The POD: Making a Difference, Achieving Our Goal
by Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW
I have shared our vision of PEOPLE OF DIVORCE – The Association with so many. These are not only POD, but also professionals from the business community: investors, lawyers, marketers, and the like. Most people have a similar, initial response, “Great idea, well-needed, huge underserved population.” Most of them then ask, “How are you going to be successful in making a difference in the lives of PODs when no one else has?” This is a valid and useful question.
The most important piece of the answer is critical to understand. “I” cannot; but “WE” can. No one person can create significant change in the relationship patterns of POD. But, as a mass, we hold the potential. Why? Because people with a common goal can create quantum change in the world, whereas an isolated individual cannot.
As a membership in communication, we will share and learn what works and what does not work to end dysfunctional relationship patterns and employ effective relationship patterns. But, hold on, other “experts,” (i.e. the Dr. Phil’s of the world) have all had their crack at it. No “one” has made a difference in the trends. In mass, through networking, ongoing communication, and support of our membership, “WE” can.
OK, you are reading this thinking, “How, Bill?”
Here is an example…
In a Huffington Post blog of January 23, 2012 entitled “The Shocking Truth for Thirty Percent of Divorced Women,” author Jennifer Gauvain summarizes her research findings which suggest that 30% of American divorced women surveyed reported that, on the day they were saying “I DO,” they already clearly knew that their marriage would fail. Is this a shocking notion? No. Is the percentage shocking? Yes! Let’s hypothesize that Jennifer’s study is flawed. Even at 1/3 error rate results in a 20% rate – still shocking!
I have this crazy idea that some of you reading this right now are thinking, “Yeah, I’m one of the people who did that.” OK, then!
We can imagine that the problem is even bigger – what percentage of the males are doing the same thing? We know for sure some. Let’s conservatively say 10%. Then, we can ask what percent of these men and women were a “couple?” Let’s surmise not too many.
As a critical thinking membership, we can hypothesize that 25% of American marriages include at least one person with a someday divorce emblazoned in their thinker. We already know, from Jennifer’s research, that such thinking magically results in actual divorce.
As an Association, let’s form an opinion about this. Let’s boldly declare to ourselves and the world that people getting married with such thoughts is a very bad idea.
Now, we have a position from which, as individuals and as a group, we can act. What if, as a massive group, we can use networking and political influence to significantly reduce the number of men and women who do that? How could we do that?
The PEOPLE OF DIVORCE – The Association would declare a rule for all people about to be married.
Section A: No person should get married when they are having serious thoughts, with valid reasons, that their pending marriage will probably fail.
Section B: A person scheduled to be married must tell others, including but not limited to their fiancé, parents, and their best friend that they are having those thoughts. An additional party to tell should be any pre-marriage coach (i.e. clergy member, etc.)
Section C: No person having such thoughts should say “I DO” unless the “reasons” for the thoughts can be invalidated. Clergy and judges should not and will not marry people who present such thoughts unless change of those beliefs can be achieved.
Good rule? You betcha! If our stats and hypotheses are valid, effective rule compliance could potentially reduce the divorce rate in America by up to 25%. Wow!
Next question, how do we generate rule compliance? As an Association, we pole our members for action plan ideas. We come up with things like this…
- We ask our members to commit to “the rule.” Personally, I have no angst about making this promise. Do you? If we have 1 million POD members unmarried, stats suggest 75% of them will act on getting married again. If the numbers prove out stats, 187,000 of those folks would be having the “I think this will fail” cognitions as they approach their next marriage. If those members follow “the rule,” by definition, 187,000 divorces are prevented.
- Next we commit to asking our children who are getting engaged if they are having such thoughts and we get them to commit to not go forward with a marriage with such thoughts active. An unreasonable parental action or request? No, more a responsibility on our part.
- Next, we publicize “the rule.” We invest as an Association in 10-15 second radio ads. Message sounds like this: “Getting married soon? Having serious thoughts that your marriage will fail? 25% of people getting married do. If you are, pause. Be honest. Get the support you need. A public service message of PEOPLE OF DIVORCE – The Association. Go to www.peopleofdivorce.com.
- In working with numerous clergy, I have been told that many religious based pre-marriage programs are not designed to identify couples who are at high risk of failure to the point of delaying or refusing to conduct the marriage ceremony. Some programs do have this as a goal. As an Association and as individual members of The POD, we speak with our church clergy and send literature about Jennifer’s research to all churches that offer pre-marriage programs. We ask our pastors and church leaders who quality control pre-marriage programs to ask couples if either are having such thoughts, counsel individuals who are to seriously address them, share them with their fiancé, and delay the wedding until relationship confidence can be restored or it is determined “not a match.”
I am confident that The POD membership will come up with even better ideas to act on this.
Delusional fantasy? No, common sense. Impossible to accomplish? No, doable. This is just one of many good changes we will champion.
Are you with me?
Did this blog provide information that will cause you to take action? LEAVE A REPLY below and tell us more. Does this blog provide information that will help you achieve your goal of never divorcing again? Will you post further comments or ask questions about this blog on The POD social network? Is this blog relevant to your life experience as a person of divorce? Let us know, below…