Becoming Aware of Relational Cancer
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation started using pink ribbons in the 1980s. Later, the foundation took off in 1992 when Estee Lauder cosmetics teamed up with Self magazine to create an awareness campaign symbolized by pink ribbons.
Now look around: breast cancer awareness is everywhere! My recycling can has a pink lid. My father-in-law, a high school football coach, wears a pink shirt during games in October. Even the White House is illuminated pink every October 1st.
To everyone who has worked so diligently to fight breast cancer and make us aware of early detection, may I say, “Great job! We are aware. We are thankful.”
As an advocate for healthy thriving marriages, I see a relational cancer sweeping through families.
This relational cancer is divorce.
Some people may think that comparing breast cancer and divorce is unwarranted, but the statistics speak for themselves.
For example, following divorce:
- Children are fifty percent more likely to develop health problems than two-parent families.*
- Teenagers in single-parent families and blended families are 300 percent more likely to need psychological help within any given year than teens from intact, nuclear families.**
- People who come from broken homes are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who do not come from broken homes.***
- Adult children of divorce tend to have lower paying jobs and less college education than their parents; unstable father-child relationships; a history of vulnerability to drugs and alcohol in adolescence; fears about commitment and divorce, and negative memories of the legal system that forced custody and visitation.****
These stats put Malachi 2:16 into perspective: “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. “So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.”
While divorce may be the answer for people experiencing infidelity or abuse, for most it doesn’t have to be.
- What if we could bring the same awareness to the relational cancer of divorce that has been brought to breast cancer?
- What if we could create a movement to help couples save their marriages?
- What if 70 percent of all married couples were tested to help them evaluate their marriages and then given practical steps to help strengthen their relationships?
- What if we had a symbol like the pink ribbon that was recognized instantly by everybody, everywhere?
- What if relational cancer awareness could unite the world with the church?
Before Susan G. Komen passed away, Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. While some of us have lost someone close to us to breast cancer, all of us have lost a loved one to divorce. And it not only impacted the couple, but also family and friends. What if we allowed the death of these families to motivate us to change relational cancer forever? I know it’s a powerful motivator for me.
What are your ideas about how we can start a movement to stop relational cancer and save the families we love? With all of us working together, we can find a cure.