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Divorce: Is it the Kids' Fault?

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Angela Kinsey from "The Office" is getting separated from her husband ... and their child is not even a year old. Begs the question: Does having kids contribute to a higher divorce rate? We talked to Rabbi Sherre Hirsch to find out.

Angela Kinsey

Angela Kinsey from "The Office" has separated from her husband of eight years, writer Warren Lieberstein, just nine months after the couple welcomed their first child, daughter Isabel.

Is it just us, or does it seem like young kids are a recipe for marital disaster? Balthazar Getty's recent affair with Sienna Miller caused some major commotion because he is married with four young children. After rumors of an alleged affair, Balthazar stated: "In light of the fact that many pictures have surfaced in print and on the Internet, which has caused myself and my family great embarrassment, I felt it necessary to at least acknowledge publicly that, yes indeed my wife and I have separated and I will not be commenting any further." OK, he may or may not be a "cheater", but why do so many marriages fail when the children are young? (Britney Spears, Denise Richards -- the list goes on and on ...)

Rabbi Sherre said that the divorce rate is definitely higher in couples with young kids, and it's a common trend she sees in her community. She believes couples get into trouble because:
1. Young kids take time away from the husband, who used to come first. Most of a woman's time is now given to the child.
2. There is little time left for dating and sex.
3. The average couple with young kids has sex one time a month. This dramatically affects the marriage.
4. The husband feels completely neglected and ends up leaving or "acting out" by having an affair: "Rarely," Rabbi Sherre says, "do we see women leave. Most of the time, the husbands leave."

What can we do to protect our family and our marriage?
1. The most important relationship in the family is the one with your spouse. A great marriage means a great family. The best thing you can do is put your husband in the number-one spot.
2. Keep the sex up ... even if you don't always feel like it.
3. Do some communal activities with the family: volunteer, go to church or synagogue, do something for those in need. Families gain perspective this way.
4. Spend an hour and a half each week together without the kids: take a walk, meet your husband at work for lunch, go for a bike ride. No kids. Period. You don't have to have a "date night," just spend some quality time together.

For more tips from Rabbi Sherre, visit her site

Rabbi Sherre Hirsch is a mother of three and the author of We Plan, God Laughs. She offers non-denominational spiritual advice.

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10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Vanessa Y. February 19, 2009, 5:10 PM

This all good advice, but why not tell the men to grow up and deal with the fact that kids are now here, and maybe have them help raise them?

 February 19, 2009, 6:35 PM

Really? “Keep the sex up … even if you don’t always feel like it.” So not only do you have to devote your time as a working mom 10 hours a day, you come home and devote the next few hours to cleaning, dinner and spending time with your children whom you haven’t seen all day and then you have to be ready to jump in the sack? Sounds like a great life to me. Why does the woman have to make all of the sacrifices? I dont think you should have to have sex in order to keep a marraige alive. I think thats once choice you still get to make alone.

Anonymous February 19, 2009, 9:40 PM

I think those women who don’t think sex is a necessity for a healthy marraige are probably at home alone tonight while their husbands “work late”. Yes, its difficult to fit it all in..but if you don’t your basically roommates who co-parent children while someone else sleeps with your husband.

Anonymous February 19, 2009, 9:50 PM

There is also the chance that a marriage was not doing well in the first place and a baby created more stress and further intesified the existing problems. Also, sometimes babies are a surprise.

Anonymous February 20, 2009, 2:04 PM

You do need to have sex rather you feel like it or not. Most men feel conne cted through sex and if he isn’t getting it, he won’t feel a need to connect with you everyday. I know I get it - we women seem to be able to handle everything from work to the kids to the house and sometimes our husbands fall to the bottom of our list but as Dr. Phil says if you’re having sex than it’s only about 10% of your relationship but if you’re not than it’s 90% of your relationship. Also, I find the more sex my husband and I have, the more willing he is to do things around the house or with the kids for me and then I get more “me” time.

Charles February 20, 2009, 6:07 PM

A baby will strengthen a good relationship, and destroy a bad one. Be sure you know what you have BEFORE you decide to bring an innocent child into this world.

Anonymous March 6, 2009, 1:59 PM

really, how long does sex take ladies? it can take 1 or 2 minutes, that’s all, and every one is happy. but women have to take this stand of how busy they are.

Anonymous March 6, 2009, 2:00 PM

really, how long does sex take ladies? it can take 1 or 2 minutes, that’s all, and every one is happy. but women have to take this stand of how busy they are.

Xkdvphlg June 24, 2009, 6:54 PM

ipzC2r comment6 ,

J May 6, 2010, 11:10 AM

If it’s only taking 1 or 2 minutes, someone’s doing something wrong! And since when is the kid LESS important? The kid should be first, and everyone else should be able to acknowledge that!

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