Divorce is passed from parents to children

Divorce hardened heart © Sebastian Kaulitzki | Dreamstime.com

Studies have shown that divorce is “inherited” from one’s parents – and passed to one’s children. Consider these statistics found in the article Why do people get divorced?

  • In marriages 0-4 years old, chances of divorce increased 87% if wives had a history of parental divorce, 620% if both partners did
  • In marriages 5-10 years old, chances of divorce increased 41% if wives had a history of parental divorce, 160% if both partners did

The good news, if either or both of you have divorced parents, is that if you can stay together long enough (eleven years) the odds of divorce fall very close to those of couples with no divorced parents.

Kids of divorce parents are less likely to marry (60% vs. 80%), and more likely to divorce (40% vs. 9%). The net result is that while 73% of children of intact families marry and stay married, only 36% of children of divorce do the same. That is a massive difference!

What does this mean for you?

  • If either of you have parents who divorced, you need to know that you are at an increased risk of divorce. Yes, you can beat the odds, but understand that the reason for the odds is that having divorced parents changes how you think about marriage, how you see your spouse, and how willing you are to do all it takes to make it work. Beating the odds requires understanding and working on those things.
  • If divorce ever crosses your mind, understand that divorce puts a horrible burden on your children. Are you willing to put a curse on their future? Is your marriage so bad it justifies more than doubling the odds of your children getting a divorce some day?

Sale on 15 Minute Marriage Makeover by Dustin of Engaged Marriage (Aff Link). Now through noon CDT Friday the 20th, use the discount code “generous” for 25% off. See my review above the red letters on this post.

A couple of good resources related to the Wednesday tip: Thanks to one of you for pointing me to The Walk-away Wife Syndrome by Michele Weiner-Davis. I have only recently found Michele’s Divorce Busting blog, and I really like what she has to say. Also, see a great post about “burning out” the stress response found on Dr. Jordana Mansbacher’s blog.

29 Comments on “Divorce is passed from parents to children

  1. I came from a divorced family and I want to end that cursed. I know God will bless our marriage… I do agree with you that the children will take the burden of the decision that a parents may take in favor of divorce….

  2. You provide statics for divorce when women come from a divorced home or if both the man and woman do, but what are the statics if a man comes from a divorced home? The slant of this statics is that women are more responsible for the divorce than men, when I find that more men walk out on their families than women.

    • Walk out, or are forced out by the wife who chooses a divorce, gets a restraining order against her husband, etc?

      Like I’ve pointed out before, 2/3rds to 3/4s of divorces are filed by women. Dr Willard Harley of Marriage Builders has looked into thousands of these cases and when she is the one leaving, it seldom due to her husband’s marital misconduct. So a small minority of the 2/3rds to 3/4s of total divorces filed by women are due to his marital misconduct. (Affairs or abuse)

      So are these absent husbands and fathers really walking away, or are they pushed out by a wife who no longer wants her husband and has a court system as a willing accomplice in the murder of his marriage?

      • @Tony – Some of both no doubt.

        I agree that some women are horrible, and do unspeakable things. You can no doubt find data to support that, as it’s true. But all the best data shows that men do more beating or spouse, more cheating, more abuse of the children, and on, and on and on. I have no desire to say all women are innocent, as this is not the case. Neither am I going to say women are far more at fault than men.

        • No one has disputed that. All I’ve said is that those are NOT the women who are leaving. The ones who are leaving are perpetrating their own form of abuse. More emotional and verbal instead of physical.

          If one is choosing divorce they are saying not only have they lost faith in their spouse, but they’ve lost faith that God can work in the situation.

          Extending the logic I’ve seen presented, I.E. the woman loses faith in her husband because of some aspect of his sinful nature, what is the excuse to explain why she’s lost faith in God?

          Because that’s the natural analog to what you are saying here.

