The Divorce Selfie.
Let’s all just stop and think about that for a minute. In case you’ve missed this on social media let me paint a picture for you. The divorce selfie contains two smiling people who have just signed divorce papers to end their marriage to each other. There is usually some caption about how they still love and respect one another, and are committed to work together to co-parent their kids.
I’m sorry. I have to take a moment to take some deep breathes.
Why you ask?
Because these divorce selfies make me frustrated. Okay the truth is they make me a little angry.
Divorce is not something to be celebrated. Even the people I know who escaped truly horrific marriages that involved abuse of every kind, have not celebrated their divorces. They don’t even have the energy to celebrate. They are so beat up by living with that other person that they simply feel lucky to still be alive. And they know that if they have kids with that other person, their interaction with them is not over. Ever.
If you have the emotional energy to celebrate your divorce, then you didn’t truly need a divorce. If you still love and respect one another, then you didn’t truly need a divorce. If you can figure out a way to co-parent successfully all while having love and respect for one another, then you for sure didn’t need a divorce.
The divorce rate is not as high we we think. We are always told that on average 50% of marriages end in divorce. That was never even a true statistic. It was a prediction based on what the divorce rate would become if trends continued. Guess what? Those trends didn’t continue. This blog shares some of those numbers:
- Of all the people who have ever married, 72% are still married to their first spouse. That comes from the Census Bureau.
- The 50% statistic commonly heard is just a prediction, and a prediction that has been countered with other numbers.
- Church attendance can reduce your chance of divorce by anywhere from 25-50%.
Divorce selfies celebrate something that causes pain to the children in those families. Somewhere along the way, we convinced ourselves that kids actually do fine in divorce as long as the parents get along. But is that what we want?? We want our kids to do FINE? The truth is that divorce hurts kids. Kids of divorce will feel shuffled around, and stuck in the middle in the best of circumstances. The best of circumstances is rare though, and often children experience significant distress that lasts through adulthood.
If you have the proper ingredients for a divorce selfie (2 smiling faces on the day of your divorce, love, respect, and a commitment to co-parenting) then you have the ingredients for a healthy, committed, and happy marriage. It’s true. Marriage is work. Any long term relationship is work. Unless you are going to spend the rest of your life having 1-5 year relationships, then at some point you are going to have to put in some serious work. But it is so worth it. There is something really safe about spending your life with someone who you know has your back, and you have theirs. Someone who sticks around long enough to know your history – to truly know you.
So my proposal is we start a new hashtag. I vote for #marriageselfie. Let’s show the world that successful marriages are worth the fight. I know mine is!