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                    "THE CHRISTIAN HOME AND FAMILY"

                         The Tragedy Of Divorce

INTRODUCTION

1. Our previous study listed many potential causes of family conflict
   that often...
   a. Strain the best of families
   b. Lead many to believe divorce is an easy solution

2. In the Bible, we read that God hates divorce... - Mal 2:13-16
   a. It "covers one's garment with violence"
   b. It is "treacherous"     

[For the past generation, quick and easy "no-fault" divorce has been
available.  We are just now learning of the long-term effects of divorce.
It is not a pretty picture.  Consider what studies have shown on...]

I. THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON CHILDREN

   A. MENTALLY...
      1. Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families
         are three times more likely to need psychological help within a
         given year. (Peter Hill Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of 
         Adolescent Development Journal of Child Psychology and 
         Psychiatry 1993)
      2. Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children
         from divorced homes have more psychological problems. (Robert E.
         Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children's Adjustment Sage 
         Publications, 1988)
      3. The study of children six years after a parental marriage
         breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children
         tended to be lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure". 
         (Wallerstein, The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children - 
         Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent 
         Psychiatry 1991)

   B. SOCIALLY...
      1. Children of divorce, particularly boys, tend to be more
         aggressive toward others than those children whose parents did 
         not divorce. (Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children's 
         Adjustment, 1988)
      2. Children of divorce are four times more likely to report
         problems with peers and friends than children whose parents have
         kept their marriages intact. (Tysse, Burnett, Moral Dilemmas of 
         Early Adolescents of Divorced and Intact Families. Journal of
         Early Adolescence 1993)
      3. Seventy percent of long-term prison inmates grew up in broken
         homes. (Horn, Bush, Fathers, Marriage and Welfare Reform)

   C. ACADEMICALLY...
      1. Studies in the early 1980s showed that children in repeat
         divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less
         pleasant to be around. (Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, 
         Remarriage Harvard University Press 1981)
      2. Children of divorced parents are roughly two times more likely
         to drop out of high school than their peers who benefit from 
         living with parents who did not divorce. (McLanahan, Sandefur, 
         Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps 
         - Harvard University Press 1994)

   D. PHYSICALLY...
      1. Children living with both biological parents are 20 to 35
         percent more physically healthy than children from broken homes.
         (Dawson, Family Structure and Children's Health and Well-being 
         - Journal of Marriage and the Family)
      2. Following divorce, children are fifty percent more likely to
         develop health problems than two parent families. (Angel, 
         Worobey, Single Motherhood and Children's Health)
      3. Children of divorce are at a greater risk to experience
         injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than children whose
         parents have remained married. (Dawson, Family Structure and 
         Children's Health and Well Being - National Health Interview
         Survey on Child Health, Journal of Marriage and the Family)
      4. Most victims of child molestation come from single-parent
         households or are the children of drug ring members. (Los 
         Angeles Times 16 September 1985 The Garbage Generation)
      5. A child in a female-headed home is 10 times more likely to be
         beaten or murdered. (The Legal Beagle, July 1984, from The 
         Garbage Generation)
      6. People who come from broken homes are almost twice as likely
         to attempt suicide than those who do not come from broken homes.
         (Velez-Cohen, Suicidal Behavior and Ideation in a Community 
         Sample of Children Journal of the American Academy of Child and
         Adolescent Psychiatry 1988)

   E. SPIRITUALLY...
      1. Religious worship, which has been linked to better health,
         longer marriages, and better family life, drops after the 
         parents divorce.  (Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. and Robert Rector, The
         Effects Of Divorce In America, June 2000)
      2. Many young people from divorced families "experience a loss of
         trust that affects their belief in God - making them overall 
         much less religious than their peers from intact families," 
         (Elizabeth Marquardt of the Institute for American Values and
         Professor Norval Glenn of the University of Texas, Between Two
         Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce)
      3. Children of divorce are also "much less likely to say their
         mother and father taught them how to pray and prayed with them -
         and are much more likely to say they doubt the sincerity of 
         their parents' religious beliefs, do not share their parents'
         values, and to say there are things their parents have done that
         they find hard to forgive." (ibid.)

