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Monday, February 11, 2013

Should We Ban Divorce?

LOL Just divorced. And no, that's not my car.
 Just divorced. And no, that's not my car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         Shortly after the Sandy Hook school shooting, the furor arose to ban guns or, at the very least, assault weapons.  In my post Should We Ban (Insert Topic Here), I suggested that before the nation takes an overly reactionary response in attacking the Second Amendment rights laid out by the founding fathers of the United States, we might want to consider some other things that could be contributing factors to violent incidents such as happened in places like Newtown, CT and some of the other incidents of violence.   Today I continue with my exploration of this topic.

Who Guessed Right?
        The perceptive Jagoda from the blog Conflict Tango came up with the correct answer of "Divorce" in my topic guessing game on my previous post.  Not surprising since she is a professional mediator and facilitator who deals with situations of conflict all of the time.  She read into the clues which I left in the post and hit the topic dead on.  By the way, Jagoda will be participating in her first Blogging from A to Z April Challenge this year so you may want to pop on over to her excellent site to introduce yourself.

What's the Big Deal?

       Divorce?  That's the big touchy topic that I was talking about?  Why did I make such a big deal out of that?    Lot's of people have gotten divorced and we have mostly gotten over it just fine.  But have we?  Divorce is no longer that big of a deal is it?

        Let me relate a story that happened at my church a few years ago shortly after we had gotten a new pastor.  In one of his early sermons he stated, "God hates divorce".  At the end of the service a woman who had long attended the church huffily stormed out with the declaration, "I'm never coming back to this church again."  She was a divorced woman.  The funny thing is that the sermon was not about divorce, but was about the church.  And the pastor was not stating his opinion, he was quoting what God had said in the Bible (Malachi 2:16).  Why would a believer get angry about what is said in the book that is supposed to be their doctrine of faith?

      Those whose lives have been affected in some way by marital conflict and dissolution usually have very strong feelings about divorce.  The affected parties range far beyond the couples involved, extending to the  families, friends, and many others who might have affinities with either or both parties.  

       Then there are the children in the cases where the marriage has resulted in them.  Herein lies the biggest tragedy of all:  The children are often the biggest losers in the division of households and frequently they must shoulder the burden of pain long after spouses have parted.  With that pain often comes anger, depression, frustration, anxiety, and so many other negative mind states that can be associated with a traumatic experience such as the divorcing of parents.
What Does This Have to Do with Issues of Violence?

        In the case of the Newtown shooter, Adam Lanza, one of the issues cited about his life was the divorce of his parents.  From what indications the media has conveyed, the sense is that the divorce of Lanza's parents was not a pleasant circumstance and indications are that Adam Lanza may have been negatively affected by the situation.  This is all supposition on my part, but I think this is a well-reasoned guess based on my life experience with others I have known and similar stories I've heard.

       Granted that many of the other shooters such as those at Columbine or Aurora have come from homes where both parents were still together.  Still, there are numerous cases where divorce has been the incitement  or at least a catalyst for various types of violence.   I don't know if any research has been done to show a correlation between episodes of extreme violence and divorce, but I'm willing to bet that there is a connection to be found in many cases.

        Of course most divorce does not end up with such extreme episodes as I have noted here, but all divorce contributes a negative force to our society.   Any negative force when multiplied can have drastic repercussions on the moral fabric of a society that can be seen if we look around us.  However, this process has been occurring over such a long period that the negative effects have been mitigated by the magnitude of the occurrence as well the denial of the evil of the act and in turn the wide acceptance by society as a whole.

Should Divorce Be Banned?

          Firstly let me say that this post is about divorce and not about marriage or anything else.  I'll eventually get around to some of those topics.  If you leave a comment, and I hope you will, please stick to the topic of divorce for now.

          As far as banning divorce I would say no.  It would be impractical to ban all divorce.  There are certainly cases where there are few other reasonable options.  That being the case, the fact still remains that all divorce is negative and one might go so far to say evil.   Divorce is a promise broken, a sacred contract that has been profaned by those who have entered into it.  But if no practical good can come from keeping the union intact then the dissolution should be permissible.

          My argument is to make divorce much more difficult.     No-fault divorce should not be accepted in the courts.   No-fault divorce in the modern age is a product of the Communist revolution.  Did you know that?  Look it up.   After all, one of the goals of Communism is to defeat the structure of organized religions and destroy traditional values to be replaced with Newthink where all is for the good of the state.  The takes-a-village society way of thinking is necessary when families are broken.

         If married couples seeking divorce were required to go into rigorous counseling where full participation was mandatory and results were to involve full accountability by both parties, then couples would be forced to work things out and become better educated about the institutions of marriage and family.

           We need to take marriage and divorce more seriously for our society as a whole, but most importantly for the children.   If we can diminish the negative forces brought about by divorce and the issues related to it, then perhaps we can decrease some of the anger and other psychological aberrations that can lead to things such as violence, shootings, suicide, and other harmful acts.

           For any who may think I'm taking a self-righteous stance on this issue and that I don't know what it's really like, I've been divorced twice and I'm not proud of it.   Those two divorces have been the absolute worst times of my life and I would never want to experience anything like it again.  Sure, I've gotten over them and I'm happy in my third marriage--life goes on and hopefully we learn and make the best of things.  One thing I know is that I have never seen a divorce that I would call a good thing.  

           Do you think divorce has gotten too easy?    Why don't most couples who divorce try harder to keep the marriage together?   Can you think of any mass violence incidents that were related to divorce?

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  1. Making it more difficult is a thought. Counseling before is a thought as well.
    No doubt in my mind it's the breakdown of the family unit that has contributed to this country's decline in mental and emotional stability as well as increase in criminal activity. When there isn't a solid foundation, things go wrong.
    We've become a disposable society, and unfortunately that has seeped into marriages and relationships.

  2. A couple of thoughts: Yes divorce should be exceedingly difficult to obtain. And though you asked us to stick with divorce, I have to throw in here that marriages should also require some more hoops to jump through.

    Divorce should require massive counseling, a lot of money and if children are involved even more hoops though I don't know what. The only excepting would be in the case of abuse.

    As a child of divorced parents I watched the control struggles, the anger and depression that built over the years. I watched numerous relatives go through divorce and that lead me to put off getting married until I was pregnant with our second child seven year after my husband asked me to marry him.

    I needed to be sure and I wasn't going to put a ring on it until I was. Maybe along with strict divorce hoops there also needs to be a change in society thinking. Maybe less pressure to get married, to "do the right thing" would help.

  3. Personally I don't believe in divorce, but on the other hand it is hard for someone to live with someone they no longer love, Perhaps one should try a little harder before making it final.


