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But as psychiatrist Dr Richard Fitzgibbons notes below, the welfare of children is a key reason for trying to save marriages. Not all optimism is merely romantic, just as pessimism is not necessarily realistic. Today marriage and family life are being severely traumatized by the divorce epidemic, the explosion of selfishness which is the major enemy of marital love, and failure to understand and address serious emotional conflicts.

Around one million children a year in the United States are victimised by divorce. The toll from marital conflicts can be severe and debilitating. Selfishness, excessive anger and behaviours that are controlling, emotionally distant and mistrustful cause grave harm to spouses and children. The loyal spouses who are victimized are often incorrectly blamed as being the primary cause of the marital conflict. These conflicts and their resolution through growth in virtues are rarely addressed in the mental health literature on marriage.

In my experience the spouse that initiates divorce often has the most serious psychological difficulties. These are often unconscious wounds they have brought into the marriage. They arise primarily from hurts in the father relationship and secondarily from hurts in the mother relationship, or from giving into selfishness. These unresolved are on the periphery of the deep goodness in each spouse, the goodness that led to strong love, commitment and marital vows. When they are resolved, trust grows and love is regularly rediscovered.

An understanding of the nature of marriage is also essential to safeguarding marital love. At the present time, there are two markedly different views on the marriage. Sociologist Dr Brad Wilcox refers to them as the traditional Judeo-Christian view of marriage and the more prevalent psychological view. Wilcox, B. The Evolution of Divorce. It is characterized by a strong sense of subjective happiness in marriage, usually to be found in material comfort and through an intense, emotional relationship with one's spouse and others.

The role of virtues has been viewed in Western Civilization as being essential in the development of a healthy personality. The mental health field has grown recently to appreciate this approach and a new field, positive psychology, has developed — notably by Dr Martin Seligman and colleagues.

Seligman, M. Character Strengths and Virtues Positive psychology promotes the development of virtues to address and resolve cognitive, emotional, behavioural and personality conflicts, including those in marriage. My own particular contribution to this new field is in the use of forgiveness in treating the excessive anger that is present in most psychiatric disorders and in marital conflicts.

My own clinical experience is supported by research that demonstrates that 70 percent of adult psychological conflicts are the result of unresolved issues from childhood. Most spouses do not deliberately set out to hurt the person they have vowed to honor and love all the days of their lives. The good news is that selfishness, excessive anger; mistrustful, controlling and emotionally distant behaviors, loneliness and insecurity, and the poor communication patterns that harm many marriages can be correctly identified and in many marriages resolved, especially if there is a faith component in the healing process.

But we also have to prevent marital conflict and divorce by educating young adults about how the most common relationship stresses can be uncovered and resolved. Singles can then be more hopeful about having a successful marriage, and the retreat from marriage — itself partly attributable to the experience of divorce in families — can be reversed. Change is difficult for most of us and grief around those changes is inevitable. If you have children the grief is compounded as they too will have to deal with the changes that divorce brings about.

As a parent, we not only grieve the loss of our own hopes and dreams, we also grieve for the pain and loss that our children experience. Healing the Love Wound: Relationships After Divorce is a book that began as a weekend workshop designed to help the participants move through the trauma and grief that comes with divorce.

It now is available to everyone who needs to find some peace, information and healing as they travel across the bridge from married to single again. The desire to rebuild a new life with another partner is a natural and strong drive for most of us. This book takes the reader through the grief process as it unfolds in real life. It talks about the passages that most people go through on the way to healing their heart after their divorce by helping define the kind of relationships that develop at every developmental stage of the healing process.

It helps guide its reader through the maze of questions that are most frequently asked when dating begins again and identifies the feelings that so often fill the newly divorced with confusion. Written in simple, short and easy to understand chapters followed by a short recap of the information in it entitled Keep In Mind allows the reader the ability to refresh understanding of the material without having to re-read the entire chapter.

Healing the Love Wound is helpful, easy and inspired writing. Using the experiences of hundreds of divorced individuals, it shares personal experiences, wisdom and points the way toward healing. It may be the book youve been looking for to help you through those tough times!

1. Mistrust in Past Relationships

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