Friday, May 13, 2011

Dispicable "D"

It was an amazingly fateful day many years ago when I walked towards a man standing tall in a starched black tuxedo with tears in his eyes that met with mine and melted me.  I knew without a doubt that I was about to marry Mr. Right.  What I didn’t know at the time was that he was Mr. Right All The Time.

Love is blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.

The school-rhyme held true for me and Bob Cole, a.k.a, The Man of My Dreams: first comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage…THEN comes reality.

I couldn’t say the exact day it happened, but sometime after the tan faded from our blissful honeymoon-stay on a tropical island and before the birth of our first child, we rolled over in bed, looked at each other and nearly screamed in shock in terror as we realized: “I married a…HUMAN!!!”

Our fights had moved on the spectrum from cute (during the dating days) to killer (post “I Do” days).  At first it was, “Honey, you are so busy working hard so don’t worry about it but I noticed you forgot to take out the trash.  Actually, I thought it was kinda cute because you are my sugar-smoochie-poochie and nothing you do could ever bother me.” Before long though, it was more like, “Don’t forget to take the trash out again or I’ll go all Nick Nolte on you (please see picture below).

The thing is, some days we just don’t FEEL like being married.  We don’t FEEL knock-off-our-socks, sweep-us-off-our-feet, and madly in love with our spouses.  And when these feelings come knocking, they bring with them a very repulsive and deadly friend that goes by the name of Despicable “D”.  

Despicable “D” has a pretty trashy reputation that is known all around the globe. His presence in someone's life has actually shortened their life expectancy* (*see below for all documented stats) In fact, a researcher from Yale concluded that the effect of Despicable “D” in a person’s life is so dangerous, it is almost comparable to smoking a pack a day.

Despicable “D”  has a negative influence on the mental health of both men and woman that often rears it’s ugly head through depression, hostility and negative personal growth and relationships.  As if ravaging the mind and body weren’t enough, the Despicable “D” goes after people’s pocketbooks too.  Sixty percent of those who have been pillaged by the Despicable “D” are under the poverty line.  

Unfortunately, the Despicable “D” is no respecter of persons and it is not beneath him to attack innocent children as well.  These young victims will sometimes earn lower grades and be less pleasant to be around than their peers.  The older victims (teenagers) are more likely to need psychological help with a year of the Despicable “D” visiting their home.

In studies that compare the children whose parents were affected by the Despicable “D” verses children whose parents died, the children from homes affected by the “D” have MORE psychological problems (more on this below also).  The health of children from these homes is also at risk.  Children affected by the Despicable “D” are more likely to experience injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects.  There is more on the Despicable “D”’s rap-sheet of suffering and pain but there’s not enough room in this blog to continue.

Take a breath right now if you need one.  I understand that well since my heart is heavy too as I share these sickening and mind-boggling statistics about divorce, the Despicable “D”.

Divorce isn’t the easy way out of a marriage, it’s the hard way.  May I now suggest something about those feelings that tell us we’d be better of without him/her…the feelings that say we don’t have the same _______ (passion, love, fun, fill in the blank here) as we did when we were dating or first married?  We need to tell our feelings to take a long walk off a short pier.  We need to kick their butt out of our lives when they are shouting BIG lies into our heads.

There are many things that ignite passion in my Irish blood (and my husband is a passionate man as well) but there is nothing we feel MORE passionately about than this: the “D” word will NOT be an option.  The Despicable “D” may come knocking and he can huff and he can puff but he will not blow this house down.  Good ol’ Mr. RIP VanWinkle is the only way the love of my life will ever get rid of me (now don’t get any ideas, my dear).

Best-selling author and marriage guro, Gary Thomas, puts it this way, “If we get married for trivial reasons, we get divorced for trivial reasons.  Compare yourself to Jesus and tell me if you have any time left over to fix anyone else.  Let us purify OURSELVES (not our spouses) (2 Cor. 7:1).”  I love the biblical concept he presents that is quite opposite to the world’s ideology: the MAIN purpose of marriage is not to make us happy but holy.  

To be quite honest, I’m not very excited about this concept when I’m facing off my sweetheart in some all-important debate (that I can never remember later, why is that!?), because I want HIM to make ME happy.  But in those (rare!!!) times that I die to self, entrust the situation over to God in prayer and let His peace fill my heart then I feel God changing me.  He makes me more like Him.  That is HIS goal (1 Peter 2:5) and I’m striving to make it MY goal too (rather slowly and with some backward steps too as my husband could confirm).

