Recently a young child in my neighborhood lost his life. Beyond the balloon releases, meal chains and prayers, a lot of neighborhood conversation quickly switched to wondering if the parent’s marriage can survive such heartache. This led me to do a bit of research on the statistics in the likelihood that a marriage suffering such trauma will result in divorce. A conversation with a fellow Daisy (what we call the brave women that attend our Daisy Camp events) about her divorce right after her father had passed away from cancer also had me wondering about those statistics. It had me wondering if trauma in already unstable marriages result in divorce or can these traumas cause even perfect marriages to fall apart?
There are very staggering results in researching divorce after death rates. Some reported as many as 90 percent of all bereaved couples are in serious marital difficulty within months after the death of their child, and other reports show no evidence of higher divorce rates among bereaved parents. The fact that husbands and wives grieve so differently may be a huge factor in a divorce. One may want to attend a support group, the other doesn’t. One may view sexual intimacy as a way to stay close, the other it’s the last thing on their mind. When one person in the marriage loses a parent or someone else close to them, how their spouse handles the situation and offers their support, or perhaps lack thereof, can also become a factor that ultimately leads to divorce.
If you find yourself in this state of grieving take comfort in knowing that you are not alone and there are support groups across the country tailored specifically to supporting married couples and divorcees faced with these situations. Seeking professional help can not only help with the grieving process, but is also a good way to learn to understand where you are and where you want your future to go.