How does one make the decision to end a marriage? What thought processes and emotions are driving our decisions?
According to Adam Galovan, a family scientist in the University of Alberta’s Department of Human Ecology and co-author of a U.S.-based study called The National Divorce Decision-Making Project, if you’re thinking about getting a divorce, give it a year – there’s a 50 per cent chance that your feelings will change quite dramatically.
That’s one of several fascinating discoveries made by researchers who looked at what people were thinking when considering divorce compared to how they felt a year later. The study categorizes people considering divorce into three groups: soft thinkers, serious thinkers, and conflicted thinkers.
The results indicate these categories are not fixed, and individuals may shift between them over a year. As explained in the first section of this unit, thoughts of divorce can be a natural part of the ups and downs in a marriage and are more common than people might realize.
The study suggests that instead of immediately resorting to divorce as the default option when facing difficulties, couples could use these thoughts as an opportunity to reflect on their relationship and work towards improvement. The research emphasizes the importance of communication within a relationship and notes that many individuals who had thought about divorce had not discussed these feelings with their partners. This lack of communication often leads to unmet expectations and unspoken struggles.
Frequently, divorce is initiated by one party without consulting the other. What if instead, divorce could be approached with the same cooperative mindset that characterizes marriage? The study highlights the benefits of open and honest conversations between partners about their feelings and concerns. Furthermore, the findings suggest there might be value in slowing down the divorce process.
The emergence of discernment counselling, where couples contemplating divorce see a counsellor to determine if divorce is the only option, is mentioned as an example. This approach allows couples to explore alternative solutions and potentially avoid a hasty decision.
It’s interesting to note the shift in research focus from the causes and effects of divorce to understanding how individuals decide to divorce. This change in perspective has contributed to the development of new therapeutic approaches, such as discernment counselling, which aims to help couples make more informed and thoughtful decisions about their relationships. Overall, the research encourages a more nuanced and thoughtful approach to the consideration of divorce, recognizing that thoughts about divorce can be fluid and that communication and reflection play crucial roles in navigating challenges within a marriage.
This video guides couples through a methodical assessment of their relationship, helping them determine whether salvaging it is a viable option. This process proves valuable regardless of the ultimate decision, potentially easing the difficulty of the divorce itself.