          Remember, we are talking about the vast majority of divorces. You know, the ones where the marital misconduct you mention is no present, yet the wife still walks away, still wants a divorce, simply because she believes she’s been neglected.

          Apparently, she feels neglected by God as well, because she’s willing to break her vow to both God and her husband and end the marriage.

          I no way have I ever said women are more sinful than men. I’ve clearly said that men and women are equal opportunity sinners. We are ALL sinners. We ALL fall short of the glory of God.

          We may manifest that sinful nature differently, but we are all sinners.

          I’m not saying women are horrible. What I’m saying is they are not the victims that some would portrait them being. Perhaps co-combatants is a better way to put it. Struggling for control in their marriage, rather than trying to love and respect. Just like their husbands.

          I am simply saying that the approach they are choosing, to end their marriages, is not one that will build better, more God honoring families.

          I will also say that I think there should be 3-4 times as many messages directed at women about breaking the cycle, since it is the women who are choosing divorces.

          It does little good to tell men not to choose divorce because by and large, they are not the ones choosing divorce.

          Suggesting that they are abusers or adulterers doesn’t really help either, because it’s not those men who women are divorcing. As I’ve said, Dr Harley cannot convince those women to divorce their husbands.

          So who are the husbands who end up getting served with divorce papers?

          Guys like the ones participating here. Trying to be a good dad, a good husband, a faithful follower of God, but somehow don’t meet the mark as measured by his wife.

          It’s the “bad boy” scenario all over again. The “bad boy” as evidenced by Dr Harley’s experience, has a wife who still wants him. The others? They are the ones getting served.

          Let me be clear. I’m not saying 2/3rds to 3/4’s of women are evil, horrible, etc. I’m saying that out of all divorces filed, between 66% and 75% of them are by women, and the majority of those women DO NOT have Biblical grounds by even the most liberal interpretation of what constitutes Biblical grounds.

          Most divorces are “low conflict” marriages. That means there isn’t abuse, there isn’t adultery.

          So let’s get honest. I have no argument against men being what God wants them to be. But in light of what we see, how women today are choosing to divorce in large numbers even though abuse and adultery are not behaviors demonstrated by her husband, changing his behavior will not have an appreciable impact on the divorce rate.

          Want to save marriages? Want to have better marriages? Speak to those who are choosing to divorce instead of working on the marriages.

          A husband cannot fix a marriage a wife doesn’t want to be in. Since 66-75% of the divorces files are chosen by women, we need to find an effective means of convincing these women to stop choosing divorce.

          Since they’ve already tuned out and rejected their husbands, changes in his behavior are a fruitless means of accomplishing this goal.

          So telling men to be better, follow God, while good ideas, are not a successful means of saving those marriages.

          The one who chose the divorce must be convinced that there is a better way to accomplish her goal.

          That’s where I think the vast majority of the effort needs to go to address this problem.

          • @Tony – You said “A husband cannot fix a marriage a wife doesn’t want to be in.” I agree with you 100%. However, I also know that the majority of women want their marriage to work, and most who end up divorcing have put many, many years of effort into making that happen. What I see over and over is a woman who has burned out trying with a man who can’ be bothered. Then, when she is done and files, suddenly he wants to fix it. At that point it’s too little and too late. Am I saying she is morally justified? No, I am not. But this is what happens, and it happens a lot. Telling her to keep going with a guy who can’t be bothered to work on his marraige is right, but it won’t keep most women in their marriage forever.

            MY GOAL is to help men see the situation BEFORE their wife is burned out. If they will make some effort before she files for divorce, then the marriage is not only saved, but it becomes something that is not beating her up emotionally. Is this all marriages where the woman leaves? No, but it is a great many of them.

            You seem to be stuck on right and wrong, and on who is to blame. I am focused on trying to prevent divorce. If a man, or a woman, is doing something that does not justify divorce but is very likely to lead to divorce, don’t you think it is good and wise to let that person know their actions may lead to divorce?