  4. Of course divorce brings all sorts of bad things along. Heartbreak, confusion, depression, anxiety, et cetera. But people would not divorce if these things weren't there all along. Nobody files for divorce by ways of experiencing something new. Everybody dislikes divorce, and nobody likes to go through divorce.

    That said, I don't think divorce should be made more difficult. Divorce is difficult enough as it is. It can take years to have finally divorced someone. And the heartbreak, depression, anxiety, etc. that comes with that should be taken into account.

    If you want people to reconsider divorce, you need to drastically adjust the system we're living in. You need education. See, laws don't grant people insight into things. Education does. So, first we need to understand that schools do not only serve the purpose of preparing for employment in adult life, but also for communication and social understanding. Then you need to include the subjects of love, or call it whatever, and you need to teach people what love is, and how you recognize it, and how you can communicate with each other while angry, sad, or disappointed without hurting each other.

    Many divorces come forth out of not getting along, disagreeing on essential things (like "how do we raise the children" and "how do we spend our money"), or simply feeling unhappy. We have to understand what we want from life and our future partner, to be able to make the right choices.

    If I came to a point where I completely despised my partner, no counseling in the world could change my mind. It would be too late for that, and I wouldn't want the counseling in the first place. I wouldn't want to be forced to give my partner a second try.

    No, what we need is education about love, social interaction, and social behavior.

    And even then, we may never get back to the lasting marriages of back in the days. Because back in the days there were plenty of people who wanted a divorce, but were afraid to file for it because the general notion was that it was a disgrace. It's a good thing that people nowadays at least have the choice without being scorned by their neighbors.

  5. I hope one day we'll be able to scan a person to find out who they are, what their kinks and neuroses are, see if they have a criminal record , what their medical history is etc. Because now, most people lie about who they are, you then fall in love with them, and BAM! Now you're married to someone you don't even like anymore.

  6. It is too easy to give up and made too easy to get out of a marriage. It's sad people jump into it way too young, not really know the person and or think that is better than being single.

    When you fight and your plan is to win before the fight begins... you have all ready lost.

    I think there should not be a ban, more counseling... yes before marriage, during and if it can help before it might end.

    Or maybe a marriage that last in two years at a time... in the end you can resign up again or walk away... it may sound silly, but it's better than hearing the awful "D" word!

  7. I agree with Jeremy. Marriage shouldn't be so easy to slip in and out of. I wish schools taught relationship and people skill classes. Think how much better the whole world would be. The sanctity of marriage has lost so much over the years. No wonder kids today don't know how to commit to anything.

  8. Agree with disposable society comment by Alex. I agree divorce is much to easy, but so is marriage. People go into marriage without really having a clue what they are letting themselves in for. Maybe there should be an age restriction on marriage so that people get a time to consider it. I too have been divorced once, but I was lucky it was very amicable and we used to go stay with my ex when we went to visit England.


  9. If I was Queen of the world there would be no divorce at all. Ever. As a person who went through 2 divorces as a child, I strongly feel that divorce is evil and that it does nothing but destroy people. I know that it destroyed parts of me. (And anyone who says they went through a divorce and came out perfectly fine are either oblivious or lying to themselves.)

    Divorce is at the root of everything that is destroying our society and our humanity. Once you start breaking apart families willy nilly it's only a matter of time before nothing is sacred (we may already be there) and anything goes and civilization is no longer possible.

    As to your question about why a believer would get angry about a direct quote from the Bible? Because we Americans care for nothing but our own convenience and happiness anymore. We will sacrifice anything on that altar. And that's why divorce is so rampant. Who cares about the man or woman you swore to love and stay with forever? You're not happy? Drop them! Who cares about the kids? You have to do what makes YOU happy. It's sick, but that's really how people think and justify their actions.

    All right, now I'm getting too worked up, better stop there.

  10. I agree divorce should not be easy to obtain and no-fault divorce is a farce. I also think that people get divorced because they think they've fallen out of love. Until we begin to see love as a commitment instead of just an motion we can fall into and out of, we will continue to get divorced at a staggering rate.

  11. Alex -- So true about the disposable society. Material things are one thing, but people and the sacred institutions involving them should never be regarded as disposable.

    Heather -- Children should definitely be a priority factor in the decision to get divorced. The kids should never just be collateral damage in a spousal war, but unfortunately they are often the ones who suffer most. The marriage topic is coming. Societal thinking should be changed, but I think more in the direction of morality and sanctity of relationships.

    Yvonne -- Why do people fall out of love? What happens in the marriage to our thinking and the way we look at a spouse? Questions that should be addressed throughout a marriage and repaired when problems are seen.

    Sabrina -- Very excellent points you have made and I agree that education is a huge factor. We have now been conditioned that if you don't like something or are tired of it you just get rid of it--thinking that perhaps needs to be adjusted. Maybe the return of the stigma regarding divorce might be a good thing. Our society no longer respects traditional marriage and families.

    Em-- Nice sci-fi thought, but that's what dating is for. We often go into relationships blinded by whatever and then see what was probably there all along after the vows have been made. Bad move.

    Jeremy -- Giving up is a good way to shed light on this. So many now are just willing to give up because trying and working at the marriage is too difficult. We've grown soft and want everything to have easy solutions and little work involved.

    L.Diane -- I'll eventually address the education thing because I also think it's a big part of the problem. Commitment has become a negative concept to many of us.

    Jo -- Age restrictions across the board might not work so well, but opening the eyes of those who are thinking about marriage needs to be done. Most very young people don't take everything into account while others approach the union very wisely. What is the difference between the different couples?


  12. Sarah -- Beautifully said from the voice of experience. So true about the modern society's disrespect for the Laws that make the most difference.

    Alessandra-- Yes! Well said. Love is not easily definable and not always consistent, but we must work at it as we go.


  13. I think quick marriages are a sign of the time. Microwave romances and relationships. People don't want to invest the time and effort into making a marriage work. So many have no problem opting out and moving onto the next.

  14. I don't think you could ever get divorced banned, I think definitely all needs to be done to try to stay together, that vows should not be made lightly but with great consideration and with premarital counseling. I really think any newly married couple should get assigned mentors who have been married a long time to help them along the way as they adjust to marriage, etc. And then obviously there are those divorces that should happen in cases of abuse.

    I believe God hates divorce because of what it does to people and the impact it has on people's lives.


  15. Lee
    Wow what a mouth full
    Divorce seems to be eroding at the same speed as society. Is there a correlation? Probably
    Add another element- the absence of God in marriage and society and what have you?
    Will it matter if we keep or ban guns if we have an eroding, Godless society?

