My parents got divorced when I was young. Although they had a fairly pleasant divorce and remained friends, I'd be lying if I said the possibility of getting divorced in my own life doesn't scare me a bit. I also think my fear of divorce actually motivates me more than ever to have a happy marriage. I'd like to think this is a common dichotomy most children of divorce face, even more high-profile ones like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Obviously, that leaves us wondering, as two children of divorce, will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stay together?
The two have been the talk of the town ever since their relationship first became public over a year ago. When the two announced their engagement at the end of last year, people became even more obsessed with them than they ever were before. From their body language to their interview responses, everyone has been hanging on to their every move to try to better understand their relationship. But many people may not realize that the two also have one major thing bonding them: Their birth parents did not stay together.
According to E! News, Meghan was born to parents Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle. The two then got a divorce when Meghan was 6 years old. Harry, on the other hand, was just 8 when his mother, Princess Diana, and father, Prince Charles, divorced as well. E! reports the both Harry and Meghan were often quite stuck in the middle with parents at odds.
So the question remains: Could this bond from their childhoods actually help the royal stay together? Or does the fact that they're both children of divorce spell trouble for their relationship?
While the fact that they both come from broken homes may seem like a cause for concern to some, many relationship and marriage experts argue the opposite can be true.
First, Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist and couples counselor in Boulder, Colorado, reiterates the increased desire to make marriage last (which I mentioned earlier) in people who come from broken marriages. "When both partners come from a divorced family, it can usually impact the relationship in one of two ways," Dr. Fisher explains. "First, it can create a strong desire in both to not repeat their own upbringing with divorce and to do things differently in their marriage to make it last." If that's the case, then things may, in fact, bode well for Prince Harry and Meghan.
That being said, Dr. Fisher also mentions there does still exist a propensity for divorce in children of divorce: "On the other hand, it can go the other direction and make divorce an easy out to difficult seasons in their marriage, since divorce was modeled as a solution for them growing up."
Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, believes that the key to making their relationship work, despite their familial backgrounds, is communication. "Coming from a family of divorce or being divorced is not necessarily problematic," she explains. "But it can make a difference if a couple has open dialogue around their experiences. They have to talk about how it impacts them, influences their thoughts and behaviors, beliefs about commitment and marriage, etc."
While talking about these issues can feel intimidating or scary, she insists that the practice can actually bring you closer as a couple. "We have 'enduring vulnerabilities' that come from our childhood, experiences, and romantic relationships," she says. "They don't go away and our partner has to know about them so they can be sensitive to them, and vice versa."
Finally, Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles who works with dating singles and couples, notes that being a child of divorce can actually make you a better spouse. "While experiencing a divorce can be a painful experience, there can also be certain lessons learned as a result of a marriage that didn't work out," he notes. "If you know the reasons why your past marriage did not work, you may now have a much better idea of what it is you want and don't want in your next marriage."
Yes, being a child of divorce can be challenging, but with excellent communication and a clear understanding of why their parents' marriages didn't work, Meghan and Harry may actually be able to use their broken homes as a leg up in this whole marriage thing. Best of luck to the happy couple!
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