1. Women Control the Bag- Breadwinner Moms
40% of all households with children include “Breadwinner Moms”, women who not only outearn their husbands, but also have advanced degrees further broadening their potential to outearn their spouses at greater rates over time. When it is time to divorce, women now control the purse strings and come to the table with stronger negotiating power. A lot has changed in forty years- black women are more powerful than ever. This isn’t always a bad thing. During a marriage, add a black woman’s resiliency with her earning potential and you have a match made in heaven. It’s truly sad to see the decline of the marriage because there is so much potential to be great together.
2. Black People and Mental Health Still Don’t Mix
People are quick to acknowledge the deterioration of a marriage but slow to find the proper resources. The mental health profession has made strides over the last few decades yet black people will turn to everyone except a therapist for help. We will go to Pastor, the church, friends, family and even Facebook support groups before going to a therapist. There’s a stigma that exists in the black community that if you seek help from a therapist, something is wrong with you, and this isn’t true. Too often we feel like a hamster on a wheel, no matter how hard we try, the wheel keeps spinning and the marriage feels like it isn’t going anywhere. Getting that neutral third party could be a benefit. In a 2010 study of 134 “chronically and seriously distressed” married couples, 48% showed clinically significant improvement at 5 years after receiving 26 weekly therapy sessions, and 27% were separated or divorced. Why not at least give it a try?
3. Bad Marriages Can Yield Great Divorces
Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce; half the time, marriages don’t work. Divorce can be brutal- he feels betrayed because she filed. She vilifies him for his shortcomings. Trust has imploded and the feelings of contempt has replaced what once was love. Now what?
Move on. Find the peace that was missing in your marriage, put your pieces back together again and move on, especially if children are involved. Your children take cues from not only how you handled your marriage, but they are present and watching during your divorce too. Divorce is for adults, not children. Void your commitment to one another, work out the details for the children, smile and move on. Great things happen out of the box of anger and resentment. Be great.
4. Say “I’m Sorry”
It takes two to marry and it takes those same two people to get divorced. She cheated. He cheated. Both lied. Finances are screwed. The sex sucks, unless it is with other people. The sweet smell of revenge is in the air and now hate has replaced love and for better or worse sounds like a prison sentence. It is okay to walk away from a marriage that hasn’t been for you. Once you get past the hurt, anger, and depression your ex is still present, and broken. If you couldn’t say sorry during the marriage, use your divorce as an opportunity to start over, apologize and move forward for the sake of the children and your sanity. Too often, “I’m Sorry” goes a long way.
Andrew Christensen, Ph.D., et al., “Marital Status and Satisfaction Five Years Following a Randomized Clinical Trial Comparaing Traditional Versus Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 78 (2), 2010.