  16. Jo -- I think education is a must for going into and trying to get out of a marriage. It all should be a matter of flippant decisions based on feelings.

    Stephen Tremp - Marriage should be like building a structure that is going to stand for a long time. You've got to start with a strong foundation.

    Betty - All good recommendations. The laws in the Bible all have good practical reasoning behind them even though they sometimes sound strange to us.

    Moondust -- You have hit on another very, very important point which I do plan to address in a future post. Excellent observations.


  17. Both marriage AND Divorce should difficult to enter into. :) Why? Because when divorice happens it leaves the children extremely injured. And if you (not you Lee but people in general) think they get over it with time, WRONG-O.


  18. My first thought was, "This is a terrible idea."

    Rarely do I stick with my first thought. I kept reading.

    I have been divorced once. It was terrible. It was completely necessary, but it was the worst. We went through the counseling for a year. Unfortunately, I was in an emotionally/verbally abusive situation that was rapidly escalating. I could feel that it was reaching Breaking Point and was going to become a Physically Abusive situation. I was already carrying around three years of emotional scars on the inside and was living with a chronic migraine I could not shake. My health was deteriorating daily. My weight was down to almost 100 lbs. My mother was convinced that I was going to die if I stayed. I was pretty sure she was right. It probably took me another six months to get out after that. Abusive, manipulative people do not want to let their puppets go.

    After we finally divorced, the therapist saw fit to tell me that I was a "battered woman" even though my husband never actually hit me. Well, I sure wish she has something when he was in the room, because he still doesn't think so!!! And that it takes a battered woman an average of 7 attempts to leave her batterer. I think I tried 4 times before I succeeded.

    With that said, had there been stronger Divorce Laws in place I might not have married him in the first place. My Inner Voice, which I think is God, was whispering in my ear constantly saying at all times, "Stop. Don't do this. Turn around. Run." I have learned that I ignore that Voice at my own peril. However, if everyone knows that a divorce is not an EASY thing to acquire, they will think long and hard before they enter into marriage.

    It would change our choices. It would force us to ask ourselves the really hard questions, "Do I really want to do this? Even though I think I love this person, do I think it will last Forever? Do I really KNOW this person? Am I being Authentic to my True Self?"

    Of course, just throwing a Ban out there now would create all sorts of problems. There are a lot of people who didn't get to ask themselves any of those questions. Human nature being what it is... if you force someone to stay in a situation where they hate the other person or they feel threatened by the other person (but cannot prove it)... someone will kill the other one just to get out. Given the option of murder or divorce, I would let them have their divorce.

    So, if you wanted to do something like this you would have to "grandfather in divorces" for people prior to the law enactment date.

  19. Yes, I think divorce has gotten too easy. But I'm not sure how I would solve that problem. It's an interesting question.

  20. I get what you're saying about divorce Lee but in all honesty you have to look at it from a standpoint of fairness, it's not fair to ask people who hate each other to stay together. Personally I think that people should make it harder to get married so you won't get married in a rush and harder to get divorced to try and encourage people to work things out more. The marriages of old were done under the principle that if it's broken then you fix it, you don't just through it away and get a new one and that's a mindset that needs to be restored in my opinion.

  21. Teresa -- Now I think it's pretty common for people to try to hide their hurt by rationalizing, but I believe it is there no matter what they say.

    Robin -- As always another great comment! We could never ban divorce completely. You make a excellent point about the hesitation to enter into the marriage if one fully understood the gravity of the situation and the difficulty of getting out. As things stand now I don't think a lot of people enter or exit the marital relationship based on many rational decisions. And Valentine's Day is a hoax promoted by card, candy, and doo-dad distributors. I thought I'd just through that in as a cryptic jab at the way society now views "love".

    Michael -- I don't think there is an easy solution that would come without a political battle and social disparity.

    Yeamie-- And you point out an underlying factor here that is probably the utmost in importance. Fairness to whom and what does fairness entail. Does divorce really highlight a problem in the relationship or is it more of an issue of selfishness desires and personal pursuits? Like the gun issue, I think the real blames and causes go to the inner person, what drives them, and how they try to resolve issues. This gets into a future post that I'll do that addresses the deepest part of the problem.


  22. Banning divorce would be nice, but the real problem is that you can’t legislate morality, and above all else this is a moral issue.

    It’s obvious that the destruction of the family (which should be the smallest basic unit of government at a higher level) is the aim of people and any entity not aligned with God and the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ. Everyone has a suggestion as to what might solve the problem of the’ quick, thoughtless, no fault, nor error, no bad feelings divorce’ that exist in the US today. My personal opinion is that we as a people have traveled so far from God that He is no longer a part of our marriages or families.

    Of course, we live in an extension of the ME generation, where if it feels good – why not do it. More marriages are based on lust than love. Attraction isn’t about knowing of seeing someone’s soul; it’s about seeing them naked. While a beautiful woman or a handsome man easily attracts the attention of others, it’s the content, the thought processes, the inner beliefs and finally a true relationship with God and Jesus Christ that makes a person, even the homeliest of persons, attractive beyond compare.

    A true sound marriage was once explained to me as a triangle with one point reaching upward and the other two far apart at the base. If Jesus Christ is at the top of that point and a husband at one point on the base and his wife at the other point of the base, and each are diligently moving up the sides of that triangle, making every effort possible to come closer to Christ, they are also coming closer to each other.

    A part of many modern day marriage ceremonies is found in The New Testament, Mark 10:9. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” My question is this; what marriages performed today has ‘God joined together’? Does anybody actually possess that authority to act in His place? Is it the preacher who received his license from the Internet? Is it the preacher who spent years at seminary learning and studying? But, then which denomination is correct? Is it the local JP or judge? I personally believe (read that again, I PERSONALLY BELIEVE) God sanctions our marriages when we choose to become one with him and particularly His Son, Jesus Christ. The legality of the marriage certificate is important as far as our pledge and commitment to society and each other go. BUT, our commitment and pledge to God must come from our heart and is a continual process.

    For a short time I had an ideal marriage. Every morning my husband and I read aloud from the Bible to each other before leaving the house. Every night before retiring to bed we knelt down together holding hands and prayed. That is what is missing in most marriages today. I would venture to guess that is missing in almost all marriages that end in divorce.

    Now before you grab a torch and pitchfork and head over to my house understand something; I don’t like to divulge too much of my personal history but I have endured the pain of abuse (both physical and emotional), betrayal, broken promises, fear for my life and that of my child and finally divorce. So, while I had a very brief glimpse of what it should be like, I have also experienced the darker side.

