January is typically the month where we see record cold snaps all across the country. It also happens to be the most popular month for marriages to experience a deep freeze.
According to eDivorcePapers.com, January has the dubious distinction of being “Divorce Month,” as, statistically, it has the most divorce filings.
It kind of puts a whole new spin on that lovely holiday tune … “Baby, it’s cold inside.”
So, what’s with all the marital breakups at the start of a new year? Common sense would dictate it’s precisely that—a new year, and a chance to hit the reset button on things that just aren’t working. That is part of it, but Cathy Meyer, a divorce consultant and founder of DivorcedWomenOnline.com whose own husband left her in January, says there’s a little more to it than that.
“What I hear from my clients is that they were struggling with the marriage before the holiday season. If they have children, the holidays are supposed to be a magical time, so they commit to giving the kids one last happy holiday as an intact family. By January, if it’s still not working, it’s time to move on.”
I can certainly understand how you try to hold a marriage together for the sake of the children. I know I perpetuated the happy-little-family fantasy for as long as I could for my two daughters. But that doesn’t explain why Captain and Tennille, the popular singing duo from the ’70s—both IN their 70s, mind you—have announced this month that they will be splitting up after almost 40 years of marriage. It’s confusing even to the Captain, who claims he has no idea why his wife filed for divorce.
Check the calendar, Captain. It’s JANUARY!
And here’s a real shocker … guess who is filing for divorce more than anybody? According to a very recent study, the surprising answer is conservative Protestants—defined by the researchers as “those who believe the Bible to be literally true.” The study claims that the states with higher concentrations of conservative Protestants had higher divorce rates, such as Alabama and Arkansas, with the second and third highest divorce rates in the U.S. Researchers say it’s likely because this religious community encourages their members to marry at such a young age.
So if you want your marriage to last, consider moving to New Jersey and Massachusetts, liberal states where the incidences of divorce are very low.
But statistics and sociological studies aside, I know firsthand that the breakdown of a marriage doesn’t happen overnight, let alone in one fluke month of the year. It is usually a gradual erosion and wearing down of trust and intimacy between two people, whether because of addiction, abuse, infidelity, marrying too young—whatever the cause.
I don’t have the panacea for divorce, but I do know that if the marriage isn’t working and staying together only brings out the worst in both of you, it’s time to face the truth and move on—before another day, another month, another year of unhappiness goes by.
Lynn Armitage is a single mother living in Northern California, and is an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.