“How to Avoid Divorce” 101

It could be called “Divorce 101.” New York's Binghamton University this fall will offer a course that could help students reduce the likelihood they'll wind up in divorce court.

According to a 2002 report by the National Center for Health Statistics, a woman's background will have major implications for her risk of divorce in the first ten years of marriage. That report says factors such as waiting until after the age of 25 to marry, not having a baby until at least seven months after marriage, and having some college education all lower the probability of divorce. And the U.S. Census Bureau reported that same year a slow but gradual drop in divorce rates since peaking in 1980. Still, divorce is commonplace in America, with almost a million occurring in the year 2000 alone.

Binghamton University instructor Sally Dear says her “Divorce Culture” course will focus on the factors that have lead to what she calls a “divorce crisis” in the U.S. Dear says she will try to dispel myths people have about marriage and help students develop more realistic expectations. One of those myths, she says, is that “love will conquer all.”

“To go into a relationship and believe that because you fell in love with this person to begin with that the relationship will last the rest of the lifetime and everything will be wonderful and you'll never have to work at it and it won't take any effort on anyone else's part — I think [that is] a major myth,” she says.

At a time of high divorce rates, Dear says it is important for people to approach marriage with “their eyes wide open.” For that reason, the Binghamton course stresses the need for good communication skills and the ability to step back when someone in the marriage relationship is upset or angry.

“I strongly emphasize the need that individuals need to know themselves and to get to know the other person really well before they enter into marriage,” the instructor says. “And last but not least, we look at the dissolution process itself, some gender bias within the legal system, the effects on children, and the reconfiguration of family structures and relationships in the post-divorce period.”

Professor Dear says the course will also examine how various religious groups view the institution of marriage. According to the NCHS report, a woman with some sort of religious affiliation in her background is 14 percent less likely to experience divorce than a woman with no religious background at all.

(This article courtesy of Agape Press).

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