  23. People make mistakes about everything in life, marriage is no exception. And those who say divorce should cost more money are only punishing people who aren't financially well off. I grew up with parents that hated each other. Never did I experience a family meal without feeling anxiety over what conflict would arise from having my parents around the dinner table. My earliest childhood memories are of my parents yelling and screaming at each other. Things got so bad that at the age of 12 I wished they would get divorced. I got my wish only 12 years later and for me, it was 12 years too late. My parents wasted the best years of their lives together and put me though hell while doing it. Some people are just not made to live together. The biggest mistake my parents made was thinking they had to stay together because of me. Try living with that on your shoulders the rest of your life. Bottom line, every one has a different experience when it comes to marriage/divorce. There is no perfect solution for everyone.

  24. Should we ban divorce? Of course not. Banning divorce would be like throwing out the baby with the bath-water.

    What we should do is look to Scripture and adopt the policies of both God and Jesus Christ and adhere to them in regards to both marriage and divorce.

    Naturally the answer to your question is divorce to easy is this: it has become or been made easy by the fact that we have rejected biblical teaching concerning divorce. Christ said marriage was permanent and not to be ended accept for the cause or case of sexual immorality. (Matthew 5 and 19). Sexual immorality is the only reason to permit a divorce, otherwise Christ said that no man is to tamper with marriage.

    Most couples don't "try harder" because first of all, most don't have a full grasp on the permenency of marriage. Second, with society removing the stigma of divorce and making it acceptable, most people fail to see it as it really is.

    There have been a plethera of mass violence incidents related to divorce. A number of spouses have killed multiple family members when relationships have ended.

    Having said that divorce was only permissible for the cause of immorality, common sense must prevail. If a spouse is subjected to illegal activity or abuse, the innocent spouse may separate and seek safety, but not divorce.

    There are ugly consequences to any sin including an abusive marriage.

    If understand if you delete this response. Very few will find agreement. We have chosen to rewrite God's standards of marriage, divorce, and even remarriage for our own convienece and purposes.

  25. So many of my friends have been getting divorced lately. And not for reasons of abuse or because they can't get along, but because they "feel more like roommates" than husband and wife.

    Lately, I worry about their children and can't help think, that for couples who can get along, but just can't find the passion in their marriage, there has to be a better solution that doesn't tear apart the children's household.

  26. I agree that entering into or leaving a marriage should never be taken lightly. But I have a slightly different view on the effect on children.

    My younger son did not have a good marriage. His wife found no joy in being a wife or a mother, something she made very clear to my grandson. The result was an unhappy child who acted out in school and was always in trouble. After trying to make it work for almost eight years, they separated and my grandson stayed with his dad. Within a year, his behavior problems were gone and my grandson was a happy, smiling, little boy.

    The end of a marriage is a sad thing, but divorce is not always bad for the children. Sometimes it's the best thing that could happen.

  27. I don't actually think divorce should be more difficult; I think marriage should. If marriage was something you had to work for, you would value it more. Like Jacob and Rachel. Counselling should possibly happen before marriage.
    Once someone is married, I see no problem with divorce if there are no children.
    Children, though... that complicates things. Studies show across the board that children from troubled and even abusive families are better adjusted as adults than children from broken homes.

    Mostly, I think people need to stop reacting in the moment and stop thinking about themselves all the time.

  28. I so agree! I think divorce should be extremely difficult to obtain and should take a year or more. I think it is an ingredient in what ails us as a society, that and the fact that parents, married or not, work too much and allow technology to babysit their children, using it as a means to make up for the fact that they are simply not around enough.

  29. Unfortunately, everything seem disposable these days including marriages. Attitude seems to be throw it away and start new, rather than the work of making a relationship work.

    The scripture you referenced had to do with treacherous divorces for no good reasons--husbands wanting a younger model and threw away the wife of their youth. In those days it was a big deal because who cared for the wife and the children of the union? That was the husband or husband's family such as in the case of him dying his family or children or both were honor bound to take care of the remaining widow. It was God who said this was treacherous and unexceptable. A bad odor to his nostrils. But there were provisions for divorce on the grounds of adultery. Abuse wasn't allowed either and there were some serious ramifications to offending party.

    Do I think divorces are all too easy to get? Yes. Should they be? No. Counseling prior on building a strong and lasting relationship would also be good idea.

    Divorces have caused much hurt to families and the ease with which you can throw away a spouse doesn't make for a strong family unit. Regardless of the whys the kids think (as kids are wont to do) that they are to blame or they caused it. That holdover-right or wrong-leaves lasting scars and damages future relationships they might have. IMO.

    I think open and honest counseling on coping with the work of a relationship could be a viable option prior to a divorce. Truth is, building and sustaining a good marriage is hard work. Nothing 50/50 about it. I think it's a 100/100% effort to sustain one. There are good years and not so good years and being armed with coping methods to work through the not so good parts and getting it back to good would be good but the coping skills also take work. Not many want to invest in that sort of work, Lee. Or they let hurt feelings and other issues interfere with repairing damaged relationships.

    A good marriage has two good communicators (who also have respect for the other person) and they tend to solve the issues before they become entrenched patterns of stored hurt and anger.

    Banning divorce isn't going to work, imo, because divorce is a symptom of a greater problem and in part, not applying the golden rule to marriage mates. Sounds simple but it's far, far from simple.


  30. It is entirely possible that if Adam Lanza's parents had stayed married, the outcome would have been different only by the number of bodies in the marital bed.

    The happiest marriages I have seen have nothing to do with people sucking it up and making it work because it's too hard to get divorced. They are happy because of good/fair health, good partner selection in the first place and continuing partner compatibility, genuine love for one another, and neither partner being (too) crazy.

    Marriage takes two committed people to make it work, but only one to make it fail. I have seen many people try to make a marriage work for YEARS when their partner is a)abusive b) chronically unfaithful c) substance/behavior addicted (drugs/gambling/shopping). You cannot trap people in a marriage that is not working and that their partner doesn't WANT to make work, and expect good results. It's like a log that takes two people to carry - if the person at the south end decides to drop it or sit on it, no matter how hard the person on the north end struggles, it ain't gonna work.

    And no, there are no studies that show that children from dysfunctional but theoretically intact families are better off than children of divorce.

  31. @Beverly: There certainly are. I've read at least half a dozen.

  32. Faraway eyes -- Great comment so full of truth. Marriage has become a very shallow enterprise of society. As you say there is not a whole lot of deep thought or consideration that goes into the process. I don't deny that bad things can happen in relationships, but I think it's important to understand why those things happen before just running away from them. Legislate morality? I believe it's done all the time--sometimes effectively, but probably mostly not. Most all of our laws have some relation to moral values that relate to those laws. But I understand what you're saying here.

