Why a Struggling Relationship is the Biggest Risk Factor for Children

Picture

By Ariel Minter

Going through high school and college, I felt as though I came from a rare form of home life. The fact that my parents were still married was more unusual than usual. 

Just over 50% of marriages end in divorce, according to the CDCs latest report from 2011. This doesn’t even count how many marriages stay together, albeit unhappily. I’m not sure if someone has done a study on how many marriages report genuine happiness, but my bet is that those numbers are dishearteningly low. 

Let’s assume that the reason why these numbers are so high is because a lot of people misunderstand the commitment behind what a marriage or successful coupleship means. This misunderstanding can get extremely specific and has a wide range; i.e. one partner was horribly abusive or, on the opposite end, Jane Doe just “fell out of love” with her partner. So they end the relationship.


Unfortunately, marriage isn’t a box full of all the beautiful things people have always longed for. It’s messy and complicated and to some degree, we are all hurt. Hurting people hurt people

Divorce and separation are extremely difficult when it is just between two partners, but when those partners have children it gets exponentially more complicated. It impacts every facet of life: financial, emotional, physical, etc. 

The impacts this separation or divorce has on children is extensive and leads to a plethora of effects:

  • Children from divorced or separated homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school.2
  • Kids whose parents divorce or separate are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.3
  • Because the custodial parent’s income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.4
  • Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.5
  • Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress.8 And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.9
  • In a culture that has become aware and engaged in the conversation on becoming healthier, I am surprised that so many (regardless of children) choose divorce or separation without exhausting all possible options. 

    The argument is clear enough to me. Many people who are considering divorce or separation often ask this question: “What is worse? To stay in an environment where the struggling relationship is hard to conceal and the issues are only continuing or escalating, or separate into an environment that is peaceful and safe?”

    It would seem that the most logical thing to do would be to terminate the relationship, so the child or children wouldn’t be exposed to the disintegration of the relationship. But why, when the evidence is so strong in how this separation impacts the child(ren), is it socially acceptable to call it quits without really trying every other option?

    Divorce can be the most appropriate action to take when there are forms of abuse (i.e. physical, emotional, sexual, verbal), however recovery is possible for all of these things if both parties are willing to get the help they need. 

    Interestingly enough, most people who chose to divorce or separate said it was because they simply “fell out of love” with their partner. I guess that’s what “irreconcilable differences” might mean. 

    The thing is, Passion Provokers has a 97% success rate in keeping couples happily together. Even if they are in the process of separation or divorce. 

    In a society where more than half of married couples get divorced, 97% success is huge. The reason why that number is so high is because we work with individuals and couples who are really wanting to try. Success in a relationship is an active choice. If you are choosing that, anything is possible. 

    Choosing to get the help and save the relationship will protect future generations from experiencing pain and dysfunction that is 100% preventable

    Not only does it prevent said pain and dysfunction, becoming healthier in a relationship will manifest health in your child(ren). Our goal is to create healthy individuals, couples, and families. The healthier you are, the healthier your children (or future children) will be. 

    This is a domino effect that has the potential to change the world. 

    The coaches at Passion Provokers offer a free 60-minute consultation. If you, your relationship, or your children are struggling, we can offer dynamic help

    Click HERE for more information on the sources notated above. 

    How to Have Sexual Passion (the Real Answer!)

    Picture

    By Jami Keller

    At Passion Provokers we are dedicated to helping all relationships be successful. Sometimes we get phone calls from those that are looking for something a little more provocative, because of how some people understand our company name. 

    One of the most popular article on the Psychology Today website is “It doesn’t hurt to look, does it?” and is about a study of college students in long term relationships and their use of pornography. 

    Author of the blog, Heidi Reeder, shared some of the study results, since the researchers were curious how pornography impacted relationships and what happened when they stopped.


    The people who eliminated or significantly reduced their viewing of pornographic material were significantly more committed to their relationships than those who continued to view the material. These results held true for both men and women.” 

    After struggling with this issue in my earlier years, I strongly believe this industry not only objectifies women, but contributes to the horrors of sex slavery and human traffickingEven if you are “just looking”, it’s adding to the problem. 

    Because of the evidence produced by Heidi Reeder, it only leads to the conclusion that pornography almost always negatively impacts relationships. Beyond the evidence, I believe it always negatively impacts the possibility of real sexual intimacy. I understand that this is a debated issue, and it is possible you may not agree with that viewpoint.