            The bottom line is I am not going to stop warning people about things that lead to divorce just because some will read it as “blaming the victim”. In all marriages both husband and wife are less than perfect, and any improvement by either is a step in the right direction.

            In most marriages, the woman is trying harder than the man to make the marriage work. This is because women are more relational, not because they are “better” or “less wrong”. If the wife is already working hard, then the missing piece is clearly that the husband is not working hard enough. That fact does not justify the wife leaving, but it does predict her leaving if nothing changes.

            You said “The one who chose the divorce must be convinced that there is a better way to accomplish her goal.” If she has been working at the marraige for a decade, and her husband has not, the chance of convincing her of that is slim. Yes, she is wrong – but that fact is unlikely to change her mind, and the fact that she is wrong does not make the divorce better for anyone.

            Tony, it is possible you were a great husband and your wife did what she did for reasons that had nothing to do with you. This does happen, but it is the exception, not the norm. Most women leave after many years of trying far harder than their husband. Most would not leave if their husband got a clue and started to care about and work on the marriage before divorce papers were filed. Right or wrong, it happens, and it will continue to happen, and nothings is going to make most of these women change their minds. Rather than tilting at those windmills, I choose to try and stop the situation before it gets there by dealing with the man, who by the way is also in sin.

            • Well, right and wrong does matter, doesn’t it?

              Are you saying that because she’s “tried” harder than him, that she’s earned the right to sinfully choose divorce? Because it sure comes across that way.

              Scripture is pretty clear that we are not to repay sin with sin. So let’s say I agree with you that the husband was sinfully uninvolved.

              Is sin ever justification for a sinful response? Last time I checked the scripture, it’s not. So why do you continue to make excuses for one sinner, but not the other sinner?

              Let’s turn the tables. Let’s say a wife was ignoring her husband’s legitimate desires. She does this for years. They guy has an affair and tells her, “If you would have listened to me and worked as hard as I did on the physical aspect of our relationship, I wouldn’t have had the affair.”

              Would you give cover to a man who offered that rationale for his affair? Of course not. So why do you keep telling us how hard these women are trying, or how much more they care about their marriages? It’s really that same argument with the genders reversed.

              I know what your goals are. I’ve read them. I’ve asserted that I largely agree. I simply disagree that it’s going to make much of a difference. I’m not saying the man shouldn’t do those things. I’m saying as long as divorce is relatively easy and seen to favor women, women are going to choose this.

              As long as folks keep saying women try more than men, or care more than men, which I disagree with, by the way, then women will continue to feel justified in their choices. As long as we continue to hear that if men would only _____, women wouldn’t choose divorce, again, women will continue to feel justified in their choices to divorce faithful, non-abusive husbands.

              Men do care. They may not care the same ways that their wives do, but that in no way means they do not care. Men focus on different aspects of the relationship. But we don’t get credit for that. Our contributions in the work place, or being the analytical balance to the generally more emotionally driven wife is not given the same weight as her emotional contribution to the marriage.

              So is it really that men don’t care, or they simply focus on different, and frankly just as critical aspects of the relationship? I contend that the answer is yes.

              But we don’t value those contributions. You devalue those contributions when you say men don’t care, that they are not as involved.

              So I believe you undercut any message with your continual beating of the drum than men don’t care, that they are not involved.

              When are the contributions of these husbands going to be valued as highly as the contributions of the wife? The problem isn’t that men are not involved, it’s that their involvement is discounted.

              It’s more of the “women need men like a fish needs a bicycle” mentality. It’s more subtle, but it’s there.

              Women do not leave when they value their husbands. They don’t leave when they care about their husbands. You don’t leave someone whom you value or care about.

              You can continue to try to blame the man for her lack of caring and valuing. But the bottom line is that she no longer values her husband or the marriage.

              Also, I’ve yet to see how you address the idea that she no longer believes God can work in her marriage either. Because if she’s giving up, it’s not just her husband she is abandoning, it’s also abandoning her faith that God can work in the marriage.

