Jump directly to the content

'Your Marriage Is Doomed,' and Other Lies Told to Children of Divorce

May 30 2012
In her new book, MOMumental, Jennifer Grant gives adults courage and confidence in raising off-script families.

When my parents divorced when I was 32—already married for nearly a decade and with two children of my own—I remember thinking, Great. Now, I'm a statistic. My marriage is doomed.

I'm pretty sure any child of the 1970s or 1980s will understand my concern. After all, we grew up hearing about the tragedy of divorce and how all these children's lives would now be tainted. Children of divorce, we were told, were more likely to experience just about every societal horror: from underage drinking to promiscuity to murder sprees, it seemed. But the one statistic I worried about most (after all, I was already of legal drinking age and not exactly tempted by promiscuity or murderous rampages) was the one we heard the most: that children of divorce were more likely to end up divorced themselves.

Of course, eight years after my parents divorce, my husband and I are still quite married. And while those statistics probably were never meant for adult children of divorce, they have become increasingly dubious to me—especially as I've looked around and noticed just how many of my friends from "broken" homes have managed to pull off marriage and family life—for better or for worse.

In fact, in her latest book, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, Jennifer Grant, whose father left her family when she was 10, takes those statistics right to task, showing readers that no matter what "type" of family we come from, all of us can create wonderful, healthy and loving—if often "messy"— marriages and families.

So, what do you think about those marriage fears o' mine?

It's fascinating (and sad) that you, at 32, felt "tainted" by your parents' divorce.

That underscores the way our very muscles absorb and take on the messages we hear over and over again, perhaps especially when we are children.

It's critical that we speak with care to children about any real loss, wound, disability, or grief that is a part of their lives. We want to acknowledge the pain of these things and support kids in appropriate ways, but we should never pathologize them or stamp them as abnormal or destined to fail on the basis of the difficult life experiences they encounter.

I know I had to fight the messages I had always heard about people like me who were from "broken homes" even to get engaged as a college student and take the risk of getting married as a 21-year-old.

But how do people who've heard this message—that they're abnormal or destined to fail—for so long counteract this?

From: May 2012

To add a comment you need to be a registered user or Christianity Today subscriber.

More from Her.menutics
Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family

Why Christians Need to Embrace a Changing Definition of Family

Single friends: We “traditional” families need you.
The Spiritual Gift of Physical Exercise

The Spiritual Gift of Physical Exercise

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us workout and be glad in it.
Faith In the Wibbly Wobbly Universe of Doctor Who

Faith In the Wibbly Wobbly Universe of Doctor Who

How this sci-fi show won over a theology geek like me.
Pastors, Power, and Prettiness

Pastors, Power, and Prettiness

When good compliments go bad.
Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

How the Dating Scene Became Stacked Against Women

Stats confirm what we knew all along: There aren't enough single men.


  • RT @lkoturner: I wrote about the weird and sad nuances of grieving the loss of a friendship for @Jezebel. http://t.co/becqD54mZ9
  • Single friends: We 201ctraditional201d families need you. http://t.co/iiIoGdgaDd
  • RT @spulliam: How one evangelical activist changed his mind on gun violence https://t.co/ZeeTWKwHt6
  • When I moved to DC, I learned an important lesson about family: It can't only be who you're related to. http://t.co/iiIoGdgaDd @LKenna2
  • "It2019s no surprise that physical activity would remind me of the race set before me and God2019s goodness in it." http://t.co/QmhLDSgEtN

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies

Christianity Today
'Your Marriage Is Doomed,' and Other Lies Told to Children of Divorce ...