    Pornography takes the most intimate parts of your relationship into a comparison that is not realistic or healthy. There are those who say they enjoy participating and those that promote it as relationship help. Sure, it is likely that it will get you and your partner “in the mood”, but watching others engage in intimacy is not a long-term solution. 

    Like a band-aid for cancer, it will only help for a short amount of time. At Passion Provokers, we have yet to see a case where the use of pornography increases intimacy for the relationship in the long-term.

    The benefits of growing a sexually and emotionally healthy relationship are endless, and in the 20+ years we have worked with couples, pornography has only limited the emotional growth for both partners involved. 

    Emotionally and sexually healthy relationships are becoming increasingly rare. We are witnessing many of the “boomer generation”  divorcing their longtime partners at an astonishing rate. Astonishing because it used to be an anomaly for anyone to divorce after the age of 50.

    In a recent CNN article by Greg Clary and Athena Jones, they shared that the rates for divorce in persons over the age of 50 is much higher than most people think:

    “Divorce rates among couples over 50 have doubled in the last 20 years, according to a study by Bowling Green State University. In 1990, fewer than one in 10 people who divorced were 50 or older. In 2009, that figure was one in four.”

    The article also indicated that those of the “Boomer” generation are beginning to look online for relationship interactions. This suggests that since divorce is now more culturally acceptable, they not only use that acceptance, but are quickly turning to the internet to find other relationships.

    Sexual satisfaction is a huge reason for these high numbers. According to a recent post by Mari DeAngelis: 

    Boomers are the least satisfied with sex of any age group, including people over age 65. What’s going on with the love and peace generation and what can Boomers do to light up that old spark? 

    Here we have an entire generation that is choosing to separate or divorce, and the evidence strongly suggests that it is because of lack of a healthy sexual and emotional relationship.

    Baby Boomers are divorcing + they are the least sexually happy generation + like other generations, they are turning to the internet to fill this sexual & emotion void = an obvious problem with communication, intimacy, and passion.

    The topic of pornography and whether or not it is a clinical diagnosis is heavily debated, and current “pornography addiction” is specifically not listed on the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders). 

    “This study investigated the prevalence of problematic Internet pornography viewing, how it is problematic, and the psychological processes that underlie the problem in a sample of 84 college-age males using an anonymous online survey. It was found that approximately 20%–60% of the sample who view pornography find it to be problematic depending on the domain of interest. In this study, the amount of viewing did not predict the level of problems experienced. Meditational analyses suggest that the manner in which an individual interacts with urges to view pornography may be related to whether viewing is problematic or not.”

    In a self-reported and anonymous study, 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. 60% of the women who answered the survey admitted to having significant struggles with lust; 40% admitted to being involved in “sexual sin” in the past year; and 20% of the church-going female participants struggle with looking at pornography on an ongoing basis. For more information on this particular study, you can click HERE

    Another report stated that more than 80% of christian men view porn regularly.

    Our take on this statistic is that it is not helping relationships. The fact that people are self reporting an addiction to it tells us that it is secret, and they would like to stop. It is also under-reported, meaning the numbers are actually higher. 

    Those particular studies are based in the Christian community, and in our research we have found that pornography use is often higher in the Christian community. 

    At Passion Provokers, we strongly believe that a little spice can make the bedroom a more fun and interesting place. We are advocates for exploring what that means for your relationship, but we highly discourage any form of pornography because of the damage it does to the emotional and sexual health of your relationship. 

    We have a REAL solution to introduce passion back into your sex life!

    The real issue around sexuality is the quality of the emotional relationship. Being able to have an open and honest conversation about your sex life is extremely important. Learning how to have this conversation is not difficult and can be done even if just one person knows how. 

    We call this the sexual emotional loop. Those that have a committed relationship with a growing emotional connection report the strongest satisfaction with sex. And this sexual satisfaction does not need new and different “techniques”, pills, or outside stimulation. The best sex happens in your brain and heart, and the other parts are just a bonus. 

    At Passion Provokers we have seen thousands of people improve the quality and quantity of all their intimacies, by feeding the connections and investing in their long term relationship. 

    Those few who were not willing to take a path to securing their long-term relationship have mostly repeated the same frustrations with a new partner, having thrown away years of investment with the pe. Most often, the partner you have chosen to build a life with holds the key to unlocking the sexual intimacy you desire. 

    But, even better than that, your partner holds the keys for unlocking a legacy of love that goes well beyond sexuality. 

    Are you a Keeping your Privacy Sacred? 