              Is that a problem with her husband, or a problem with her faith? How does the husband fix that problem? He can’t. So as long as she’s given up on God, there is little he can do. And I contend that if she leaves, she either never believed God is part of the marriage, or no longer believes God will do anything. Because if she believed God would complete the work He began, she certainly would not leave before it’s done.

              I contend in most of these cases that result in her getting the divorce she wants, she has given up on God, failing to wait for God to complete that work.

              Remember, the men these women are leaving by the vast majority are sinners, yes, just like they are, but they are not adulterers, or abusers. So they are probably just like their wives. Not better, not worse, and certainly not at their spiritual growth destination.

              So please, stop discounting the efforts of these husbands. They are trying. They are not trying like women. But then God didn’t create them as women. He created them as male and female. Each brings a unique, God given set of talents, abilities and natures to the marriage. The ways he tries are not better, nor worse than his wife. They are different.

              To say he’s not trying is to say that God didn’t design men correctly, as their contributions and efforts don’t hold the same value as those of his wife.

              That would be patently false.

              The world says men don’t try and their efforts are inferior. God says he created them male and female. If God created them male and female, they each must have value in the sight of God.

              When wives divorce their husbands, or when husbands divorce their wives, they are failing to see the value of God’s creation for them, their spouse.

              So you can say men are not trying if that makes you feel better. But I know that men are trying in the ways God created them to try.

              You can discount those contributions if it makes you feel better. But I know that God values those unique contributions because that’s how he made men. Those are the things God designed man to contribute to the family.

              Men and women have the choice. They can choose to value their mate, and the contributions he/she provides. Or they can say my contributions are more important than those of my spouse.

              Divorce is just that, saying my contributions, or my happiness, or my _________, is more important than my spouse.

              Having men contribute more doesn’t change anything if his wife continues to discount his contributions.

              So I agree, he must contribute to the best of his God given ability. He must work on his areas of weakness and become stronger.

              Conversely, she must value his contribution. She certainly is not to mold him into something of her design. No more than he is to mold her into something of his design.

              I think most who are divorcing are not divorcing because their husbands are not contributing. They are divorcing because of the curse. Her desire is to rule over him, to mold him into a man of her design. But when he doesn’t become the man of her design, she leaves to find a man she can mold.

              Not in all cases. But in those low conflict marriages where he’s neither abusive, nor adulterous, I think that’s a large part in what’s happening.

              I’m not saying he’s not doing the same. The other half of the curse is that he will rule over her. That certainly will not be “fun” for her. So it’s a power struggle, pure and simple.

              However, it has to end on both sides. They both have to stop trying to rule, one over another. I simply don’t see the choice to divorce, taking property and children as stopping the power struggle.

              Instead, it’s an escalation of that power struggle. Any man can follow your suggestions, and I heartily agree he should. But that doesn’t mean the power struggle will end.

              He can only address his side of the street. But as long as we continue to discount his contributions, there is no incentive for the wife to value his contributions and end her part of the power struggle.

              I’ve probably written too much here. If you don’t understand what I’m saying right now, I probably don’t have the words or mechanism to explain what I believe. You seem to think I’m blaming women. I’m not. I’m simply asking that we stop blaming men for the choices women make.

              Just like we should not blame the betrayed wife for her husbands infidelity, we should never blame the abandoned or betrayed husband for his wife’s choice to divorce him when he’s not been abusive or unfaithful. She is simply demonstrating that she does not value his contributions. Asking him to step up his contributions is an exercise in futility as that’s just more stuff she will not value.

              Men should be the best God provides. But that’s no guarantee that his wife, or anyone will accept or value his efforts.

              Even Christ was rejected, so how do we expect a sinful husband to out-perform the perfect Christ who was rejected and despised?

              I don’t expect that to happen in most cases. I expect even the best husbands to be rejected, just as Christ, the very best, was rejected by most.

