Over the years Oklahoma has developed a notorious reputation for leading the pack in US divorce rates. With that said, many people have resorted to not getting married, staying celibate, dating forever, and others are rolling the dice with marriage in this seemingly cursed state. Is the state actually cursed or is there something else to the story we are not looking at? Is there still hope for those getting married in Oklahoma and is marriage counseling a solution for Oklahoma couples going through rough times?
The Oklahoma Marriage Initiative
In 1999, the marriage initiative, launched by Governor Frank Keating, set a goal of cutting divorce rates by 1/3 by 2010. In 2002, leaders of the Oklahoma marriage initiative departed from the goal stating it was unattainable and unrealistic, as they approached two years out from the goal date. $70 million in federal funding was dedicated to the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative program, which was designed to target poverty issues as the core cause behind marriage failure in Oklahoma. Since 2000, Oklahoma has received more federal funding than any other state to promote healthy relationships and marriage, yet continues to have the highest divorce rates in the nation (sounds strangely familiar to the situation surrounding the ‘War on Drugs’).
Many have hypothesized throughout the years that poverty has been a major aspect in divorce rates in Oklahoma, but the jury is still out on the exact reason marriages seem to have so much trouble and the Sooner State. There are other states with equal or higher poverty rates to Oklahoma yet are not on the same playing field when it comes to divorce rates. Regardless of what the cause may be, there is a brighter side to the story for many Oklahomans who have resorted to marriage counseling to overcome their marital obsticles.
Stephanie Brill, LCSW, founder of Inner Treasures Counseling OKC states, “We have seen many successful outcomes from married couples who have sought marriage counseling as a resolution to their marital issues. Divorce is not the answer for everybody and in my marriage counseling practice we have had some tremendous success in keeping married couples together. Sometimes a third party needs to get involved to help with communication or other aspects of the relationship which may be at risk…. In marriage counseling, our objective is not to decide who is right and who is wrong, however our primary objective is to first figure out what the root cause of the relationship problem might be and work from there.” Stephanie further explains, “For many of my clients, happily ever after is still an option and divorce is not the only way out. We have had great success stories in helping married couples remain married and although that is the ideal situation, unfortunately it is not always the best outcome for the given situation. Some people just don’t need to be married and don’t belong together to begin with, however, our counseling sessions definitely help to clarify any uncertainty around this issue.”
Other Possible Theories
Outside of the poverty theory, many many blame the mental illness rates to be the cause of Oklahoma’s astronomical divorce rates. On a nationwide basis, 25% of the population is diagnosed with some sort of mental illness however, some studies show Oklahoma may have higher rates at hand. Regardless of the true reason behind the divorce rates, Stephanie Brill has been offering and delivering hope to married couples who once faced challenging marital hurdles yet have remained married by working there issues out in a professional counseling setting such at Stephanie’s at Inner Treasures Counseling OKC.
There’s no doubt about the fact that marriage is difficult in today’s world. Challenges such as social media make it easier to connect with people in a faster, more easily manner than ever before. Social media plays a major role in relationship jealousy for many married couples. It makes sense, however, since one arguement may cause one of the married couples to seek extramarital prospects on Facebook in an instant, out of spite for their spouse. And still, this does not address the lasting marital problems which Oklahomans continue to face as social media is readily available in the other 49 states just as well.
It seems marriage counseling may be one of the best options for couples staying together happily ever after. Hopefully more married couples will find marriage counseling to be a resolution to their problems versus divorce which is plauging our state today. Being number one is usually good thing but for divorce rates it is rather shameful. Hopefully there is a magic solution to this problem facing Oklahomans one day but, for now, there is marriage counseling.