For many years, California has been known as the Divorce Capitol of the World, but today's marriage dropout rate is shocking, even by California standards.
Divorce is everywhere today, reinforced by constant media headlines regarding a seemingly endless tide of celebrity divorces.
Last year's marriage breakup of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the marital split of superstar couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, the Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries disaster, the Katy Perry and Russell Brand divorce drama, and the sad split of David Arquette and Courtney Cox are well-publicized examples of marriages on the rocks.
Most California marriage partners are not famous celebrities, so the explosion of divorce, legal separation, mediation and marriage counseling across the state is not entirely due to public life in a fish bowl.
Divorces are skyrocketing in California among Christian, Jewish and Muslim couples. Senior citizens are divorcing after decades of marriage. Couples who have built successful businesses together are throwing in the towel.
A marital state of emergency needs to be declared. Divorce is California's most destructive epidemic.
Something must be done about California's 75 percent divorce rate. It is tearing apart the fabric of our society.
I am not an expert on marriage and divorce but I have a good friend who is. She is the foremost expert. The best, in fact.
America's Marriage Doctor
Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario - "Dr. Jacquie" - is one of my tell-it-like-it-is friends. She is a relationship expert and marriage counselor par excellence who walks the talk.
Dr. Jacquie has been married to her husband for a quarter-century, and she talks the same way to him as she does to her clients and friends --- with clarity, respect, absolute honesty and love.
She is the creator of The Marital Constitution and The Marriage University.
Dr. Jacquie's international client list includes corporate CEOs, celebrities, clergy, and leaders from all segments of society. She has been honored by both President Bush and President Obama.
Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario is highly trusted and I know precisely why. America's Marriage Doctor is a dear personal friend of mine whom I confide in.
Who else would I possibly meet with regarding California's divorce epidemic?
Dr. Jacquie made time for Californiality in her busy schedule, so I got straight to the point:
Dr. Jacquie Gets Real on Marriage and Divorce
What's going on with all these divorces in California, Jacquie?
"Well, Mark, first let me just say that I'm aware of the number of divorces and, yes, it is surprising. I believe, however, that many of those marriages could have been saved. The way I see it, most divorces are unnecessary."
So, are you saying that a lot of married couples are giving up too easily?
"Let me put it this way. Everyone goes into marriage with their own unique vision of what marriage should be like but, when things don't go as planned, many couples end up divorcing because they don't see any other solution."
This is true across the board? I mean, it applies equally to celebrity couples and everyday married folks?
"That's right. People are people. Most have formed a picture of what a "perfect" marriage is, based on what they've grown up seeing. Parents strongly imprint what a marriage is on the minds of their children --- for better or for worse."
So, if the parental imprint was bad, there's no hope for a happy marriage?
California Divorce Rate 75 Percent Not necessarily. I think that most people start off with a positive vision for their relationship, but they honestly don't know how to bring that vision to manifestation. They lack the information; the tools; the skills to make it manifest.
What would you say is a perfect vision of what marriage should be? Is there such a thing?
"A fantastically formed vision for marriage is one that's not polluted nor diluted by mystified concepts built solely around passion and romance. It's really about commitment and love. Commitment has nothing to do with how I feel. It has to do with my intentions. Love involves sacrifice and selflessness."
Well, I would say that "feelings" are probably controlling a lot of marriages in California. Do you have a magic formula that's easy for Californians to use in their marriages?
(Laughing) "Well, there's no such thing as a 'magic formula', but I do have some valuable keys, which are very effective. There are five keys to creating and maintaining a stable marriage relationship:
- Compatibility. That's the ultimate key --- being congruent with your mate; being a suitable, compatible mate for a lifelong relationship --- both before and after saying 'I do'.
- Communication. That means sharing, talking, and stay on the same page.
- Authenticity. That's just being yourself. I think that we need to be able to be loved as the person that we truly are. We remove a lot of the barriers when we're just really ourselves and we give a clear picture of who our mate needs to love.
- Intimacy. People are forgetting how to connect in today's society. Intimacy is about building value and closeness on a level that transcends physicality. Those types of encounters are what we must continuously enrich our marriages with.
- Acceptance. Accepting people for who they are, and accepting things for what they are --- even though they're not always ideal --- is paramount to a happy, successful marriage."
"I want to heal families, and I want to do that by healing marriages. I think that we've let go of a lot of great relationships because we didn't know how to maintain them. The burden on my heart is to properly address marriage so that we can have healthy families."
So, there really is hope for most marriages? Even in California, the Divorce Capitol of the World?
"Yes, Mark, especially in California. Marriages around the world all have dynamics in common. I'm not a fan of divorce. I believe marriage is worth saving."
Marriage Help for Real Californians
Dr. Jacquie is the hippest straight-shooter I know. There's nobody like her. She belongs on the Oprah Winfrey Network immediately.
One-on-one talks with "Dr. J" are highly productive, but what if you don't have the time or resources right now for a heart-to-heart with America's Marriage Doctor?
That's where the Internet comes in.
We Californians can start working on our relationships and healing our marriages right now from home. Dr. Jacquie has a website for us called Best Marriage Keys, and it is definitely worth a visit.
There are relationship resources on her site for single Californians too.
We need more people like Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario who care enough about California's 75 percent divorce rate enough to get involved and help our state get out of a marriage nightmare and back to a California Dream in 2013.