              • @ Tony – I fear we are talking past each other, and I am unable to find a way that you can hear what I am saying. I am NOT saying right and wrong are unimportant, or that sin justifies sin.

                What I am saying is that my goal is to reduce divorces. If telling women they did not have the right to divorce did that, I would be yelling regularly. Fact is, that does not work. OTOH, getting men and women to see what they are doing that harms their marriages BEFORE their spouse is past caring, can does does prevent marriages.

                Would I justify a man who cheated because of his wife’s neglect? No. If I saw the situation before it got that far would I tell the wife she is wrong and she is creating a situation that often leads to adultery? You bet I would. Yes, it is the same argument, and yes, I would do the same. In both cases the person choose to sin in part because of sins against them. That does not justify sin, but it does mean their spouse could have reduced the chances of the sin by stopping their own sin sooner.

                I don’t know why you think divorce is seen as relatively easy. Most people understand how horrible divorce is, and that it will haunt them and their children for the rest of their lives. Most people think long and hard before a divorce, and most see it, from their perspective, as the last resort.

                Your argument about the value of different contributions is interesting, because I hear it in reverse from women who think guys care too much about sex. She goes on about all she does that he does not value, and all he wants it for her to understand that sex is important to him. In the same way, men need to understand what is important to their wives, and find ways to provide those things. You can not justify ignoring a primary need by pointing to all the things you do well, no matter what the need is or what is being done well. Because of how we are raised, a lot of men have no clue what a woman needs – just as many women have no clue what a man needs sexually. In both cases the spouse if failing out of ignorance, and in both cases that ignorance needs to be addressed.

                Is it a problem with her faith? Maybe it is. Is it a problem with his faith that he refuses to hear the Holy Spirit nudging him to give his wife what she needs from him? Is it a problem with his faith if he fails to be the kind of husband the Bible COMMANDS him to be?

                We may also differ on free will. I know God can do anything, but I also know He won’t violate our free will. Waiting for God to change someone’s will is, to me, expecting God to violate who He is. But free will is not something you and I are going to resolve, so if we differ on that we will have to just go with it.

                Bottom line: I will leave assigning blame to others, and focus on what brings about change and avoids divorce. I will focus on the sins, of both, that lead to divorce.

              • Paul,

                If you truly mean what you say about leaving the blame to others, then why do you suggest that you want men to change their behavior before their wives walk out?

                After all, are you not saying that because of their behavior, their wives wouldn’t walk out?

                Sounds like blame to me.

                So I’d be happy if you did leave the blame game. When are you going to do that?

                You are not talking past me, I get what you are saying. I’ve echoed it back in my own words and I’ve demonstrated how your words include the blame you say you wish to avoid.

                Divorce is easy to obtain today. You go to a lawyer, say you don’t want to be married any more, sign the filing and depending on the response of your spouse it could be a matter of months and you are divorced.

                Worst case if you want a divorce it will take a couple of years if your spouse contests. But eventually even those will be granted.

                The respondent in a divorce cannot stop the divorce. Only the person who files the divorce has the power to stop the divorce in most jurisdictions.

                So it’s relatively easy to obtain in the US. No penalty if you are having an affair and want to divorce your spouse either. You might even get your kids and a check each month from the spouse you don’t want.

                Courts may even award you the check before the divorce is complete, because after all, you have to have money to live while you are divorcing.

                Pretty easy. All it takes is some paperwork and some time.

