August 13, 2008

Preparation Can Break Cycle of Divorce


I am worried about having a good marriage if I ever decide to marry. My parents divorced, and I have struggled to trust others in any kind of relationship. I still have feelings of anger toward my parents for breaking up our family. I do not want to do that to any future family I might have. How can I get past these feelings so I can even consider marriage?

R.A., Chandler

Please accept my sympathy on the breakdown of your family. You still may be grieving from what you have lost through your parents' divorce. You do not need to continue the legacy of divorce. You can reprogram your thinking and concentrate on the positive aspects of marriage rather than your negative feelings. You need to seek positive role models for marriage.

One way to find a good example of marriage is to look to other family members, friends' parents and even through a local faith assembly. When you build a relationship with someone, you need to pursue marriage preparation programs. One program that would be especially beneficial is a mentoring program. You and your intended would work with an older couple who has a healthy marriage relationship as role models.

Another important tool is good communication skills. Many marriages break down because they have poor communication skills. You will experience conflict in any relationship. It is important to know how to communicate in a positive and healthy way.

You need to address your feelings of anger. Unresolved anger toward your parents could spill over into your relationships with others. A professional counselor should be able to help you resolve this.

When you look for a prospective life partner, make sure that person understands marriage will be a lifetime commitment. The word "divorce" should not even be considered or spoken. It will take unselfish attitudes and actions as well as forgiveness and love for keeping your relationship on track.

Your future marriage will need to be a priority so you will be a good example to your future children. You can break the cycle of divorce by being proactive and preparing for a lifetime marriage. Remember that you must work together to maintain a healthy relationship through shared goals and dreams. You can avoid repeating the mistakes of your parents.

Ann Gries is executive director of Community Marriage Builders. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected]

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