Avoid divorce to keep family healthy

Jenny Decker RN's picture

The family today is very different from the family in the 1950s. Or is it? During that decade, being good providers, good homemakers, and responsible parents was the goal. It was the typical nuclear family. The husband and the wife got their satisfaction from serving the other, working together for the good of the family. It was a “we” situation. Marriage brings about health benefits as well. Men in general have improved health behaviors and women have better financial well-being. But what about today? What is the difference?

The difference today is that the “we” is centered more on the “me” aspect of marriage. The husband and wife are more concerned about what marriage is giving to them individually. As long as they are satisfied they are getting what they need, the marriage is okay. But when that gets old, then the marriage falls apart. The “me” part is not family oriented. This is when divorce occurs.


Marriage is considered to be one of the most significant relationships in a person’s life. Love, security, closeness, and belonging are all basic human needs. Everyone needs them. Marriage is a relationship that focuses on these needs. With divorce, this is lost. This loss is a tremendous stress and emotional turmoil. Calling a divorce a crisis may be understating the problem. It can take 2 to 3 years to recover from a divorce. And this stress placed on the body takes it’s toll.

Stress can be manifested by behavioral changes such as crying, isolating from others, aggression, substance misuse, exhaustion, restlessness, disrupted sleep, irritability, fear, mood swings, as well as other changes. Thoughts and feelings related to stress include thinking there is no way to cope, worrying about everything, feeling afraid that something bad will happen, being unable to concentrate, having nightmares, feeling helpless, feeling overwhelmed and feeling worthless. These behavioral changes along with thoughts and feelings as a result of divorce can bring on depression. However, it is important to understand that depression can be overcome with help and time. However, that may not be the case with other problems brought on by the extreme stress of a divorce.

According to a recent study in Chicago, the effects of divorce can often last a lifetime. These include certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It is important to note that when a marriage is destructive and/or abusive, it may be worse to stay in the marriage than it is to get out of it.

A good marriage still equals a strong family today, not only from the health benefits, but also to the children in the home. Some ways to avoid divorce may be to remember the reasons for falling in love in the first place and to accept that personal contributions to possible divorce may need to be changed, centering more on “we” instead of “me”. Counseling is also a good step to take in order to strengthen marriage and family. Keep adding to the physical and mental health stock by keeping marriage and family strong.