        • …all the best data shows that men do more beating or spouse, more cheating, more abuse of the children.
          I am sorry but that is simply not true. I used to say the same thing so I know where you are coming from but then I began to open my eyes and see.
          Here is a bit of what I saw:
          The Bureau of Justice Statistics released a report of family homicides in 33 urban counties. These quoted statistics represent “CONVICTIONS” only:
          WOMEN were:
          “In spouse murders, 41% of killers.”
          “In murders of their offspring, 55% of killers.”
          “Among black marital partners, 47% of killers.”
          This makes your claim of “more” just barely marginally true and even then only 2 out of 3 times.
          Don’t you think that if women are willing to kill their children more than men then they are certainly willing to abuse them more than men?
          Don’t you think that men are unlikely to go to the police with a domestic violence claim?
          Don’t you think that children are unlikely to tell on their mother?
          Don’t you think this skews the statistics?
          Don’t you think that human nature being what it is, that women are willing to take advantage of this even when they don’t know they are taking advantage of it?
          Here is the link: http://www.batteredmen.com/batsewel.htm

          • @Bill – I know the stats, and that is why I said exactly what I said. Yes, during it’s first year of life, a child is more likely to be killed by it’s mother than any other person (postpartum depression is a big factor in that). Yes, wives kill their spouse almost as much as men do.

            I will stand by what I said – men do more beating of children than women, and more sexual abuse than women. Men cheat more than women, and spousal abuse is more commonly done by men to women.

            Yes, men get beat and cheated on too, and that’s just as horrible as when it happens to a woman. But it happens to men less often.

      • @Tony – I can see why you see blame, and I don’t know how I can do what I feel needs to be done in a way that you won’t see blame.

        From my perspective, I am stating facts. If you leave the window open when it’s raining, things inside will get wet. That is a fact. It also does imply blame for whoever left the window open.

        There is plenty of research about what makes marriages strong, and what makes them weak. There are plenty of experts who can give a couple a test and make a very good prediction on the marriage’s chances based on how the two answer the questions. (The Gottman Institute is one that does this very well.) Based on this you can see the problem areas, and you can say “If these things are addressed the marriage will improve, if not it will deteriorate.” If more of the problems are on the part of the man (which is not always the case, but is more than half the time) then does that mean you are “blaming the man?” I suppose you can take it that way, but the intent is to show the problem and what can be done about it. There are always changes needed by both husband and wife, but more often than not more and bigger changes are needed by the man.

        A quick link about this, that I came across today – http://marriedlife.hitchedmag.com/profiles/blogs/the-secret-to-a-happy-marriage-1 . Note that it says “The study also found that in terms of demographics, Hispanic couples scored the highest, while women outscored men.” (Higher being better).

        As for the divorce process being too easy (as opposed to the emotional cost) I agree with you. See the end of my Sunday post for more on that.

  3. Both my wife and I come from families that divorced when we were at a young age. It’s something we actually talked about when we were dating and we were both passionate about learning from their mistakes.

    Having seen things go badly we knew how not to do marriage when we got married. I always like to tell people that we went into marriage with both eyes wide open as to what it would involve. After nine years our marriage is very strong; it goes to show that (with God) you can turn a huge negative into a huge blessing.


  4. I read the article and it is from a reputable source. Paul quoted the stats provided. As to the reasons why it was written like this I could only guess.
    Let me offer a few as well (all approximations of course.):
    70% of all divorces are filed by women.
    90% if both spouses are college educated.
    Women are more responsible for divorce than men. What I have discovered is that women are more deceitful. That’s why you “see” more men walking out than women.
    The cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf even if it is harder to see.

    • @Bill – I don’t see who files at an indication of who is responsible. If a woman divorces because her husband is with a dozen women a month, is it her fault? Same if the genders are reversed.

      In general I think a divorce is filed by the one who has had enough. Maybe that is due to their own selfishness, but often it is the selfishness and or sins of their spouse. So who files is, in my mind, not an indication of much of anything.

  5. I am not aware of the statics of who files a divorce but from my perspective, I believe that the fault of the divorce is not just the woman’s fault. As a matter of fact, I believe that biblically, the man has a greater responsibility for the success of his marriage because of the way God structured the family. If we as men are going to change the divorce statics, then we must begin being men of God not just in name but in action, loving our wives the same way Christ loves us. I can tell you that in 99.9% of divorces, that did not happen, because if it did, the wife would want to be with her husband. God’s love always attracts, it does not repel.

