Whenever you visit the doctor for the first time, he or she asks you a series of questions related to your family medical history. Your medical provider wants to know your family medical history because it may help to determine what your overall health may be and identify any risk factors you may have for certain illnesses. It is widely known that some diseases run in families. What have you inherited from your ancestors? Do you have hypertension, diabetes or other physical ailments because your parents have or had the same disease? Are you afraid of having heart disease, breast cancer, depression or high cholesterol because it runs in your family?
Not only do physical illnesses tend to run in families, but unhealthy behaviors and dysfunction can follow families for generations. Extended family gatherings are often a reminder of generational issues. Everyone is enjoying the family reunion until the usual relative shows up intoxicated and ruins the family event. You remember the scene on Soul Food when everything was going fine until cousin Faith showed up. Every family has bits and pieces of dysfunction that show up from time to time. These pieces of dysfunction are referred to as “leftovers”. They are family problems, current or past that seem to pop up from one generation to the next.
These generational leftovers will influence us in ways we never imagined and can possibly be passed down to our children. According to family experts, we often we repeat the problems of our home of origin and so will our children. Whether the problems are alcohol or drug abuse, infidelity, mental illness, divorce or even financial problems, the behaviors of our forefathers may be influencing our present situation, relationships and family. How can you learn to deal with these leftover issues? Are we doomed because of our forefathers?
We are all born with DNA that comes from our biological parents. Even though our DNA is hereditary and certain defects can be passed genetically, we actually have the ability to alter how our DNA expresses itself. Sometimes it appear that certain forms of cancer or heart disease runs in families, but medical experts indicate that only about 5 percent of cancer and cardiac disease patients can attribute their diseases to hereditary. Illnesses are much more strongly influenced by behavioral patterns and environmental conditions much more than heredity. In fact, the majority of disease processes can be explained by environmental factors. For example, an environment where there is tobacco use can cause the same types of cancers to develop among family members. Similarly, learned behaviors around eating can lead to diabetes developing amongst members of the same family.
So what can we do to put a stop to generational leftovers? Here are three suggestions to get you started:
What are you going to start or stop doing today to put an end to your generational leftovers?
I recently ran across some data indicating that previously married women were more likely to say no to remarriage than previously married men. According to the study 1,361 currently divorced or widowed adults aged 18 and over were asked if they would like to be remarried. Of the women in the study 15% said yes, 27% were not sure, but a whopping 54% said NO. When looking at the male perspective, men were more open to the idea of remarriage. This data was part of an article written in November 14, 2014 by Pew Research entitled, “Four in Ten Couples are Saying I Do Again. “
In the study, previously married included those who were either divorced or been widowed at least once. Remarried is defined as getting married after being divorced or widowed.
Since I have been happily remarried now for 13 years, this data disturbed me. Why? I coach divorced women and stepmoms and my hope and prayer for them is that they would someday find happiness in marriage regardless of what happened previously. However, when I began to ask myself the same question, I would probably find myself in the 27% who were not sure if they would marry again. Even after being divorced, I still believe in marriage and God’s design for families. I don’t think I would say no, but I would be concerned that the older I got, that the odds would be stacked against me.
In the Bible, Proverbs 18:22 indicates that “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” So we know the man finds a good thing, but what’s in it for married women? I searched high and low for a scripture similar to Proverbs 18:22 for women, my research turned up the following. Ephesian 5:25 instructing men to love their wives and Proverbs 31:10 which indicates that an excellent wife is far more precious than jewels. In the 5th chapter of 1Timothy, there are instructions about the care of widows. I also found several scriptures indicating women as wives should be submissive (Ephesians 5:24) and how they should act. Titus 2:3-5 (ESV) puts it this way: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
So why are women not interested in marriage a second time? Here are the top 3 reasons women say NO to remarriage.
