Looking forward to TEDx Southbank today where I’m giving one of their ‘micro’ pitches of an idea worth spreading. A few of you have asked me to share it so here is the guts of it:
As we now know Benjamin Franklin got it so right when he opined that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
But there’s a condition that will affect almost half of you and as many children. It will cause you as much emotional pain as the most distressing problems that humans can experience, yet currently, there are no meaningful or widespread prevention strategies in place.
That condition is divorce – or the loss of a loving relationship in whatever form.
In my work as a psychiatrist and relationship therapist, I see so much pain and heartache, especially in children, that could have been prevented.
The impact of divorce is far-reaching. Population study findings from a large sample in the USA, tell us that around 80% of people who get divorced, 5 years later, are still as unhappy as they were before they got divorced! In part, it’s because divorce brings its own set of ongoing problems, particularly when children are involved.
So what form might that prevention take? I would suggest we need to go right back, before we need counselling, even before pre-marital counselling (who actually does that?). We need to help people to choose a better partner – someone who brings out the best in you.
Scott Peck, in the iconic The Road Less Travelled introduced the idea that “love is a thoughtful, committed decision.” Too often it is seen as some form of ‘romantic destiny’ that we have no control over – but, strangely enough, Peck was right, we do.