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Listen, O my people, to my instruction;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us…

In the 1970’s my parents joined many others of their generation and divorced after almost 30 years of marriage. I was a teenager at the time and every adult I knew told me that the divorce was “for the best.” They assured me that it was better for the children to have divorced parents rather than parents stuck in an unhappy marriage.

The book which blew the theory of “unhappy married parents = unhappy children” out of the water is The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study by Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis and Sandra Blakeslee.

Researchers found that it didn’t matter if the divorce was “friendly” or angry, children suffered the same trauma by the break-up of their parents marriage.

We will not conceal them from their children,
But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.
For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to their children…

Researchers followed children from the time of their parents divorce into adulthood (a period of 25 years) and concluded that divorce is an event from which children never truly recover. It affects future relationships negatively and has a profound affect on their future marriages. old fashioned wedding picture

Here’s another thing the Wallerstein study discovered; it doesn’t matter if you are 3 years old or 30 years old; if your parents divorce you are sadly and permanently changed forever.

Contrasted (in the study) were children who experienced horrible marriage and family dynamics with parents who remained married.

Those children grew up knowing that they didn’t want the same type of dysfunctional marriage their parents had but they approached their own marriages knowing they could stay married.

In other words, despite a terrible childhood with deeply unhappy parents they grew up more confident in their ability to build successful future relationships.

Laura, at The Thinking Housewife blog, highlights some disturbing trends in the “let’s have a good divorce” lie. I encourage you to read her post on The Comforting Illusion of Child-focused Divorce and The Myth of The Child-Focused Divorce.

Why do we need to think about these things? Because marriage grows and changes throughout a lifetime and we all face temptations, boredom, our own sinful tendencies and stupidity. Ultimately, honoring our marriage vows affects and influences not only our own children but the generations to come.

That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,

But keep His commandments,
And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

Psalm 78 1-8

For a beautiful post on perservering through hard times visit Miss Gracie
(updated 4/28/12).

If you have a large family and wonder if it’s worth it all, read The City Gates for statistical proof that you are influencing future generations! Another study shows that children who grow up in large families have a much lower divorce rate (updated 9/21/2013).back of couple

Are you divorced? Know this, our God is the God of the broken-hearted and He delights in doing a new thing in each generation! His grace will be your strength in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). You can trust Him.