    Elise -- I think there is the perfect solution for those who are willing to make that sacrifice. Greater consequences resulting from divorce might cause more forethought when considering the act and all things relationship related. Love should be more than a sweet song or a romantic story. We as a society have trivialized marriage and family and if it were a more serious issue then we might avoid some of the scenes such as those you and your parents had to deal with.

    Gregg -- No way I'd delete your response as I think you've got it right and I'm in agreement with what you say. They are words a lot of people don't want to hear, but they will and are also paying for this turning away from perfect law.

    Johanna -- If the passion can be revived, then at least they should solidify the respect and sanctity of the institution. The crazy consequences of the previous and present generation's lax attitude toward marriage and family will probably become much worse in the future generations.

    LD -- I think sometimes the feelings get masked. The hurt will be there no matter what, even if tucked away in a place deep inside. Keep watch. The passing years may tell a different story.

    Andrew -- In a future post I will be addressing the marriage issue as you touched upon. I think your last thought is very crucial to the argument at hand: Mostly, I think people need to stop reacting in the moment and stop thinking about themselves all the time. I think this is the biggest problem in the whole deal.

  33. Nancy -- You know who loves divorce the most? Divorce lawyers and in the divorce process that is whose hands families and relationships end up. Not a good scenario. We need to bring the family as the central focus of society. Whatever it takes to keep it strong.

    Sia -- Great thoughts in your comment and I wholeheartedly agree. The commitment has to be equal on both sides even if it involves a bit of sacrifice, and it will involve sacrifice. Even in the issues regarding abuse and unfaithfulness, we need to look deeply and understand why and what can be done.

    Beverly -- The thoughts you raise are good ones and I think they apply mostly to the marriage/relationship process. If things get so bad that divorce becomes the main topic of discussion then I agree that there's not probably much to make things work out. The point is to avoid coming to the divorce precipice. The best decisions have to come before we reach that point.

    Andrew -- I would be inclined to agree with you. I've known a few of these myself, although some of this is deep inside stuff and we don't always see everything. I guess the resulting adults from the children of bad relationships each have their own stories and coping mechanisms. Another area for more research and dialog.


  34. I don’t think divorce should be banned totally. Even if divorce is essentially breaking the “promise” that was made at the altar on the day of the wedding, if both parties feel that the partnership would no longer work, then one way or another, they would find a way to separate from each other. This potentially results in a lot worse things compared to settling it amicably. Plus, it depends on the culture in which the two people grew up in. Different cultures treat marriage and divorce very differently.

    Louisa Matsuura

  35. Lee, way to get a dialogue going. Yes, it's impractical to ban divorce but, like abortion, which is also a touchy topic, I think balance is the key.

    Abortion should be legal in most cases, but women should be really told all their options and young girls shouldn't be free to have an abortion without their parent's knowledge - in most cases. And, 3rd trimester abortion should largely be banned except where the health of the mother is concerned.

    I wrote all that about abortion because the analogy to divorce is strong. Divorce should be allowed, but discouraged. When kids are involved, it should be even more strenuously discouraged. EXCEPT in egregious cases where abuse is involved (verbal or physical).

    But the ease with which "we" can divorce is just that - too easy!

    Good post...

  36. I've taught a lot of kids who've been deeply affected by divorce - with both positive and negative repurcussions. I think banning divorce is probably both impractical and potentially dangerous - but I think we need to look at somehow helping people make better life choices somehow!

  37. Wow, this thought-provoking post has quite a few good comments. I haven't read them all, but I think I get the gist of what everyone is saying.
    I think divorce is too common and believe the only valid reasons for it are cheating (!) and abuse (and of course other things which are destructive to those involved). But I believe the root of the problem lies in where our minds go when thinking about marrying. Sex, money, lust, attraction (though that's important in the very beginning of a relationship), dependence, attention, children, etc should not be considered reasons to get married, and many people believe these good reasons to do so. Sharing in another's life and sharing your life with that person is why you should get married. Other things are pluses in marriage, and as long as two people have a loving and understanding friendship to add those things to, everything should be fine and dandy.
    Divorce happens when people become unhappy with one another (generally speaking). Friends sometimes fall out as they learn more about each other, but there are certain tests of friendship that a couple should pass before they even consider marrying. The mistake most people make is putting their partners in a whole different category from their friends and marrying for the wrong reasons. Friendship is a must, and a lot of divorces happen because of unreasonable expectations that cannot be filled by their spouses. These unreasonable expectations lead to unhappiness, and unhappiness is what leads to divorce. This can be prevented through an understanding and mutual friendship between the two who are married.
    Common misconceptions about marriage are the main cause of divorce, and clearing up these misconceptions before people even consider marrying is an important factor in lowering the divorce rate. Banning divorce outright would probably be just as effective as making drugs illegal.

  38. Louisa -- Perhaps it would serve well for high divorce cultures to examine the lower divorce rate countries to see why this is. And like I say I will be addressing the issue of the marriage act soon.

    Bruce- Thanks. Yes, they are analogous issues because they both relate strongly to issues of morality and family. Options need to be explored when things like these come up and the possible consequences should be laid completely and honestly on the table for full contemplation.

    Jemi -- Yes, good life choices before the choice of divorce even becomes an option because by that time it's usually too late and the damage has been done.

    Faye -- Good job! You got right to some of the roots of the issue. An outright ban on divorce would be highly impractical and unlikely in our society. Awareness about every aspect of marriage should be prevalent. When I went to get my driver's license I had to take a test to make sure that I presumably understood the rules of the road and knew how to drive. I don't recall ever taking a test to get my marriage license. I know some churches require couples to go through some kind of training before getting married in the those churches, but it's not a prerequisite according to the state. I wonder what the divorce rate is among couples who have gone through the training?


  39. Wow. This is a topic that could take weeks to sort out.

    Like anything else, we get out what we put in. Some people are incapable of the kind of commitment that a marriage requires, yet society dictates that we must pair up. So these people do the best they can with that situation.

  40. Yikes - so much on which to comment - great post and even better discussion. Somewhere up there someone referenced a sort of serial marriage. As off beat as that sounds, I like it a lot. I wish the culture could evolve to a place where people needed to choose each other every five years or so. People change. And people work well together at one stage of life but perhaps not at another. If there were an acceptable process for
    're-upping" as it were, then people could choose each other willingly and w/o the messiness of divorce. Within this process there would have to be mandated child support / custody counseling.
    It's far fetched but possible if you think outside what has been the cultural norm.
    ON anoher note, someone referenced schools teaching relationship skills. Wait, aren't schools about educating academically? In so many places, schools are becoming de facto parents - that's not the role of public schools as we have currently set them up. Sure, go ahead and think outside the box here too but then education needs a massive overhaul (which it does anyway but that's another post).
    Finally, as others have noted, make it harder to get married. Require a waiting period - ha! the old fashioned engagement. Require some pre marriage counseling. Help people to see their own fantasies of what marriage is and how to deal with issues that will arise.
    Great post, Arlee.