    • Love ALWAYS attracts? If that were true, no one would reject Christ. Yet scripture tells us that Christ will be rejected by many.

      If that level of love fails to attract even one, your view regarding God’s love always attracting is proved false. Since God’s love is rejected by many, perhaps even most, how can you then blame a man if his love fails to keep his wife?

      You cannot. Love is attractive, but love does not always attract. If it did, there would be no need for Hell, nor would there have been need for God to send His son to die for our sins.

      In spite of the love of God, men and women, equally are capable of sin. Just as God is not responsible for the sins of humanity, no human is ever responsible for the sins of another human.

      You cannot in good faith lay the burden of a sinning, unfaithful wife on the husband who loved her. It doesn’t square with scripture.

      • I am not blaming men for the sins of their wives. Wives have to make their own decisions to obey and be submissive to God. While that is true of some situations, there are many more situations where the man did not love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Most men, including myself struggle with loving our wives in that manner because we all tend to be selfish – husbands and wives included. Since selfishness is the opposite of love, then we can want our way and push our desires upon our wives, even if we are right and she is rebellious because when we are rebellious to God, Christ doesn’t force is will upon us. Oh, we may wish were had not been rebellious because of the consequences to our decisons and actions, but God does not force his will upon us. Why? Because He loves us.
        Pure Agape love does attract – the problem is that the world does not see pure love because they are seeing God’s love through us and we distort it with our selfishness. I agree with you, but what I also see is men not taking upon them the responsibility that God gave to them. I also see that when our wives don’t accept our love because of their sin, we really struggle with unforgiveness and bitterness, not just towards our wives, but towards most women. We fail to give them trust.
        But I thank God for His forgiveness and His power working in us that can break the family curses – divorce only being one of them.

        • You are blaming men. When you say they are more responsible, that equates to being more at fault. Let’s look at your very words, ” the man has a greater responsibility for the success of his marriage because of the way God structured the family.” Which means if the marriage fails, the man has a greater culpability because of the way God structured marriage.

          It is intellectually as well as spiritually dishonest to say you are NOT blaming me. You are in every sense of the word blame. What you are saying is marriage failed, it’s mostly the husband’s fault. That sir is the definition of blame.

          You can deny that you are saying that, but that’s what you are saying. So please, don’t try to tell me you are not blaming men. Clearly you are.

          I’ve seen it first hand. When my ex-wife said she was leaving, I was on my knees owning what I knew and asking to see what I couldn’t see. Didn’t make a hill of beans of difference. So apparently even owning it doesn’t matter and doesn’t work.

          I’d be happy to forgive my ex-wife. I was very clear that any sin could be forgiven. That I in no way could fail to forgive her sin and at the same time expect Christ to forgive my sins.

          Her response? He affair wasn’t a sin. So am I unforgiving, or is she unrepentant?

          Even God doesn’t just forgive sins. Again, if all sins were forgiven, there would be no reason for Hell. Instead God OFFERS forgiveness. But the human must accept that he/she is a sinner and in need of forgiveness to complete that offer.

          One cannot forgive someone who fails to acknowledge their sin and seek it. So the best we can do is follow in God’s example and offer forgiveness to the one who betrayed us and hope that someday they will realize their sin, turn from it, and seek out the forgiveness offered.

          Forgiveness is not a unilateral act. Offering it, being willing to forgive is unilateral. But forgiveness only comes when the transgressor accepts the offer of forgiveness.

          • Whoa! I am sorry, I did not know it was personal. I am sorry for offending you, because that is the last thing I would want to do.
            I will pray for you and I will ask our church to pray for you. I hope you are in a men’s discipleship group and you are allowing Godly men to speak into your life. I also pray that you will allow God’s sweet and loving presence to engulf you and bring you healing, peace, and joy.