[There is also the "sleeper effect", where adult children have a
resurgence of anxiety, fear, guilt, and anger they had suppressed for
many years.  Truly, divorce is "treacherous"!  But not just for
children...]

II. EFFECTS OF DIVORCE ON SPOUSES

   A. MENTALLY...
      1. Men and women both suffer a decline in mental health following
         divorce, but researchers have found that women are more greatly
         affected. Some of the mental health indicators affected by 
         divorce include depression, hostility, self-acceptance, personal
         growth and positive relations with others. (Nadine F. Marks and
         James D. Lambert, "Marital Status Continuity and Change among 
         Young and Midlife Adults: Longitudinal Effects on Psychological
         Well-being," Journal of Family Issues 19, 1998)
      2. A recent study found those who were unhappy but stay married
         were more likely to be happy five years later than those who 
         divorced. (Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for 
         Marriage (New York: Doubleday, 2000)

   B. PHYSICALLY...
      1. Life expectancies for divorced men and women are significantly
         lower than for married people (who have the longest life 
         expectancies) (Robert Coombs, "Marital Status and Personal Well-
         Being: A Literature Review," 1991)
      2. The health consequences of divorce are so severe that a Yale
         researcher concluded that "being divorced and a nonsmoker is 
         [only] slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack a day and 
         staying married." (Harold J. Morowitz, "Hiding in the Hammond 
         Report," 1975)
      3. After a diagnosis of cancer, married people are most likely to
         recover, while the divorced are least likely to recover, 
         indicating that the emotional trauma of divorce has a long-term 
         impact on the physical health of the body. (James S. Goodwin,
         William C. Hunt, Charles R. Key and Jonathan M. Sarmet, "The 
         Effect of Marital Status on Stage, Treatment, and Survival of 
         Cancer Patients," Journal of the American Medical Association 
         258, 1987)

   C. FINANCIALLY...
      1. Families with children that were not poor before the divorce
         see their income drop as much as 50 percent. Almost 50 percent 
         of the parents with children that are going through a divorce 
         move into poverty after the divorce.  (Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. and
         Robert Rector, The Effects Of Divorce In America, June 2000)
      2. Studies show that women experiencing divorce face roughly a 30
         percent decline in the standard of living they enjoyed while 
         married and men show a 10 percent decline. The consistency of 
         this finding caused one researcher to conclude: "However 
         'prepared' for marital disruption women increasingly may be, 
         they are not prepared in ways sufficient to cushion the economic
          cost." (Pamela J. Smock, "The Economic Costs of Marital 
         Disruption for Young Women over the Past Two Decades." 
         Demography 30, 1993)

   D. SPIRITUALLY...
      1. Jesus taught there is only one ground for divorce and
         remarriage:  fornication - Mt 19:9
      2. That divorce and remarriage for any other reason results in
         adultery - Mt 19:9
      3. Those who divorce their spouses for a reason other than
         fornication, cause them to commit adultery! - Mt 5:32
         a. Either by putting them in a situation where they are likely
            to commit fornication
         b. Or by putting them in a situation where they might enter an
            unscriptural marriage
      4. Those who commit fornication or adultery as a result of
         unlawful divorce or remarriage will not inherit the kingdom of 
         heaven, unless they repent! - 1Co 6:9-11; Ga 5:19-21; He 13:4

CONCLUSION

1. My purpose is not to pile guilt on those who are divorced...
   a. They know first-hand the terrible consequences of divorce on
      their families and themselves
   b. They need our understanding and help to make the best of a
      difficult situation

2. My prayer is this lesson will serve as a cautionary tale...
   a. That divorce is a treacherous and violent act for all those
      involved
   b. We need to teach our children what God has spoken and society is
      still learning about divorce

May God help those suffering from the tragedy of divorce, and may God
help us if we do not warn our families and our society of the terrible
consequences of divorce...!
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