Sunday, 29 November 2020

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Divorce Rate in J's Class


A few weeks ago, J came home looking angry, sad, hurt and insecure... I was concerned. I asked him why. 

He said that his friend in class was sad and had been crying, as his friend's parents' have just gotten divorced.

I was surprised by the effect it has on J since it was not us who were divorcing. That image stayed in my mind and heart.

J wished to take the pain from his friend, but he couldn't.

In a class of 20-22 students, one after another, each year, there are 1-2 couples from his class that have left each other and gotten divorced. One father left his friend's mother for another man! Soon it will be down to 50% who are married and 50% who are divorced, fitting the Danish statistics.

Every day, there is someone in J's class who is crying in class even after a few years of their parents' divorce. What are the teachers doing, I asked? But what can the teachers do?

A friend who is a doctor in Denmark witnesses daily the psychological problems and pains the Danish kids face. She sees them every day. I said, "That cannot be true. Danish kids look so happy, assertive and well-balanced." My doctor friend said that what I see is only on the surface. She told me, "E, trust me, one should never ever consider divorce. It's the worst thing one can do to their kids, in the name of their own happiness." Thank you, dear friend. I will remember your words and advice for life.

We see the parents of J's classmates at the parents-teachers' meeting. My heart aches for them. My heart aches for their children. I wish I have the magic wand and bring them back blissfully together. But I can't. I don't have the power. That only happens in fairytales. Marriage is not a bed of roses. There are good times and there are bad times. When you are married to someone, you are bound to get hurt every now and then, as human beings are not perfect. In fact, all human beings suffer from the main character flaw of being instinctively self-centered.

The divorce rate is approx. 50% in Denmark. For second marriages it is 60%. For third marriages, it is 80%. It doesn't get easier with more experience it seemed. It is not rosier in Singapore either. 

Has love died? What is love?

J has seen far too many divorces in his class. He asked if Daddy FECS and I would also divorce.

I said to J, "Mommy and Daddy are not perfect. But learning from our mistakes, holding each other's hands and God's hands, we will stay together to the end." That gave him assurance. That night he slept well.

This is why I am starting this series on marriage. Not that we have attained a perfect marriage, but let us learn together to protect and nurture our marriage well.

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