"God does not lead the soul by shaming it, just as a good parent would not shame his or her child. It doesn't work anyway. We have all done it at times, and if we were raised in a punitive way our selves, we still tend to think that is the way to motivate people--by shaming them or making them feel guilty." Richard Rohr
Most if not all of the struggles, mental and emotional difficulties, relationship problems that I see in my counseling practice are because of shame. The road back from shame is long and difficult. We must learn to love one another and love never includes shame.
What are the consequences of shame? We stop trusting, we shut down or attack, self protect and are deeply afraid of ever being vulnerable again. We become defensive, vigilant, believing we are flawed and patently unlovable. Shame is like being in a box that we can't see to find our way out of and are too afraid to even try. What can open this box? Only love, unconditional, sacrificial love that breaks through our defenses and says "You are cherished more than you can imagine. You are more important to me than I am to myself." Jesus said: "Love one another as I have loved you."
Get Married and Stay Married
Marriage is one of the best economic decisions you can make. “Less marriage means less income and more poverty,” says Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution, who has linked as much as half of the income inequality in America to changes in family composition: single-parent families (mostly those with a high-school degree or less) are getting poorer while married couples (with educations and dual incomes) are increasingly well-off. (The Economist, June 2011).
It also pays to stay married. There are numerous reports, studies, and statistics that show the devastating affect divorce has on families and children. The devastation is across every facet of life; physical health, financial wealth, emotional and psychological well being. No part of life is unaffected. Here are some examples:
Studies show that women experiencing divorce face roughly a 30 percent decline in the standard of living they enjoyed while married and men show a 10 percent decline. The consistency of this finding caused one researcher to conclude: “However ‘prepared’ for marital disruption women increasingly may be, they are not prepared in ways sufficient to cushion the economic cost.” 1
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.
Need I say more? Get married and stay married!