Father Hunger, Premarital Sex, and Divorce Pt. 1

To set the stage for this important topic please answer the following questions:

Question #1: Based on the number of sexual partners before marriage, which woman is least likely to divorce.

  • 0 sex partners before marriageselena-places-rhte-ring-on-gregs-finger-by-greg-robleto
  • 1 sex partner
  • 2 sex partners
  • 3-8 sex partners
  • 9+ sex partners

If you picked zero, you’re correct.1 The divorce rate for female virgins is about 6%1 Having one partner was close because the woman tends to marry him—even though premarital sex with even one partner significantly increases the odds of divorce.1 Also a female virgin or one who marries her one partner is likely to attend church regularly—which greatly reduces her chance of divorce.

Question #2: Based on the number of sexual partners before marriage, which woman is most likely to experience divorce.*

  • 0 sex partners before marriagedivorce-by-gerard-van-der-leun
  • 1 sex partner
  • 2 sex partners
  • 3-8 sex partners
  • 9+ sex partners

9+ is incorrect. 3-8 is wrong too. The answer is two. Why?

Nicholas Wolfinger, author of Understanding the Divorce Cycle, and coauthor of Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love, and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos, writes, “my best guess rests on the notion of over-emphasized comparisons.1 Basically the woman mentally compares her current husband to her previous lover which opens the door to doubts and temptations.

So where does Father Hunger fit in?

Parental divorce, Father Hunger behaviors which often include multiple sexual partners are commonly linked in research. Writing about the loss of fathers, Dr. Edward Kruk states, “girls manifest an object hunger for males, and in experiencing the emotional loss of their fathers egocentrically as a rejection of them, become susceptible to exploitation by adult men.2 Dr. Beverly Rodgers writes, “Many of these girls lose their virginity at a younger age and have higher rates of promiscuity.”3

What can I do  about father hunger?

If your parents are divorced,

  1. Learn about Father Hunger. Adult Children of Divorced Parents by Beverly and Tom Rodgers, Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard, and Longing for Daddy by Monique Robinson are strong books on this topic.Woman and Bible - Prayer a Powerful Weapon abcdz2000 FCC [A, $, @]
  2. Learn what the Bible says about God as our father. For example:
  • Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.4
  • A father to the fatherless,a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.5
  • How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them.6
  1. Regardless of what your past may look like, commit to honoring God with your life today.

 
What can proactively help to head off father hunger?

We’ll look at 19 things that can be done next time.

 

*figures are for divorces prior to the year 2000. After the year 2000 2 partners ranked slightly below 9+.
1 http://family-studies.org/counterintuitive-trends-in-the-link-between-premarital-sex-and-marital-stability/
2 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201205/father-absence-father-deficit-father-hunger
3 Beverly and Tom Rodgers, Adult Children of Divorced Parents; Making Your Marriage Work.(San Jose, CA: Resource Publications, Inc, 2002) 11.
4Psalm 27:10, NLT
5Psalm 68:5, NIV
6Psalm 139:17, NLT, 1996

Images
Selena places the ring on Greg’s finger by Greg Robleto
Divorce by Gerard Van der Leun
Woman and Bible – Prayer a Powerful Weapon by abcdz2000

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Good News for Adults with Divorced Parents

Though adults with divorced parents are up to 200% more likely to divorce than their peers from intact families,1 two books offer us good news.  One is The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn. The other is Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship.

Ddaughters-of-divorce-bk-gaspardaughters of Divorce was written by researcher Terry Gaspard and her daughter, Tracy Clifford—both ACDs. It’s a bold, unpolitically correct look at the impact of divorce on daughters. Gaspard’s purpose was to “create a guide that helps daughters of any age overcome the unique legacy of divorce, so they can establish healthy, happy, and long-lasting relationships.”2

With ample research, stories from those she interviewed, and personal reflections from Gaspard and her daughter, Daughters of Divorce is a practical and hopeful book for any woman with divorced parents.

Their seven steps to a successful relationship begin with the sobering and daunting task of restoring our faith in love.3 After reading this goal I asked, “Do we even realize we’ve lost our faith in love?” Gaspard answers this with numerous examples of clients and others who have done just that. Some realizing they have killed Cupid. Others chasing, but never catching him.

