Numerous studies have shown that children whose parents divorced are more likely to see their own marriages end in divorce; one national, longitudinal study showed that parental divorce nearly doubled the odds that their children would get divorced (Amato & DeBoer, 2011). Research with engaged and married couples revealed several ways in which parental divorce affected their own likelihood of divorce. The children of divorce generally had a more favorable attitude towards divorce and negative attitudes about marriage as an institution. These attitudes were, in turn, associated with lower commitment to romantic and marital relationships. Even among engaged couples, who reported consistently high levels of relationship commitment, those whose parents had divorced scored relatively lower; even small variations in marital commitment have been shown to have meaningful consequences to couple outcomes(Whitton, Rhoades, Stanley, & Markman, 2008).
Along with lower level of commitment, individuals whose parents divorced reported less confidence in their own ability to maintain a happy marriage; this was especially true for women whose parents had divorced. Engaged daughters of divorced parents seemed to be more ambivalent about making a commitment to a particular person, and reported that they lacked confidence in their ability to make their upcoming marriage last (Cui, Fincham, & Durtschi, 2011; Whitton et al., 2008). Other studies showed that children whose parents divorced had higher levels of marital behavior problems such as getting angry easily, being domineering or critical, having feelings that are easily hurt, refusing to talk to the other spouse, or being moody or jealous. These behavior probl...
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...eling, leading them to rely on their own conscience and moral judgments (Zhai et al., 2008).
Children of Divorce at the Monastery Gate
When these children of divorce knock on the monastery door and request entrance, what are they seeking? Do they view monastic life is somehow more spiritual than the religion of their parents or parishes, or are they seeking firm guidance and beliefs that were lacking in their childhood? When they profess their monastic vows, is their commitment firm or fragile, forever or for as long as it works? When the elders, their abbot or prioress, or their formators are less than perfect, will this arouse skepticism in the entire monastic enterprise? Will formation 's dark phases evoke the loneliness, anguish at parental absence, and emotional pain of their childhood in ways that interfere with their ability to grow spiritually in formation?
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