Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Why Do We Not Prevent Divorces?
What causes most divorces is pretty well known. Researchers such as John Gottman has studied couples in his laboratories for several decades by hooking them up to brain wave machines while the discussed a family situation. He says he can tell in a very short time which couples will stay the course and which ones will bail out.
I suspect you wonder how he can be so precise. I did. Then I read his famous book, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. Now I understand how he did it.
In that and other books Dr. Gottman explains what happens when a couple attempts to plan a simple vacation or how to discipline a child. If they do not have the skills of communication, problem solving and conflict management, the discussion will turn into "Toxic Conflict".
There are four styles of conflict management: Three that work and one that is toxic and a huge failure. The good news is this: Churches can and need badly to teach couples how to handle conflict in ways that build the family rather than destroy it. Unfortunately, very few have any sort of premarital preparation, let alone preparation that focuses on managing differences.
Prevention is fairly simple but it is not easy. The least we can do is start by teaching the Gottman skills. Get my book, Listening for Heaven's Sake and ask Equipping Ministries or some other ministry to train you how to do premarital prep. That would be a great start to preventing couple break ups.