Children of Divorce Can Have Happy Marriages

Last week, The Wall Street Journal‘s blog The Juggle challenged the idea that children of divorce tend to go on to their own unhappy marriage, in a post titled “Happier Marriages for Kids of Divorce?

First of all, the answer to that question is, in general, no. Studies have shown time and time again that children of divorce are more likely to get divorced themselves. Really, the blog is based on Pew Center stats on stepfamilies, which seem to reveal that kids of divorce may have a better shot at a happy marriage if involved in a stepfamily post-divorce. Which is awesome.

Still, I think the blog title struck me because my parents divorced when I was about 13, and I have a happy marriage. I’ve read plenty of reports insisting that I’ve accomplished this against all odds. Regardless, here I am. Here we are. Past the newlywed stage, in the throes of parenthood, and so far, so good. The phrase in the post that most spoke to me: “… marital breakups have mixed long-term effects, fostering growth in some children and the resolve to build happier marriages of their own.”

I’m living proof of that. Granted, it took me well into my ’30s to find the right guy. And I did have some close calls—”learning experiences”—that would have most certainly cheated the both of us out of a happy future with a better match. In the end, I lucked into something that felt right—like a good, solid foundation on which to build a forever.

Of course, no one goes into a marriage planning on divorce. We’re all taking a leap of faith when we jump into any partnership, and sometimes, things just don’t work out. As a child, I learned this. As an adult, I totally understand it. But I do like the idea that even when the odds are stacked against you, you’re far from doomed.

<Insert your situation here>

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  1. by Julia

    On July 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Love this post! It’s very encouraging. I actually find that, among my friends, those who grew up with divorced parents have a stronger resolve to not have their own marriages and families end up the same way.

  2. by Stefanie

    On July 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I love this debate! Not just with marriages – but in all cases. “My parents did this, so I am (insert item here)”. I think that there is a natural propensity to repeat your parents mistakes because it is what you have seen – but I know that if the individual chooses, they can make their future turn out with different results.
    For example, my mother was raised by a verbally and sometimes physically abusive woman (as was she, as was her mom, etc).
    My mom has many sisters – and some could be just as harsh as my grandma. However, my mother decided she would never make her children feel the way she felt when she was enduring unjust treatment – and she has been an amazingly tolerant, patient and kind mother to me and my sister, while maintaining a good level of discipline.
    Because of stories like hers, and yours, I know that no matter what statistics say, it’s less about your “odd”, and more about how you take those lessons and learn from them. Here’s to many more years for you and Clint – no matter how good a match, marriage is work, and I’m glad to see it’s working:)

  3. by Berit

    On July 18, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Well put, Stefanie!