  41. Good for you Arlee for tackling the tough topics here. When I worked in law enforcement, I saw plenty of married couples that needed to get away from each other--some had gotten to the point where they used their children simple as pawns in an ego game.

    I think if we invested time developing good and honorable people who get married for the right reasons, and view it as a long-term commitment, we won't really have to address divorce as it will be less of an option.

  42. Very interesting topic, and definitely not any of the ideas I had floating around as to what it might be.

    You raise some interesting points about the harm that can be caused from divorce. I have never been divorced, and my parents are still married (38 years,my maternal grandparents divorced when my mom was very young, so that's what I'm bringing to the table as far as family experience goes.

    I don't think divorce should be banned, and I don't think that making it harder to obtain one is a good idea.

    Most religions state that divorce is a sin (it seems that the degree of sin differs from religion to religion) and you quote scripture to back that up. But what about those of us who do not believe in the bible, who are atheist, agnostic, or have other reasons for not accepting the bible as an authority?

    Then marriage becomes a contract, or a promise, not a divinely sanctioned institution. It becomes something entered into by two consenting adults; the ending of which becomes a legal matter, to be handled in court.

    The court system is already burdened enough without having to drag out the process of divorce, and it's not there for the purpose of determining which marriages might be savable. It is simply there for the "stuff" side; to determine the terms of the end of the partnership, and in some cases to protect one party from abuse, etc.

    As far as the point you raise about no fault divorces; they aren't always what they seem to be. They are often the cheapest, quickest route to getting a divorce, and can sometimes be used when one party is afraid of the other. I had a very good friend who was divorced on the grounds of being separated for one year (that state's version of no fault). Her husband was very physically abusive, but because he was in law enforcement and she didn't want him to lose his job she chose to divorce him on the basis of a one year separation. I don't think she should have been required to stay with him, or had a harder time divorcing him. She could easily be dead right now had that happened.

    Now, I do believe in marriage, and I do believe it should last forever. After all, you are vowing to spend your life with someone. BUT, a lot of things should be one way, but are quite another. You can't just say that just because something SHOULD be one way that we have the right to MAKE it that way for everyone.

    No one outside of a marriage can really know what that marriage is like. Things look a lot different from the outside looking in, and only the two people involved know the full story, so I think they are the only two people truly in a position to know if their marriage can be saved or needs to end.

    Also, not to get off topic, but I just don't think you can blame divorce for violent acts. You always hear that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, but you don't hear about roughly half of the population going on shooting rampages. Eventually we all have to take some responsibility for our actions.

  43. Liz -- Commitment can be taught if the student is willing to learn. Likewise a troubled marriage can only be saved if both parties are willing to work on it.

    Gracie -- Schools are becoming institutional absurdity that provides mass babysitting for parents who have better things to do than raise kids. But I won't get started on that topic--at least not in this post. I'm not sure about the serial marriage--that seems to be the problem we are talking about to some extent. I don't think people change in their core essence, but I think they are often impatient, bored, disillusioned, and other things that provide negative impetus to prolonged marriage.

    Slamdunk -- you've hit a key issue that I will address in my future post about marriage.

    Danielle -- There are numerous cases of violence either directly attributed to divorce or probably indirectly influenced by divorce. Off hand I recall the beauty shop shootings in the beach city not far from where I live. I've heard of many other cases as well of not just killings, but other forms of violent and destructive behavior. As far as the religious component related to divorce, most laws have roots in religious law which in turn has strong elements of common sense and natural law. If non-religious types deny logic then they are either in denial or wishing detrimental change that would alter society in a very bad way. The communists tried and were successful to a degree in spreading their belief system, but we see that Communism is basically a failing and unworkable system. Marriage and family is the natural order of things and I don't believe a brave new world order of things is a healthy world.


    Before I get too deeply into this topic, let me start out with a light touch by axing: Did you know there was a famous baseball "character" known as "Spaceman Lee"? All these times I've called you "Boidman Lee" you had no idea I was making a baseball reference, didja?

    Alright, seriously now... I think this blog bit was GREAT! One of the best you've ever posted. Uncharacteristically, I'm going to keep my comment short. I've never been married (and I've only been divorced 6 or 7 times), so my opinion is not based on firsthand experiences.

    There's a lot I could write here, most of it would be based on "that" Book this country no longer values.

    I didn't read ALL of the comments posted here, but I read a good number of them, and I think this blog bit elicited some extremely intelligent comments.

    One of the very, Very, VERY best comments was posted by my good friend FarAwayEyes, but I must disagree with her over one particular point. She wrote:

    >> . . . the real problem is that you can’t legislate morality

    We really need to stop saying that. The first time I heard that expression I was probably 10 years old, and it came from the lips of my Pa. I even repeated it to other folks a few times over the years. But when I got older and began to study things on my own, I realized that this expression is entirely incorrect.

    We can't "legislate morality"? We do it all the time; we have ALWAYS done it. Is murder immoral? Is stealing immoral? Is bearing false witness against another person immoral? YES! They are ALL immoral. And we have laws on the books against them, and against many other "immoral" acts.

    So we need to stop parroting that phrase "You can't legislate morality", because we have ALWAYS done so. That's not to say that ALL morality has legislation attached to it, because in some instances, depending upon who you talk to, the question of "morality" is in question.

    But many of the BASIC moral issues are not only universal but have laws, or legislation, that have been passed in regards to them.

    I also want to say that... [*pinch me*] ...I think Andrew Leon ROCKED in this comment section. Yeah, yeah, I know - sometimes I just want to hit my Brother Andrew with a Louisville Slugger [I know you're reading this, "NO THANKS, LEON"] - but in this case I was probably in total agreement with what he posted,

    In fact, his statement contradicting Beverly's claim regarding studies concerning children from "broken families", is SPOT-ON! I've probably read all the same studies Andrew has alluded to and he is ENTIRELY CORRECT! (Dumb me, I NEVER thought I'd say that about him.)

    Lee, YOU rock! Andrew, YOU rock! FAE, YOU rock!

    Lots of people in this comment section ROCK!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  45. StMc -- WE were really rocking and rolling in this post, eh? No, I had no idea about "Spaceman Lee", but you probably know I don't keep up with sports all that much.