    • It follows the curse in Genesis 3:16, where God says the woman will desire to rule over her husband, but he shall rule over her.

      The word used for desire there is the very same word used to describe the desire sin had for Cain, and Cain was instructed not to allow sin’s desire to win.

      There is a very clear battle for control in marriage today that was not part of God’s original plan. It is however a consequence of the fall of man. As long as this battle is played out, such as by the wife who chooses sin over following God’s law, then marriages will continue to fail.

      Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, when they had experienced nothing but the perfect love of God. To expect that a husband should expect a better outcome that what God experienced in the garden is totally unreasonable and unrealistic.

      Do you blame God for the sins of pre-fall man? If you blame husbands for the sins of wives, you are in essence saying that God was responsible for the sins of Adam and Eve because He didn’t love them enough.

      Clearly that is false.

    • @John Delcamp & Tony – I tend towards what John has said, but I’d say it’s a bit less than 99.9% of the time. Most of the cases I have seen where the guy was doing a good job and the wife did not respond, the wife was messed up before the marriage. In general, if a woman is not deeply damaged coming into marraige, she will be attracted to her husband if he can manage a halfway decent love for her. There are exceptions, but they are rare.

      I also agree with John that men are given a greater power and responsibility in relationships. That means better able to make or break a relationship, but it does not put it all at the man’s feet. A man can do a better than average job and still have problems because of his wife’s choices and heart.

  6. Well, you said
    “If divorce ever crosses your mind, understand that divorce puts a horrible burden on your children.”

    I must slightly disagree, since, i’m a child of divorce. It didn’t put a horrible burden on me, I actually feels more happy with my parents divorced. I could get a break from either of my parents by being at the others place. But i guess i was lucky they became good friends after they divorced. The divorced handler that investigated who should “have” which kid said “I can’t believe that they don’t talk bad about each other, both of them tells that the other one is a great parent and could handle the kids great” I was at the age of six when it happened.

    Well, But I know cases when a divorce truly delivers a shattered home. I never would recommend anyone a divorce. What God have put together should not man take apart.

  7. I am researching the issue of the impact of divorce on children right now. As part of that research, I am surveying children of divorce. If your parents divorced before you were 18, I would love for you to fill out this short, confidential, online survey. It’s 8 questions long, and it will help us to better serve children who are currently living through the divorce of their parents. You can find the survey at http://www.kidmin1124.com/divorce/ Thanks!

  8. I can truly relate to this, when my mother and dad divorced back in the ‘ 77.
    My dad virtually abandoned me for 33 years, I am now 38. I am in one unhappy relationship, constantly being lied to, constantly badgered, ostracized and much more.

    No one can understand what it feels like growing up as an abandoned child. I have made a sacred vow to Jesus. I intend to keep it. Alot of people who have shunned me aside will take notice when they see the new ME. I intend of getting married and staying married. It hurts to grow up in a dysfuntional household. Divorce is very painful, and pain lingers for a very long time. Now that I have grown up older, More women are taking notice. I have plenty of respect to show off like a golden nugget.

    Please do not think for once that I have divorced yet, I am a child from divorce. My own mom confessed she cheated on my dad many years later. Now her pain has intensified to the point where she regrets divorcing later on. I am looking at her future as bleak and not full of hope.

    I cannot write anymore.

  9. Wait a second. Isn’t this a blog for men? Tony, you can’t possibly think that “The Generous Husband” should be focusing on what wives need to do, can you? You should pick up some Christian marriage books directed toward women. Many if these involve women being directed to honor and obey their husbands if they are leaving for months at a time and not providing, visiting prostitutes, or making their wives perform sex acts on them when the husband hasn’t bathed for days. I don’t necessarily disagree. At some point you focus on Jesus and doing your part no matter how awful your partner is. You are the only one you can control. Maybe you need to specifically seek out marriage info for wives if you want to hear more about what they may be doing wrong.

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