I grew up hearing that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. I always found this confusing because barely anyone I knew was divorced, nor were their parents. It turns out that the fifty percent number was statistically accurate in 1980 and when you analyze the trends it has dropped since. The current numbers of divorce are dropping specifically with millennials as more couples choose to live together rather than marry. Regardless of whether you choose to marry or cohabitate your coupling in the coaching world will experience significant stress. Today we’re going to talk about ways to insulate your marriage from stress which can lead to divorce.
Paying Attention to the Data
Time Magazine reports: “In 2018, 15% of folks ages 25 to 34 lived with an unmarried partner, up from 12% a decade earlier. More Americans under 25 cohabit with a partner (9%) than are married to one (7%). Two decades ago, those figures weren’t even close: 5% were cohabiting and 14% were married.”
While divorce rates are dropping, experts have further analyzed the data of marriages which have ended and thanks to the U.S. Census we know that employment is a factor in the divorce rate.
We know that high-stress jobs have higher divorce rates. Of course, this is likely not a surprise to you. But I’m going to break down a few details from an analysis Zippia conducted on the U.S. Census.
The Top 21 Jobs at Risk of Divorce Include:
- The list features military positions in the 1st, 4th, and 7th positions on the list of the top 21 jobs at risk of divorce essentially naming all military positions. The reasons speculated for divorce included the time spent apart, the stress of the job, the job required moving, and the load the spouse carries during deployment.
- Listed 20th is a Laborer and Freight Handler. The analysis is that these positions work more than eight hours in one shift and even overnight, for low salaries.
- Number 18 is those who complete computer and other electronic machine repairs. The analysis noted some of these workers put in over 50 hours per week, and field technicians often travel to complete repairs.
- Probation officers were listed 15th. The observation offered was that since probation officers spend a majority of their time with people who have difficult personalities and are required to work overtime documenting and evaluating their interactions the combination leaves them stressed and exhausted.
- Number 14 listed Administrative Services Managers noting these workers juggle a lot daily. Administrators are the supervisors required to document everything, deal with budgets, goals, long term plans and they also are expected to handle problems as they arise. Ultimately, they are accountable for everything that happens.
- Medical Assistants were listed 12th. I’m including this because it was noted the in the medical field medical assistants are low in the medical hierarchy. Their job is very demanding with long hours and low pay.
I’m not sure if you have the same alarms going off in your head that I had in mine as I read this list, but if jobs with long hours and low pay are at high risk of divorce I think we need to be realistic that coaches should be somewhere on this list.
Think about the tension points when it comes to why your husband does what he does. The vast majority of coaches take pay cuts to stay in the profession. What other job do you know of where someone with a masters degree willingly makes $10,000 a year with no benefits and often no contract?
Long hours for little pay often require that additional income streams are left to the spouse to contribute. This makes coaching a family commitment. And that is something that isn’t easily understood by those outside the profession.
To drive home the point, one list of Professionals Prone to Burnout lists Teachers as 4th.
Not All Advice is Helpful
The first thing we need to understand is that we cannot avoid the wounds divorce brings by avoiding marriage. Couples who live together for extended periods of time experience deep hurt if they separate as well.
There are a lot of well-meaning people you will encounter who have little to zero understanding of the pressures your husband faces on a daily basis nor how that impacts your marriage.
Coaches wives seek advice of me often asking how to communicate properly to family that they can’t attend their cousin’s wedding on that Saturday in October because they need to be present at their husband’s football game. They also ask for help in explaining why they can’t ask their husband to quit his job even though it means moving far from family.
I have no doubt that these families believe their advice and requests are reasonable. But we all need to learn to discern helpful and applicable advice from that which is offered without a full understanding of the impact following it would cause.
When Solomon was anointed king he asked for wisdom and God made him the wisest man in the world and with that the ability to discern and judge the truth. (1 Kings 3:11)
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for his children and explains where wisdom comes from. Proverbs 2:6-11 says:
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”
Finding Helpful Advice
The coaching life is challenging. There is value in finding a few couples that have been in coaching for several years to resource when situations come up.
Think about it this way, when you get pregnant or have your first child if the only people you glean advice from are single without kids or haven’t raised children in 20-25 years you are likely to miss out on some important perspectives.
This doesn’t mean that you must follow every piece of advice you receive. Pray, ask God for discernment. Talk about it as a couple and decide what works best for you.
If you cannot connect with a coaching couple, consider reaching out to FCA, InterVarsity, or a pastoral couple. One of my most impactful mentors was the wife of a Young Life area director, the other a youth pastor. Ministry lives are not that different than coaching in many ways.
In addition to finding mentor couples, you must continue to invest in your marriage. I’ve gathered resources in a previous post I’ll link here.
Actions to Insulate Your Marriage
- Stay aware and attentive to the realities of your spouse’s job stress factors.
- Stay attentive to the stages of burnout.
- Find wise mentors who have experience in the same or similar life situations.
- Pray for discernment to filter through advice.
- Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse.
- Invest in your marriage with resources designed specifically for your career choice.
Insulating your marriage from the stresses that could lead to divorce requires an active participation in your relationship. Thankfully, there are many who have gone before you who are available to cheer you on and encourage you in your journey if you ask for help.