Divorce – The Tragedy of Broken Marriages

The institution of Marriage today is not considered an exclusive covenant ’till death do us part.’ Couples flout their vows with no sense of guilt or remorse, and are mindless of the disillusionment that divorce leaves in its wake. In the last fifty years rates have trebled, with a higher incidence among young people. Since 2000, the divorce rates in the first year have gone up by 30%. Seven out of ten couples are between 20-35 years. 40% are childless, showing that divorce has taken place early in marriage. As ‘living in’ is the fashion of the day, married couples will soon become a minority. Living-in offers pleasure without responsibility, and the liberty to walk away or change partners when problems arise. Recent divorce statistics show that 20% of marriages end in divorce, 20% live in a hostile relationship, 20% live under the same roof but with no love lost between them, 20% pretend to be a loving couple, and only 20% are happily married.

Why does divorce happen?

o Immaturity: Young people hastily enter marriage without understanding the meaning or the responsibility it involves. It is a covenant relationship which should not be entered into lightly or broken hastily. It has to be worked on daily through mutual commitment, trust and love for each other. Every marriage has divorce potential. Unless partners work together on a daily basis to strengthen the marriage bond, the relationship is doomed. Emotional immaturity, innate selfishness, or taking each other for granted, can disengage partners and send them scurrying in opposite directions. Those brought up in loveless homes do not have the emotional talent required to strengthen the relationship. “Psychological Immaturity is the key to marital failure,” says Jack Dominion in his book ‘Marital Breakdown.’

o Pressure points that contribute to divorce:

-Money or the lack of it is often the cause of contention. Lavish lifestyles which money can buy also lead to temptations like infidelity, alcohol, drugs or gambling. Lack of money brings frustration, anger or recrimination. Love is put to the test in adversity.

– In-laws: Too much interference in a young couple’s life can be disastrous. That is why the Bible counsels to ‘leave’ parents psychologically and emotionally and ‘cleave’ to one’s spouse.

– Lack of quality time together. The absentee-husband syndrome due to long hours of work, shift duty, domestic or international travel, can leave partners lonely. The stay-at-home partner feels neglected, and an idle mind as they say, is the devil’s workshop. The relationship can teeter or snap.

-Overdependence on the spouse is burdensome.

-Failure to address problems promptly lets them fester in the mind and assume gigantic proportions.

o Change in marital equations:

-With the empty-nest syndrome in middle age, spouses especially women, feel free to follow their own aspirations. They become intoxicated with the possibility of freedom and seek other avenues which bring satisfaction.

-Economic freedom of women makes them intolerant to the perceived shortcomings of their husbands. Men are made to feel redundant. Role conflicts create dissatisfaction in partners.

o Sexual Freedom: Mira Kirschenbaum controversial writer makes a mockery of marriage in her book, “When Good People Have Affairs.” Of adultery she says, “If your marriage is in cardiac arrest, an affair is a defibrillator.”

But the Bible cautions, “Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.”(Heb.13:4) Liberated women want to be as sexy as men. When there’s dissatisfaction with the spouse, they feel justified in seeking pleasure elsewhere.

o Provision of the law: Divorce is now very easy. More women than men are asking for divorce. Men refer to them as ‘alimony drones’ because they are assured of life long financial support from their divorced husbands. The same applies to men who live off the alimony they receive from working wives.

Divorce by mutual consent or the ‘Casanova Charter’ permits divorce to those who urgently need it, without any accusations or counter accusations.

o Premarital non-disclosure about important issues like genetic or mental illness, previous marriage, educational qualifications, job status, homosexuality or habits like drugs or alcohol, can be a source of friction between spouses when the truth is out.

o Domination or intimidation by one partner through threats, violence, emotional or sexual abuse.

o Direct conflict between partners who express themselves destructively either by abusive language or fisticuffs.

Effects of Divorce:

This is a tragic crisis that can hit a family sociologically and psychologically. Psychologists say it is almost like bereavement and just as hurtful. The aggrieved spouse goes through stages of anger, denial and a phase of acute loneliness. Anxiety and depression may follow. Some even develop suicidal tendencies. In others, the desire for revenge is so strong that they may resort to besmirching the reputation of the spouse. Sometimes revenge can get physical like beating up a person or throwing acid on the face to cause permanent damage.

Effects on Children:

When divorce turns messy and ugly, the self esteem of children takes a bashing. They become cynical and distrust adult relationships especially when parents wrangle over finance and division of possessions. Repercussions may not surface until adolescence. Many have behavioral problems and inability to relate positively to people. If not properly counseled they might even develop borderline personality disorders. One survey of the 9/11 tragedy showed that the suicide bombers came from dysfunctional families and broken homes. Even Sadam Hussain was said to have grown up in a single parent family, until his mother remarried. But the step father only multiplied his problems.

Children from divorced families show higher divorce rates in their own lives. The environment in which they have grown up may be the cause, as they have difficulty in communicating their feelings, difficulty to forgive others, are insecure and often succumb to episodes of depression.

Hints to make marriage divorce-proof:

o Choice of a good partner. Never jumping into marriage capriciously but choosing someone who is mature, compatible, God fearing, and has a good character. The partner should be willing to make a commitment towards preserving the union and working hard at it. Norman Wright says, “Marriage is a total commitment to the total person for the total life.” Partners who work in tandem don’t fall off their perches. Interdependence has great value.

o Good communication style. Couples should argue constructively not like enemies, but as friends who only have the good of each other at heart. No marriage is perfect. Conflicts arise from time to time and must be discussed with integrity and courage. Resolution should be the aim. In about 40% of cases selfishness is the cause. Individual rights need not take priority over the marriage commitment.

o Honesty and Fidelity. The ‘one flesh’ bond should be maintained mentally, physically and emotionally.

o Praying together will make God work wonders and point to the proper direction to take.

Professor Howard Markham says that in 9 out of 10 cases, divorces can be predicted even before the couple marries. The way they relate to each other, trade insults, refuse to see the other’s point of view and lack of healthy communication skills are indications that the marriage is doomed.

Times when divorce is unavoidable:

– Repeated infidelity, when the exclusive covenant of marriage is broken through extramarital liaisons on a regular basis.

– Excessive violence which can be life threatening to the spouse and children. It may occur under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

– Incurable mental instability that disturbs the peace in the family.

However, divorce should not be the first option but the last resort, when every other avenue has been tried. Litigation brings about disintegration of the family, in which both parties suffer.

A Soldier’s Exploration of Mental Health and PTSD

It’s amazing how the human brain will pick up something in childhood and hold onto it. So that it affects everything about a person years down the line. I discovered this in the course of therapy I received to help with the after-effects of mental illness.

What happened to me was crazy, I’d seen and done so much in a short space of time. There’s no way I’d come through it unscathed. I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, I married twice, had three children and tried to be in too many places at the same time. Too many spinning plates which inevitably came crashing down.

Now everyone looks at me cautiously, thinking I’m about to go off the rails again. Then again, life’s still pretty hectic.

You see, my second wife lives 200 miles away and try as we might, we can’t move on. We’re at a stalemate, neither wanting to move to be with the other. As you will begin to see, I just bit off more than I could chew.

So let me set the scene. In 2006 I joined the army and went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the home of the British Army’s Officer Corps. Around the same time I met my first wife and fell pregnant. Our eldest was followed by twin boys within 2 years. Time I wasn’t at home due to consecutive operational tours. Destined to fail, my wife left me when I was in Afghanistan and returned to our home town. I suppose I could have left the army then but I didn’t. I stayed in, was posted near to London and met my second wife.

This is when it got even more complicated for me. I’m trying to be a father whenever I can, trying to be the best husband and career driven but I cannot manage it. I deployed again but knew my heart wasn’t in it. I wanted to be at home but me and my wife seemed to attack each other all the time. I got angry and stayed that way. I didn’t know what was going on but she was in tears just as much as I was in a rage. I went to the doctor and was quickly diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don’t know if it was just that but my head was screwed. I started to drink more, withdraw into myself and generally blame my wife for everything.

Then I made a mistake which started a spiral into despair, mental hospital and separation. I took my children away on holiday and chose to drink. They got scared and I lost them for a year. No contact.

I admitted myself to mental hospital but just couldn’t seem to recover. I was in such a dark place. I threw everything away in order to escape from my brain. Left the wife, our home, everything.

And so began my descent to rock bottom before I decided enough was enough and I needed to fix myself or be doomed. I completely embraced my therapy, I quit drinking, I spent a lot of time being mindful.

It was during this time that I learned so much about how my brain worked and why I reacted the way that I did. It began with my Dad leaving when I was 4 years old. My young mind decided at this point that if he wasn’t around, then I needed to replace him. I guess this was rational to my immature mind but the problem is you can’t be anyone else, you can only be yourself.

I tried to be him, act how he would have acted, place him on a pedestal and try to aspire to him. That’s why I joined the army too. Thought I’d follow in his footsteps.

But again, if that isn’t me, how did I think that by trying to be someone else for years, it’d help me? The other issue was that as I’d placed him so far out of reach, I felt I was never good enough.

This continued for years and resulted in me developing an increasing sense of resentment whenever I felt someone was being dismissive of me or belittling me. Therefore with so many plates to spin along with this growing sense of discontent, I started to take my frustration out on my wife.

It is only with hindsight that I can see this. At the time it was totally her fault, or his or hers. Never mine. Recipe for disaster which took me to the brink.

So I left, got a small apartment and cut myself off. I worked down to the darkest place and then brought myself back. Now I’m not totally fixed. I’ll still get an urge to drink too much from time to time, I’ll still get stroppy but I don’t get the sense of resentment which has eaten me for years. I now see things for what they are. My brain working against me, maybe due to the alcohol, maybe due to the frustration.

I had to learn to enjoy my own company, find an inner peace and I think I’m there now. Which now means I have to pick the pieces of what was my life up and fix them too. I’ve started seeing my kids again but know I’ll be under the microscope for a long time yet. I’ve started to make peace with my wife but will be working at that for a long time to come.

I’ve accepted that my army career is over and started to plan a future based on using my experiences to help others like me. I mean, if I can help just one person I’m doing the right thing.

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol will vary with quantity and length of time of consumption. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms will be most severe, and careful treatment most necessary, when drinking has been significant for a long time.

The acute withdrawal syndrome can include seizures or psychosis as well as headaches, nausea and vomiting, sweats, irritability and craving. Professional medical help will be necessary to ensure that detoxification is carefully controlled.

Withdrawal symptoms will vary from one patient to another, depending upon general health and other dependence such as drug abuse.

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome, with depression and sleep disturbances and other distressing symptoms, may follow acute alcohol withdrawal after the initial withdrawal symptoms have resolved.

The symptom that tends to cause most distress in acute alcoholic withdrawal during detox from drink or drug use is anxiety, coupled with shivers and shakes. Hallucinations may occur. These symptoms usually resolve within a few days.

The neurologial effect of alcoholism is eventually very severe. Ethanol (the chemical name for alcohol) damages the brain. Chronic alcoholics or heavy drinkers therefore need to be prescribed Thiamine (vitamin B1) in order to protect the nervous system from further damage.

A decreasing dose of Librium (Chlordiazepoxide) given over five to ten days will cover the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal so that the patient is comfortable. Protracted withdrawals from addictive substances beyond ten days are usually not necessary in a supportive environment.

Patients may experience a psychiatric problem in early recovery when they recognise how toxic alcohol and other drugs have been to the body and mind as well as to the family and to the work situation and social environment.

Problems with alcohol and drugs can affect anybody. Addiction is an equal-opportunity condition. It causes social, professional and economic damage long after the acute effects of alcohol have worn off.

Acute withdrawal may be the least of the problems caused by acute alcohol withdrawal. When the individual decides to quit drinking, reality has to be faced.

Medication is generally not necessary in support of long-term abstinence. Antidepressants, tranquillisers and sleeping tablets may lead to more damage than benefit.

The most effective long-term therapy in preventing relapse is regular attendance at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and application of the recommended Twelve Step programme.

The disease of alcoholism is exceptional among psychological disorders because it can be put into full remission with, in most cases, no significant sign of previous impairment. The chronic drunk is given a new lease of life.

The Root Chakra – Muladhara

The Root Chakra is the first in the column of Chakras. Our most basic instinct – for survival – lies within this chakra, as do our needs for food, sleep and shelter. The Root Chakra is the base of powerful kundalini energy, which rises through all the Chakras to reach the crown, where it brings about the meditative state of Samadhi (Hindu and Buddhist term that denotes higher levels of concentrated meditation).

As part of the survival instinct, the Root Chakra is closely linked with security, emotional a well as physical. When it is out of balance, you may suffer from low self-esteem, feel out of touch with your body and your sexuality, or be prone to depression and addictive behaviour, such as smoking. When your Root Chakra is balanced, you feel confident and healthy, and happy with your body and your sexuality.

The Root Chakra grounds you in your body and gives you a feeling of safety. It is strongly linked to the Crown Chakra and between them, they govern the bodys hormone system. Without a balanced Root Chakra, the crown cannot function.

The Root Chakra reaches down the legs to the foot Chakras to draw up the earths energy. When you sit on the ground to meditate, the Root Chakra – which lies between the genitals and anus on the perineum – is in direct contact with earth energy.

In an emergency situation, you need to gather all of your physical resources, and the Root Chakra enables you to do this. The glands associated with this chakra are the adrenal glands, which produce the hormone adrenalin as part of the right-or-flight response. Adrenalin gives you extra strength and stamina in a crisis.

It is strongly believed that your early years have a profound influence on the health of your Root Chakra. It is thought that babies who are fed on demand and given plenty of love and security are much more likely to have healthy Root Chakras. Whilst those deprived or love or left to cry when hungry tend to become needy and prone to developing a victim mentality. A closed Root Chakra in adulthood may mean that you constantly worry about money or never feel satisfied with your work or home. It can also lead to self-destruction or addictive behaviour – such as eating disorders, smoking, drug-taking, drinking too much alcohol, or gambling – or to illnesses such as lower back pain, haemorrhoids, constipation and sciatica. Depression may result from a dislike of your own body. On the other hand, a Root Chakra that is too open can lead to isolation; materialistic; selfish, bullying behaviour; or an addiction to loveless sexuality.

A balanced Root Chakra makes you feel physically secure, able to be part of a group without being domineering or needy, and confident to trust your instincts and follow your destiny. A strong, firm massage can stabilize the Root Chakra. You can also nourish it with a balanced diet and plenty of sleep. Your Root Chakra thrives on physical challenge, so participating in sport is a good way to stimulate this chakra. Specific smells can both stimulate and calm the Root Chakra.