    I agree there were some outstanding comments here. And in my response to FAE I pointed out essentially the same thing about legislating morality.

    I had my qualms about dealing with this issue, but now I see that it pretty well elicited generally the same feelings as I have about the topic for the most part. But I guess it's really kind of hard to make a case defending divorce even if you've been divorced. I can make a reasonable defense for both of my divorces, but they were still wrong and negative acts that didn't contribute much that was positive to our society. It happened though and things turned out okay thank God.


  46. Damn it, LEE, I knew I got outta here too easy!

    There were two other things I meant to mention:

    You wrote:

    >> . . . After all, one of the goals of Communism is to defeat the structure of organized religions and destroy traditional values to be replaced with Newthink where all is for the good of the state.

    That's exactly correct. Below is a quote directly from Karl Marx's 'Communist Manifesto':

    "Communists everywhere SUPPORT EVERY REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT AGAINST THE EXISTING SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ORDER OF THINGS. Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible OVERTHROW OF ALL EXISTING SOCIAL CONDITIONS."

    Also, I want to add that [as I just posted on DiscConnected's excellent 'BACK IN THE USSR' blog], it is my belief that divorce, like ultra-violent entertainment and a lacking spiritual upbringing, is just one component that can play an instrumental role in turning a child into a violent adult.

    There are several important factors that can contribute to this unfortunate outcome, but some research will show that, in modern times, the most significant common denominator in these nonsensical violent outbursts (i.e., indiscriminate public shootings) is the taking of "psychiatric" drugs.

    OK, I'm (really) done here now.

    Yak Later, Bro...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  47. Banning divorce wouldn't resolve the issue of violence stemming from divorce. It would just be tacked onto something else. In my day job I come across many effects of divorce - namely the families that are left behind. Even if the couple wasn't married, they just lived together for a really long time, it is still a dissolution of a relationship.

    Men move on and have children in another relationship, and if that falls apart also, they just move on and make another family. You know how many times I have a family sitting at my desk, them men as eager as the women to give information about an absent parent; the guys stating he wouldn't have to be on welfare if so-and-so would just pay his child support. Meanwhile, the new hubby also left behind children he cannot afford to support because he has this new family (one or two mutual children) to support.

    The concept of divorce doesn't apply to just legal marriage. Any relationship that results in children as a byproduct is bound to be detrimental to the emotional stability of the kids.

    As someone above mentioned, we are a throw away society - and families and relationships are as disposable as the bottles and cans I recycle.

    And; I was divorced three times before I learned my lesson that I wasn't cut out for marriage. We tried the counseling route for the last one and all it did was stir up more anger. The relationship has vastly improved since the divorce, and separate houses.


  48. What in the world would the Britney Spears and Kim Kardashians of the world do with no divorce?! How would they get the attention they so desperately need!?

    On second thought, maybe we should ban it...



  49. Lee and STMc – The correct phrase should probably be; ‘You can’t legislate morality, EFFECTIVELY’. The government can TRY to legislate morality, but in light of all the other recent discussions I would ask; ‘how’s that working out for them?’ And exactly whose, or maybe more distinctly, what twisted type of morality are they trying to legislate?

    Yeah, there are laws on the books against murder, stealing and lying. Yeah, they all have their basis in morality decreed by God and his prophets and taught in word and deed by His Son, Jesus Christ, BUT the fact is those ‘laws of man’ don’t really seem to be stopping a lot of folks.

    I’m happy to stand corrected from the phrase ‘You can’t legislate morality,’ to one that reads ‘You can’t legislate morality, effectively’, because I hold to the belief that until people are willing to turn their hearts toward God and live by the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ we will have wickedness among us. We will have attempts to destroy everything and everyone who is good and shows the slightest degree of integrity.

    Naw, you can try to legislate it, you can write all the laws you want, but until it’s written on your heart and you turn not away from the Lord, it ain’t gonna matter. Don’t believe me check it out, after all, ‘it is written’.

    ONE OTHER THING I would like to mention; Anyone who thinks that a divorce does not affect children adversely must be in a coma. I’ve read comments from adults and personally known a few who think their lives would have been better had their parents not stayed together ‘for the children’, but they can’t possibly know what it would have been like. Children are sacred and deserve the right to a family. Children who don’t have a family (both parents raising them together) suffer and are affected for life. These children go on to affect society, often in a very negative manner.

    OK, now you can get your torches and pitchforks.

  50. StMc -- The connections between violent entertainment, lack of values, and broken families seems so obvious yet continually denied by many. The drug issue you mention is one I've seen cited several times.

    Donna - You're right. The problems are not just divorce related, but that and all other issues of family dysfunction come from common seeds of selfishness and lack of a moral compass. Family involves sacrificing a certain amount of self-interest and unwillingness to do that will result in unhappiness within the family.

    Valerie-- There is a backhanded wisdom in your humor. Thank you.

    Faraway eyes-- I understood what you were saying and I understand your further explanation. And I agree. It's the age old rebellion of the evil in the heart of all of us. We must have a respect for God, society, and/or the law to rein in that evil. Self-interest becomes the ultimate downfall that leads us to break the law.


  51. I graduated from high school in 2007...and I already know people from my class who are divorced. I agree that people of my generation don't seem to take it as seriously as people from my parents' and grandparents' generation seem to - but then again, I feel like the blame can't entirely be put on "kids today." I do happen to take marriage seriously, and have no plans to get married any time in the near future, because I was raised by parents who've been married 25 years, who've worked to keep their marriage together even under less than desirable circumstances (my dad's multiple deployments), and who have emphasized my entire life that I shouldn't make such a huge commitment unless I'm ready to.

    On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who have divorced parents, who have no idea how healthy relationships should work because their only example - their parents - is a very, very unhealthy relationship. I think that plays a part in the number of my peers who are already divorced. Should they have gotten married in the first place? Maybe not. But the blame can't be placed squarely on them. Who raised them?

    Finally, skimming other comments, I've seen a lot of people tossing out the idea of having kids take classes in school. Schools do everything they can, even in the curriculum that's already there - group projects, etc. are meant to help develop people skills as much as teach students about whatever learning objective there is. In my opinion, those people skills are probably one of the most important skills that we can teach. But as for taking a class that explicitly teaches people skills and interpersonal relationships...where are we supposed to find the time for that? We're too busy trying to make sure the kids pass all those federally mandated tests, not to mention all those librarians we've had to cut :)

  52. The "librarians" comment I made was in reference to budget cuts, which failed to make it into my comment. Just clarifying!