    Picture

    By Ariel Minter

    A couple years ago I took a philosophy class at Boise State. It was sort of a test run: there were 5 professors, and about 130 of us would meet once a week in a lecture hall. The first lecture hall, the 5 professors (if I remember correctly, three of them were Political Science professors, and the other two were Philosophy professors) split us into 5 separate groups, each group paired with one of the professors.  I loved it because once a week we had a lecture, and the other two times we would meet were group discussion based. 

    The professor I was matched with had a fabulous accent, scruffy beard, untamed eyebrows, and never wore clothing that matched. To be honest with you, I don’t remember his name. But I immediately liked him.

    Throughout the course of this class, we were studying specific philosophers from the past and up to our current time. The week before we had our finals, we were to the 20th century. Our discussion was based on theories from George Grant (November 13, 1918 – September 27, 1988), who is a well known philosopher from Canada. He had some ahead-of-his-time thoughts on the integrity of family and how our culture was heading towards a place of voyeuristic judgement. 

    The overview of his ideas were simple: when you allow entities that do not know you to have access to your life, the integrity of a family unit loses value. 

    This particular conversation sticks out in my mind so clearly, I can remember exactly how I felt as we were discussing this. 

    As the professor walked around the room with his funky eyebrows, zip-off khakis, and an orange windbreaker, he asked us “How many of you have a Facebook? Or Tweet-er {several kids call out “Twitter…not tweet-er}?” All of us raised our hands. All. of. us. 

    He went on “Whenever I bring this up, someone starts talking about that one person who is constantly using their social profiles to share very intimate details about their life. We all have one or two of those kinds of people…..I have those in real life though, not virtually, because you know, why would I have Tweet-er?” He paused, and we filled the silence with a polite chuckle, not caring to correct him again.

    “Seriously. I have several of those kinds of people in my real life. But you know what the difference really is?” he said. We are silent, waiting for him to answer his own question. “The difference is that I know these people. So, it’s okay for them to occasionally tell me all about their private life. And, most of the time, I care. And I give them my two cents. And we move on. So, what is the real difference?” [more silence] “Anyone, anyone? Bueller, Bueller…..” We all laugh again. 

    A kid in the front row gives it a shot “Because it’s your real life?” 

    The professor responds “Yes and no. In my real life, there are people that I care enough about that I not only listen to them but I value who they are and I am able to be compassionate. When you, or your friends, or someone you’re just ‘friends’ with on the internet, share something extremely personal, you’re sharing it with people who don’t give a rats ass about you. Sure, they care because they want to know what is going on in your life, but they won’t hesitate to judge or criticize you for it. This criticism is often behind closed doors: to their girlfriend or boyfriend, to themselves, to their roommate, etc. But that criticism lacks compassion and empathy, and when you make yourself vulnerable to people who don’t give a rats ass, you’re inadvertently destroying the integrity of what family really means.”

    We all let this sink in. Even I like to think that I don’t share or expose parts of who I am on social media, but several posts and tweets came to mind, and I was suddenly embarrassed and aware. 

    The thing is, we are all judgmental to a certain degree. When we choose to be voyeuristic without knowing or caring about that particular person, all we end up doing is judging them. We live in a day in age where most people are extremely exposed, therefore setting themselves up for criticism from people who really don’t “give a rats ass”. 

    I didn’t go home and delete my Facebook or deactivate my Instagram, but I was suddenly hyper-aware of what I shared. I was also hyper-aware of the fact that I was being a judgmental voyeur. And it wasn’t as if I was intending on being that way, it just is a simple cause and effect when you have access to details of someones life that you really don’t care that much about. 

    The thoughts of George Grant have a huge meaning. The core of society, of morals, of the goodness that people can create and promote, starts in the family. When a family is exposed and vulnerable (even if it just one or two family members) to those who don’t really know or care about them, others who don’t care will judge, and in that judgement a type of corruption takes place.

    If we take away compassion and empathy, there is only room for judgement. Very few of us have been chosen to be judges on this earth, and I’m not even convinced that some of those people have the right.

    Overall, I think it always comes back to the basics; if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. To anyone. Even if it is your best friend, your lover, to yourself, or your neighbor. And protect your privacy. Share the intimate sides of your life to only those who care about you, because that is where you will receive compassion and empathy. 

    Everyday I have to work extremely hard on not going back to that place of judgmental voyeurism. I work extremely hard on being compassionate and empathetic. And I work extremely hard on remaining private when it comes to the most intimate things in my life. 

    Can you relate to this? Are you suddenly “hyper-aware” of how this plays a part in your life? Join the conversation: you can leave comments here, anonymously or not.