We need to face down the Despicable "D" Grumpy-Old-Men style: ornery and stubborn.  Will you be ornery, mean and stubborn about not letting this be an option?  Because if so, it could change your life and the lives of your children forever.

*Note from author: this is a message written with the audience of married people in mind. Knowing that this audience may include people having gone through divorce, I want to encourage you that there is ALWAYS hope and grace in Christ.  Even a dark and difficult situation can be turned around and (my favorite part) gloriously used in His Kingdom!  Also to be noted: there are biblical grounds for divorce and I am not arguing against those as much as the very petty reasons people are separating over these days.  If you are in a situation of ANY kind of abuse, it would be wise to seek immediate help and possibly a separation while you both undergo professional counseling.  With care and prayers, Tara Cole

Life expectancies for divorced men and women are significantly lower than for married people (who have the longest life expectancies). 3
A recent study found those who were unhappy but stay married were more likely to be happy five years later than those who divorced.4
The health consequences of divorce are so severe that a Yale researcher concluded that “being divorced and a nonsmoker is [only] slightly less dangerous than smoking a pack a day and staying married.” 5
After a diagnosis of cancer, married people are most likely to recover, while the divorced are least likely to recover,6 indicating that the emotional trauma of divorce has a long-term impact on the physical health of the body.
Men and women both suffer a decline in mental health following divorce, but researchers have found that women are more greatly affected.7 Some of the mental health indicators affected by divorce include depression, hostility, self-acceptance, personal growth and positive relations with others.
1 Pamela J. Smock, "The Economic Costs of Marital Disruption for Young Women over the Past Two Decades." Demography 30 (1993): 353-371.
2 John Crouch, "Virginia"s No-Fault Divorce Reform Bill," interview with John Crouch and Jim Parmelee on Television Channel 10, Fairfax, VA,
3 Robert Coombs, "Marital Status and Personal Well-Being: A Literature Review," Family Relations 40 (1991):97-102; I. M. Joung, et al., "Differences in Self-Reported Morbidity by Marital Status and by Living Arrangement," International Journal of Epidemiology 23 (1994): 91-97.
4 Linda Waite and Maggie Gallagher, The Case for Marriage (New York: Doubleday, 2000), p. 148.
5 Harold J. Morowitz, "Hiding in the Hammond Report," Hospital Practice (August 1975), p. 39.
6 James S. Goodwin, William C. Hunt, Charles R. Key and Jonathan M. Sarmet, "The Effect of Marital Status on Stage, Treatment, and Survival of Cancer Patients," Journal of the American Medical Association 258 (1987): 3125-3130.
7 Nadine F. Marks and James D. Lambert, "Marital Status Continuity and Change among Young and Midlife Adults: Longitudinal Effects on Psychological Well-being," Journal of Family Issues 19 (1998): 652-686.
5. Studies in the early 1980’s showed that children in repeat divorces earned lower grades and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around. (Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage –Harvard University Press 1981)
6. Teenagers in single-parent families and in blended families are three times more likely to need psychological help within a given year. (Peter Hill “Recent Advances in Selected Aspects of Adolescent Development” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1993)
7. Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems. (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment” Sage Publications, 1988) The DEATH of a parent is LESS devastating to a child than a DIVORCE. (Even I wouldn’t believe this if I didn’t see the statistic myself.)
8. Children of divorce are at a greater risk to experience injury, asthma, headaches and speech defects than children whose parents have remained married. (Dawson, “Family Structure and Children’s Health and Well Being” National Health Interview Survey on Child Health, Journal of Marriage and the Family)


  1. Oh Tara! So true!! Sad that a spouse can be divorced outside of their will, too :( "D" is def. not an easy out! It's a painful, depressing road! And my heart breaks for those who are facing that road.

    p.s. Who was that hottie in the picture of you at the table? Does Bob know you had lunch with someone else? ;) Hehe!

  2. Good point, Shay--for some, this is forced on them in spite of what they may try to do...very sad. Always worse when children are involved too. That is TOO funny, yes, Bob is okay that I went to lunch (honeymoon) with that guy--he knows him well (;


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