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The Real Reason Divorce Rates Are Up

At least once a month it seems as if we are reading another report about divorce rates, why we should or shouldn’t worry, what is or isn’t accurate, and of course, how society is falling apart at the seams.

I know I’m not worried. I, for one, see an improvement in society.

Why are there so many divorces these days? The answer seems simple to me; because people can actually choose to divorce, and the consequences aren’t devastating. Certainly not what they used to be; especially for women; we should all be breathing a sigh of relief! Think of the days gone by, when women were forced to marry as a means of survival as we weren’t permitted to have occupations outside of nannies and the like. Outside of that, think of the reputation of women who did not stay with their husbands; they were ruined for life. They could not find another mate nor were they acceptable members in society.

In days gone by, people were more religious, and held on to a fear of their “God.” They lived by rigid standards and seldom divorced no matter what misery they lived in. The word of the day was sacrifice, to ad nauseam; so often people remained in their cages and watched their life pass them by while they tried to deny their regret. And why? Because they always did what they were told they should do; getting married and “settling down” was at the top of the list.

So often I hear people sigh and say they long for the fifties and the sixties; ah, those simpler times, slow paced, family morals…my mother does this. And I say, “Boy I’m glad I wasn’t around then!” Women were still considered property! What choice would I have had then? Settle down to be a housewife? And have no say in the matter? Or go to college to take classes in etiquette and household management, before settling down as a housewife?

I, personally, don’t even believe in marriage – the legally contracted marriage, anyway (I’m very pro-relationship). We’ll delve into that further in another piece, but for those who do choose to do it often rush into it too young. They suffer from the illusion that they have to marry to prove they’ve “grown up.” Age, in studies, has proven to be a determining factor in the demise of a relationship. Anytime I’m told that someone under at least 25 is getting married, I find myself inhaling a sharp breath before I fake my smile and congratulations. Rarely someone under 25 is well-acquainted enough with themselves and stable enough in their own life to consider marriage. It is critical to get to know yourself and life your own life a bit before you decide to attach it to another.

People also blame the loss of religion in the matter of divorce. I have to admit that I smiled when I read a recent study in the matter of divorce; the truth of the matter is the HIGHEST divorce rates are in the states where MOST conservative Christians live! The three states that banned gay marriage with such venom – Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi – had the highest divorce rates in 2003, and the state in which gay marriage is legal, and is home to many popular liberal politicians – Massachusetts – had the lowest divorce rate!

Now, many Christians might like to argue that it’s because so many couples in Massachusetts cohabitate other than marry, (not a bad choice) but the study shows that has nothing to do with it, the statistic would remain. And why? They are more educated; they have the highest rate of high school and college graduation both. They also wait later to settle after they have established their self, both mentally and financially.

Here’s another kicker – divorce rates are HIGH among those who hold off on sex until marriage. Let’s just say it kinds of skews the judgment of those people and they aren’t looking at the situation and prospective partnership objectively. Hormones might be taking the reins, I think, rushing unprepared people into marriage for the…rewards. Thus again it is shown that cohabitation outside of marriage has real value.

But, I regress; the point is simply this – when people feel free to do what they should in accordance with their own personal matters, that is good, and that is progress. Why complain that someone has the freedom to do what they choose? Think of the past when people wanted to divorce but couldn’t or wouldn’t due to unreasonable demands imposed by society.

We are always growing and changing. When two people become attached young, and share the same goals and ideas then, they cannot possibly know whether or not that will change. They cannot predict growth in the same direction; at some point, they may become incompatible. Not to the fault of either, per se, sometimes it is inevitable and if they decide that they should no longer be together, and that in doing so they would inhibit each other’s progression, who’s to say they should stay married for the sake of staying married? I, personally, think this is sad, and most shameful. I know I wouldn’t want to hold someone to me that ought not to be with me, even if it was good once. And I’d feel serious resentment towards a person who would attempt to impose that upon me. I would think that a terrible strike against one’s character. The notion of a lifelong promise to another person (’til death do us part) is far from reasonable. How can anyone promise that, or be held to it? The only permanent commitment one can make it to oneself or to one’s child. Really, it’s human nature.

People complain that divorces happen willy-nilly. That the first time someone runs into trouble, they divorce. Let me pose this question – so what if it is true? I say, if someone realizes early on that they made a bad decision and decide to get out right away, I commend them. Good for them, I say, to not force themselves to endure years of agony. Why stick around and see if you can make it tolerable, if you’ve already recognized that it isn’t right for you? And who can make the right decision for a person, outside of that person? And what value does a life long marriage really have in the life of this person, or to society as a whole?

Another reason that divorce rates are so high is that people aren’t going about relationships the right way, there is still the poisonous mindset of put someone else first and sacrifice you. That is what causes the problem! (Read my article about why selflessness is not a virtue.) You cannot be good to another person unless you do put yourself first. When you know what you value and your own personal happiness is on the very top of your list, only then will you attract someone with whom you can share true harmony.

The world that I want to live in is the world that, should I make a mistake, and choose to correct it and set my life on the course of MY choosing, does not interfere. So I scoff at divorce statistics. Big deal. Show me some statistics of how people feel happier and more freedom. That would be some statistics of value.

Source: “To Avoid Divorce, Move to Massachusetts,” By Pam Belluck, New York Times, 11-14-04

Chloe Logan is here just to sound off, mostly.  View profile

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