged. So if I had a son, I’d obviously be more concerned. I would certainly not fill their heads with illusions and enchantments that might one day crush their souls and ruin their lives.

    2. I agree with much of what you’re saying here, minus the part where you ignore all the times men are responsible for destroying marriages (and lives). It does, in fact, happen.

      I really do hear you. Anytime people go into relationships of any kind with dishonest intentions, everything is going to go to shit. And I don’t like inequality in any form. I don’t want men taken advantage of by women, and I know that it happens.

      But some of what you’ve written here is conspiratorial. You don’t account for two well-meaning people who want to marry and live together and love one another forever, but maybe lack some of the knowledge and awareness and skills to pull it off. THEN, after many years, it gets ugly, because two people keep hurting one another.

      I write for them. And I won’t stop.

      People with legit evil in their hearts? Intent on hurting people?

      What do you say to someone like that?

      I don’t spend a lot of time wondering because I don’t think they’re reading.

      I appreciate that you took the time to comment on this stuff. I really do. And even though you seem a little jaded, your point of view is an important part of the macro marriage discussion. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. I agree completely. My mom divorced three times and my dad twice. I was a kid for the original, and kids are tough and can adapt. But I don’t know how anyone can go through that many divorces and come out whole. Please keep plugging away at this. You can make a huge difference.

  9. You are so right. How do we learn to be good at marriage? You always hit at the hard truths, the kernels that matter. I sure hope I’m teaching my kids that. That marriage is hard, but you’re in it for the long run, you keep trying every day, you choose love, and also, date night. So glad you’re pulling from the archives!

  10. Pingback: Cracks Can Be Beautiful | martha0stout

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Matt Fray

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