  53. Geez! This is such a debating subject I am missing for technical problems but I'll comment anyway. My parents are divorced. It was the best thing they could do for the sanity and welfare of 5 members of the family. They got out the worst on each other, against each other and against their children. I would have something to say to anyone who would tell me God "hates" anything. If god "hates" something, then he is not my God, for my God doesn't hate anything. Hate is a human attribute and actually the very source of violence.

    There are times when divorce is absolutely necessary, least marriage ends in murder. I know in my case it would have. Generilizing that all divorce is wrong is a mistake, from my point of view.

  54. Many many issues here. As a teacher, I saw the results of divorce. Tried to talk to parents about the effects this was having on the children, but never ever changed the way the child was already scarred.

    Divorce should be the last intervention. Good strong united parenting needs to happen no matter what.

  55. I've read most of the first comments and agree with everyone that divorce should be less easy to obtain. And marriage should be more difficult to acquire. And I especially agree with Alex. And with you about children. Along with counseling for the parents, the children should be required to attend family counseling as well.

  56. Stephanie ---Excellent contribution to the discussion. No way do I play the "kids" or the newer generations. Like you say they have learned from example. The biggest part of the problem started in the 60's. As far as classes, it would be probably unproductive if morality wasn't part of the equation and these days morality can be a subject many want to steer clear of. I won't even get into the mandated testing and budget cuts. That's another post.

    Al -- Sometimes it's not that divorce is the only solution, but it's the only solution that selfish individuals are willing to make. Sure, on the surface it may seem that divorce was the best thing to do and good came from it--in some ways that's probably true--but divorce is a negative action that erodes our culture. This fact is enough to say that all divorce is wrong, but it may be the best solution under the circumstances. The "God hates" quote comes from the Bible. It's kind of like the adage of "Hate the sin, but don't hate the sinner". It's reasonable to hate many things--even for God.

    Susan -- So many people who resort to divorce or defend it as a reasonable alternative can't see past their own self interests. Divorce is bigger than just two individuals even when children aren't part of the equation.

    Carol -- Great point. Often the feelings of the children are not considered as part of the decision. The adults rationalize what's best even though the thinking is not very clear in most cases.


    Don't feel offended. I essentially agree with your most recent comment.

    Our society does, and always has, "legislated [some] morality". That simply means that we have ATTEMPTED to control some moral issues by passing laws pertaining to them.

    Has it worked? I would say Yes AND No. Do people still murder? Do people still steal? Do people still bear false witness?

    Obviously the answer to all those questions is Yes.

    But... have laws against those acts diminished the number of their occurrences? Probably so. I'm sure there have been innumerable times in American history when people have had the thought: I WOULD steal that but... I'm afraid I'd get caught. Or, I WOULD kill that S.O.B. but... I'm afraid I'd get caught.

    And they know what "getting caught" means.

    So, Yes, we DO legislate (some) morality. And, Yes, it has had SOME impact. But have we EFFECTIVELY (or maybe better yet, SUCCESSFULLY) legislated (some) morality? NO. Obviously not.

    And I TOTALLY agree with you about the necessity of the Law of God being written on someone's heart, and that mankind will NEVER legislate away something when "it is written".

    I do NOT need a law on the books to keep me from stealing; I would not steal from another person whether there was a law against it or not. I know you wouldn't either.

    In my opinion, your comments here were quite likely the best I read. I merely wanted to say that we need to stop using that old expression "You can't legislate morality" because not only do we sometimes try to, but in some cases it DOES have a positive effect. A minimal positive effect, to be sure, but some laws DO make some people "think twice".

    Yak Later . . .

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  58. Lee, You have started a great discussion. So many good thoughts are shared here. I agree with the general sentiment and cannot add much to what has been said. If we would all get out of our own way a bit more, and follow Jesus as believers, if we would stop putting ourselves first, and as Jesus says, put others before ourselves, if we would follow the Scriptures instead of our emotions, we would all be in a better place. It starts with those of us in the church. Are we willing to be who we are called to be in order to impact our society? Perhaps then divorce would be on the decline and we would all be loving like it was meant to be. Thanks for asking the question and starting the dialogue. God bless, Maria,

  59. Maria -- So right about putting others first. Divorce more of an act of self love than it has anything to do with lack of love between two parties who made a life commitment.


  60. Lee-

    Once again, I am so late to the party that I do nt have time to read all the comments, so I apologize if I repeat the obvious.

    I like the idea of making it harder.

    For many years, I have said that as a society, we went from a stigma on anyone who was divorced (not a good thing) to making it TOO EASY (no-fault divorce, $200 divorce are two signs I pass regularly).

    I think you can get a divorce with ten Redbox DVD rentals these days.

    I don't like the idea of counseling, as some suggested, because I am suspicous of who would do the counseling and what agenda they may have.

    Since the Catholic church (I still consider myself Catholic, albiet somewhat lapsed of late) gave an annullment to my friend's wife (she had a ten-year old son-I'd say she consumated that marriage), I am even a little skeptical of THEIR motives.

    But divorce does impact the children adversely, and the breakdown of the family has caused problems in our society. And most importantly, raising kids looks like hard work to me, so I'd think having two people to share the work load is a good idea.

    Sometimes that God feller knew what he was talking about in that there book.

    (it's not blasphemy, it's a joke!)

    I believe we need to restore divorce to where it is something to be avoided.


  61. Larry - I know what you're saying about the counseling. The other problem is that for the counseling to work both parties have to be 100% in the game or the counseling is futile. I know, I've been through that deal. If one party wants out, the counseling is unlikely to change minds. And the agenda thing can be a problem as well. The point of counseling should be that the marriage is going to stay together and this is how it's going to happen. It would be more of an education process rather than just getting in touch with feelings and that sort of nonsense. Divorce sucks and that's what God knows about it. He doesn't want everyone to have to suffer through it and leave a but of negativity behind in the process.


  62. So glad I guessed right--thanks for highlighting my blog and your kind comments about me.

    As for divorce--here's what I believe:
    --let it be a last resort after first having tried to work on the relationship, getting help (like counseling) if needed
    --if there's abuse, get help and get out
    --if children are involved, consider what they need first. Children aren't as resilient as adults like to think, not when it comes to core feelings of belonging, love, and abandonment. Especially young children often feel guilty and responsible for their parent's divorce--heartbreaking. Help children, if divorce is the decision. Don't take for granted they're alright even if they act otherwise.

    Recently I saw an interesting play on the subject called "Undo." The premise was that a divorcing couple can't complete the dissolution of their marriage without first having to repeat the ritual of their marriage in all its details. The ritual is supposed to either confirm or help the couple reassess the decision. In the play, all the people who attended the original wedding are invited to attend the divorce. Thought-provoking idea, no?


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