Words matter: the loaded language of "divorce recovery"

I have about three ways to get between my job and home, and one of them takes me past a couple of churches. Yesterday traffic was slow enough by one of them that I had a chance to notice a banner that I hadn’t seen before. It was essentially an announcement that the church had information on “divorce recovery” on its website. OK, lots of churches do relationship counseling. But the more I thought about it, the more that phrase bothered me:

“Divorce recovery”

The problem is the word “recovery.” It has a specific meaning, namely “the process of combating a disorder (as alcoholism) or a real or perceived problem” (as defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary). If you’re recovering from something, that means that whatever it is you’re recovering from was bad for you. The logical implication is that divorce is a bad thing. And that is simply not the case. Continue reading

What to do about the Mid-Wife Crisis?

Today one of my good friends will stand before a judge in the company of her husband and dissolve her marriage. It is in one respect a common act, though rarely uneventful: it happens thousands of times a day in courtrooms across the country. But more and more, it seems to be the initiative of women who have been wives and mothers for years – in this case, 26 years, a figure I can relate to, on the brink of observing my own 26th anniversary later this month.

My friend, like me, married young – at least by today’s standards. We are in our late forties. And our generation seems to be one in which women are making this decision in droves, turning the old stereotype of the male midlife crisis on its head, leaving behind hurt and often clueless husbands who are incredulous that this is happening to them.

It didn’t strike me till recently that eight of the ten divorces I’ve been aware of among my circle of friends and colleagues in the last five years have been initiated by women. In every case, these have been women with children who have been devoted to their families for years. None is wealthy, none is leaving on a caprice after which they reinvent themselves with cosmetic surgery and a convertible. And none is a pop-culture cougar, pursuing her own youth via a younger man in a new version of the classic life upheaval. Continue reading

John, Elizabeth, Rielle and the dumpster fire at the end of the world

There’s a train rolling to a stop just outside of town. It’s a long train, and each flatbed carries 20 dumpsters. Each dumpster is filled to overflowing with nuclear waste and flaming grease. As the copter shot pulls away the final credits roll over the first few bars of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” We can all breathe a sigh of relief – all is well now, but just a few moments ago this train was hurtling at top speed toward the city center, its murdered conductor’s body holding the throttle in full-steam position.

This isn’t some wholesome, Focus on the Family-friendly Thomas the Train, folks. No, sir. This is the toxic, Viagra-addled nuclear dumpster grease fire Johnny the Train from Hell, and it came that close to plowing headlong into the unshielded nards of American democracy. Continue reading