A major strength of Gaspard’s work is how she peels back the layers of lies women with divorced parents believe and systematically leads them on a path toward overcoming those lies. While heartily recommending this powerful book, be advised that her views of self-esteem are not rooted in the fact that God created us, therefore our worth is intrinsic—regardless of how we may feel.

The other good news comes from The Good News About Marriage.4 good-news-about-marriage-bk-feldhahnFeldhahn soundly debunks the 50%-of-marriages-end-in-divorce myth, and offers new insights into marriage that have gone unreported by most media.

For example, did you know that nearly 80% of married couples report being happy in their marriages? Have you heard that attending church regularly can lower your chance of divorce by 25-50%?6 Probably not. The Good News About Marriage is full of marriage encouraging and marriage strengthening information like this.

It’s great news for adult children of divorce (who tend to be fearful of divorce) that things are much better on the marriage front than we’ve been led to believe. For those who desire solid relationships, but doubt it’s possible, Gaspard and Feldhahn declare, FULFILLING RELATIONSHIPS AND MARRIAGES ARE POSSIBLE…FOR EVERYONE!!

 

Why Cohabitation Hurts Guys Long-term

From time to time there is a flurry of articles on cohabitation vs. marrying. The latest batch mostly claim there is little or no difference between the two. Furthermore, their logic suggests that people eventually marry anyway, so it’s no big deal. But is this the whole picture?living together tiled both

A recent article titled, “Is Marriage the Only answer to Happiness1 was unusual in that it showed both sides of the coin. The upside was “Cohabiting provides people with companionship, intimacy, and everyday assistance just like marriage.”1

Butthe report found that cohabiting relationships tend to be less stable than marriage and that couples would break up within two years.”1

More interesting was what came next. “It (the research) also indicated that the benefits of intimate residential relationships persisted indefinitely for men, but for women the benefits of living together, whether married or not, declined after the first year.” Plenty of research would not include married women in this statement, but I’ve addressed this in other blogs.

The question is, when a man lives with a woman without marrying her, does he do as well as his married peers? Though the experts might differ,  the Bible is clear he doesn’t. However, the reason may surprise you.Couple moving boxes with annoyed woman

Proverbs 27 17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” One way men are “sharpened” is by advice from their wife. Granted, no husband enjoys hearing “truth” from his spouse. (Well, maybe one—there’s always one.) But women were created to help men be better—dare I say—to be more Christ-like.

Now, before I lose all you guys look at Genesis 2. Man is roaming around the Adam and Eve by Lawrence OP 25Garden of Eden. Life is good: sleeping when he wants, burping whenever he wants, not cleaning up after himself, and naming the animals without being told he was doing it wrong. But God looks down and for the first time says, “It is not good.”2 Then God states, “I will make a helper suitable for him.”2 Eve shows up, and the rest is history.

God knew Adam would never be all God desired without guidance from his loving wife, Eve. And this is a big reason why cohabitation hurts men. When iron sharpens iron there are sparks. A woman who doesn’t have the security of a wedding ring is never going to push the envelope and tell the guy what he doesn’t want to hear. Not when there is the risk of him leaving because of “all the nagging.” And her fear increases when kids are added.

Consequently, the guy Sonnet 116 - Marriage of true minds by Robert Chealb 25doesn’t get sharpened the way God intended—never reaches his full God-potential. Hebrews 12:11 says, No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”I’ve been married for 32 years. God has used my wife to “sharpen” me countless times. Did I like it? No. Was it in my best interest? Yes.

So guys, be the man she knows you can be and “put a ring on it.” You’ll be taking the first steps toward receiving blessings from God you can’t imagine!

For more on this subject, click here for articles on myths people believe about living together.

 

1 Is marriage the only answer to happiness?, Han Nguyen, Jan 2, 2016,  http://www.smh.com.au/national/is-marriage-the-only-answer-to-happiness-20151230-glwsu2.html.
2Genesis 2:18
3NIV

Photos
-Couple with boxes – http-//www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/comment/regulars/briefing/article820396.ece
-Adam and Eve by Lawrence OP
-Rings – Sonnet 116 – Marriage of true minds by Robert Chealb

Fighting the Fear of Getting Married

A recent Huffington Post article brought to mind a troubling conversation I had with a teenager with divorced parents. Our otherwise mundane dialog transformed when the topic of marriage arose.

I’m never going to get married.” 
Surprised by the finality of the statement I asked, “Why?”
After a thoughtful pause, “Well, maybe I’ll get married, but I’ll never have kids.”
Again, probing gently, “Why not?”
Because if the marriage didn’t work out, I’d never want my kids to suffer what I went through.”

Does this conversation speak from your heart? Better not to marry than to fail at it! Or is the fear subtle like the example in Brittany Wong’s article about an adult child of divorce named Maegan?

Maegan’s story of parents divorcing and remarrying is pretty common. However, it seems her folks made great efforts to minimize the impact of the divorce. Except for one paragraph, Maegan could be the poster child for kids that survived parental divorce well. But in that rogue paragraph, this beautiful, intelligent, and vibrant individual describes her view on marriage.

19th Sept 5 years of mariage by scribbletaylorI’ve realized that some of my views on relationships were definitely influenced by my parents’ divorce. I don’t value marriage at all. I have no desire to marry and do not see it as something to aspire to. I don’t think I ever dreamed of my wedding day like they say little girls do. This is not to say I don’t think you can be in a committed relationship but I don’t find marriage any more special than a committed relationship. It could all be because of the divorce or it could just be me.”1

Unfortunately (in my view), Maegan speaks for millions of her peers. I know. I’ve spoken with many of them. But, truth be told, the “I’ll never get married and I’m good with that” bravado often masks the unvoiced regret that wants to say, “but I wish I could marry. I’m just too afraid.

So how can we overcome this fear?adult children of divorced parents cropped

  • First, admit it. Stop denying that you really want to get married, but are afraid of it collapsing. And this is true for guys too. The Bible says, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.”2 But that is not the view of many guys.
  • Second, learn more about your fears. The fear of marriage is often embedded in the fears of inadequacy and abandonment.
    The Rodger’s book is a good resource on these issues.
  • Third, study what makes marriages work. Talk to couples who have weathered the marriage storms for 30 or more years. Take them out to lunch and ask them. Go to a marriage seminar like “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” with Dr. Gary Chapman.The Marriage You've Always Wanted
  • Lastly, don’t believe the lie that all or most marriages fail. They don’t!  But marriages that last require a commitment to learning, loving, respecting, sacrificing, and submission to God’s design for marriage.

==================================================

1 Brittany Wong, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-it-looks-like-when-you-really-put-your-kids-first-after-divorce_5612a61fe4b0af3706e16e1c. Posted: 10/05/2015 03:43 PM EDT
2 Proverbs 18:22, NLT

Images
Engagement Rings by Valshak Suresh cropped
19th Sept 5 years of marriage by scribbletaylor

Battling the Fear of Commitment in Relationships

For those seeking a healthy permanent relationship, Elisabeth LaMottes’ book, Overcoming Your Parents’ Divorce takes an insightful and hopeful look at a overcoming your parents' divorce bk LaMotte 50dating/relationship environment that is made even more complicated by our parents’ divorce. It’s strength lies in its almost exclusive focus on the fear of commitment—an issue many other books only give a passing mention.

Though enlightening for the single individual, the book is a worthy read for married adult children of divorce because it explains many of the challenges you probably experienced on your way to matrimony.

Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, an adult child of divorce and therapist in Washington DC, shares many stories from clients who struggled with committing to a relationship—as a direct result of their parents’ split. At times heartbreaking, but scarily applicational, her book always points us to the potential of a positive outcome. The overtone of the book reminded me of Psalm 61:2, “When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

TEngagement Rings by Valshak Suresh 40he book’s approach is summed up by her statement, “In spite of the multiple difficulties that flowed from growing up with divorced parents, it is worth noting some of the positive things that subjects say about their parents’ divorce.”

One of the ways she illustrates this is with generous glimpses from her own life that was fraught with relationship and life challenges brought on by her parents’ breakup. However, despite the rocky road, she has achieved a happy marriage and family.

The chapters in her book gently probe our own histories and faulty attitudes as we watch LaMotte interact with clients that could easily be us. In “Do You Choose Candy Bars Instead of Apples,” LaMotte explores the trap of choosing the sweet but non-nutritious partner versus the individual who is good for us. “Do You Prefer Renting Over Buying” challenges our unconscious tendency to treat our relationships as fleeting because its safer than taking the risk of having a stable relationship end.

Though my dating history is anemic, and I married my only real girlfriend, many of the fears and lies LaMotte reveals in chapter after chapter plagued me during high school, hearts red and white 50college—and well into my marriage. But,  ever hopeful, she has an interesting way of trudging through the muck to find the gold nuggets.

Since many adults with divorced parents are stuck in the fear-of-commitment muck,  LaMotte’s book is a strong tool for those who want a solid relationship, but are secretly afraid of it at the same time.

Overcoming Your Parents’ Divorce is a secular book, but has minimal language and no graphic sexual discussions.

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Heart Image: Engagement Rings by Valshak Suresh

Are Kids Harmed if Their Parents Live Together Instead of Marrying?

Because living together is seen as safer than marriage for many adult children of divorce, I’ve written about cohabitation previously in an effort to dispel the myths that accompany cohabitation (see below.) Today a Huffington Post article by Terry Gaspard caught my attention. Her article “Will Living Together Without Marriage Damage Kids?” gives a stark look at the truth and includes some very scary information. A couple of examples include:heart with keys png

  • U of M research shows two thirds of cohabitating couples in the US will break up before their child’s tenth birthday.1
  • “Compared to marriage, cohabitation furnishes less commitment, stability, sexual fidelity, and safety for romantic partners and their children.”1
  • “Many women view living together as a step towards marriage while many men see it as a test drive.”1

Many of those who decide to live together do so to avoid divorce.Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, ‘You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”2 Gaspard’s article gives truth that must be considered if adult children of divorce hope to avoid repeating the cycle of divorce they dread. Click here to read the full article.

Check out my previous ACD articles on Cohabitation:

1 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-gaspard-msw-licsw/living-together-without-marriage_b_6520118.html
2John 8:31-32, New Living Translation

“Advantages” to Living together – He’ll Get the Marriage Bug (Cohabitation Part 5)

When the topic of male/female differences arises, the cliché factory is hard pressed to keep up. Men are from Mars—women are from Venus. Men won’t ask for directions. Women speak twice as much as men. Guys use love to get sex—gals use sex to get love. Guys marry hoping she won’t change—gals marry hoping he will change. And on it goes. Some have factual roots. Others are easy fodder for MythBusters. However, when cohabitation is being considered, separating fact from fiction is critical. One confirmed fact is men and women approach living together differently.Groom getting away cropped

Meg Jay, in a NY Times article, wrote, “Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment.”1That may not seem like a significant bump in the road, but the findings of the National Marriage Project is a sinkhole. They list ten reasons why men won’t commit.  (Basically, why living with a guy usually fails to lead him to the altar.)

The top 5 were:

  1. Men can get sex without the ring.
  2. Men enjoy the social benefits of a wife without the ring—sex partner, lowered expenses, housekeeping
  3. Men want to avoid divorce to protect their finances/assets.
  4. Men want to wait until they are older to have kids.
  5. Men fear that marriage will require too many changes and compromises.2

Wow! In any other setting, the guy would be run out of town. Why do we play dumb here?

hands with wedding ringsThe bottom line is there are far better ways to spend the 18 – 22 months you’ll lose when the live-in relationship fails. Oddly enough, you and God have the same goal; a strong stable marriage. Will you trust Him enough to do it His way? When you look at all the facts, you’ll find that God’s plan is still the best.

 

1Meg Jay, “The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage,” April, 14, 2012,    www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/the-downside-of-cohabiting-before-marriage.html?_r=5&pagewanted=all& , (June, 9, 2014)
2Mike and Harriet McManus, “Living Together; Myths, Risks, and Answers, (New York: Howard Books, 2008), 21.