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Burden of divorce takes emotional toll

“Life is the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations,” Herbert Spencer, a Victorian biologist and early social philosopher, said. What can happen when adjustment becomes too difficult? Divorce.

High rates of adultery and divorce can lead to the conclusion that morality and values are on the downfall in society today. Commitment has become obsolete, and wedding vows hold little meaning.

In 1998, 2.2 million couples married and 1.1 million couples divorced; in 2000, there were over 21 million divorces (reprinted from www.divorcePeers.com).

Ashley Hall, ’08, was more sad than shocked when her parents made the decision to separate.

“They were arguing a lot; one night my dad was drinking and driving and crashed into a light pole,” Hall said. “After that, he turned into a Christian, but my mother wouldn’t change.”

When a divorce occurs, it can seem like the family is being ripped apart, but siblings can help get you through tough times.

“I was too young to understand when it [the divorce] happened,” Spencer Koleen, ’06, said. “All I know is that I probably wouldn’t have taken it as well if I didn’t have my sisters to help me through.”

Hall and her sister had different reactions when her parents divorced.

“To tell you the truth, we kind of went our separate ways emotionally,” Hall said. “But after she [my sister] moved out, our relationship got so much better.”

Divorces can bring a mix of emotions: sadness, confusion and, almost always, anger.

“I was angry at my parents for not being selfless enough to just get along for the sakes of their seven children,” Molly Sargent, dean of women, said. “I understood they didn’t love each other, but I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t continue to live together, especially without fighting.”

Expressing your emotions, although sometimes difficult, is often helpful during difficult times.

“It’s important for students to talk to people because bitterness can totally change your personality,” Hall said. “If you let it all build up inside, you can become really depressed. It is best to move on and to be happy.”

Gordon Ogden, a licensed marriage and family counselor, knows that each divorce case brings differfent emotions.

“”Each one [person] is different,”” Ogden said. “”Anytime you run into divorce, it’s unsettling.””

Talking to a counselor or pastor allows bottled up feelings to spill out, rather than building up until they explode.

“”If you’re able to talk with a friend, it’s not as scary,”” Ogden said. “”It gives you a better perspective. You can’t change it [divorce], but it helps you see it realistically.””

Sargent believes divorce can wreck a person emotionally.

“We all need to feel loved and secure,” Sargent said. “Divorce can destroy these feelings. It is vital for your health and happiness to not focus on your thoughts, your own value, etc.”

Seeking solace with others who are enduring similar things may be a good way to cope with the pain.

“No one is alone,” Sargent said. “Be patient and ask God to bring you someone to help carry your burden.”

For more information on divorce, visit www.survive-divorce.com/ or www.divorcePeers.com, or, to talk to a licensed counselor, Gordon Ogden can be reached at the Clovis Evangelical Free Church office by calling 298-8835.

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