Women are saying “I want to be in charge of my life.” Some women find being in charge of their own life very liberating. Especially after raising children and perhaps sacrificing so much for their former spouse or children, they enjoy being able to make their own choices and do what they want to do when they want to do it.
2. Fear of Failure
In the case of divorced women, some are afraid of failing again and don’t want to take the risk. In the case of widows, what if I give up benefits received and social security and the new marriage doesn’t work out? The data on remarriages doesn’t help in that 60% of remarriages are slated to fail.
3. Step Parenting
Life as a stepparent can be extremely frustrating especially for stepmoms. Some women don’t want the hassle of raising somebody else’s kids. Data suggests that remarriages with children have a 70% chance of failing.
Out of curiosity, I polled a few of my own friends and here’s what I found. The single, never been married friends between the ages of 40-50 are interested in finding love and marriage and want the chance at love. However, my divorced friends are hesitant about marriage. Some said if they found true love and really were confident that it would work out, then maybe they would marry again. Others said maybe if he had grown children or if they didn’t feel like his children or ex would be a problem. A few said the older they get, the less interested they are in getting married and besides they like having the space and freedom to do what they want to do.
I did find a few who have been married before and really want to get married again. Here are the top 3 reasons women say YES to remarriage.
What do you think? How would you answer the question? Would you consider remarriage if you are divorced or widowed?
My husband and I celebrated our 13th anniversary on New Year’s Day. After our Facebook post went live, we also discovered others who had taken the plunge on the same day. Why not New Year’s Day? Most of our family and friends were off that day and already gathered for the holidays. No one had to miss out on their New Year’s dinner because our after ceremony reception was a New Year’s dinner complete with black eyed peas.
When I often tell others that New Year Day is our anniversary, I will usually hear a story about someone who married on New Year’s Eve, which is also a popular day to get married. We have met several couples who married on December 31st before the stroke of midnight. When I asked others why they married around the New Year, their thoughts were similar to ours in that we wanted to start the New Year off in our new life together. A huge plus for getting married on December 31st or January 1st, is never forgetting your anniversary. We will always remember our special day on January 1, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon (1-1-1).
Did you know that just as many people choose to file for divorce once the New Year arrives? As I was writing my latest book “Divorced and Still Highly Favored”, I came across an article posted on the Huffington Post website that indicated more people make decisions to get divorced at the beginning of the year. Divorce lawyers have observed this pattern and are now using this knowledge to their advantage and advertise accordingly very heavily around this time of year.
Some of the reasons for the increase in divorce during the first of the year is because individuals may make New Year’s resolutions to get a divorce. Some realize during the holidays that they refuse to end another year the same way and thus begin the divorce process. For others, the timing wasn’t right during the holidays perhaps because they were being protective of their children. My first divorce came right before Christmas. What a way to ruin a child’s holidays. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” to a child like a broken family. To prevent further holiday blues, some will wait until the holidays are over and file as soon as possible.
Some couples stay together until the end of the year because of tax benefits. They can file taxes as married and get the deductions. With all of the financial information that has to be gathered, it is somewhat easier to gather the documents at the same time one is gathering information for taxes. All this documentation is usually available by the end of January when W-2’s are received.
Hopefully, your New Year started off on a positive note. If you got married, congratulations. If you are starting off the New Year with thoughts of changing your marital status to divorced, I pray that you will get the help you may need to save your marriage. There is really never a good time for a divorce but the Bible says that there is a time for everything… Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (CEV) Everything on earth has its own time and its own season. There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping, for killing and healing, destroying and building, for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing, for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting. There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving, for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking. There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace.
Truth is, there is never a perfect time for a divorce. No day of the week, or month of the year is optimal for this life altering event. The dissolution of a marriage can come when life seems to be going perfectly well, when you are sitting on the mountaintop, or it can rear its ugly head when you are already down in the valley feeling like you can’t take any more misfortune. As we begin this new year, my wish for you is happiness, and Godly favor. Happy New Year!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach