The Truth of Divorce:
Divorce is an epidemic in our society! However, I argue that it should not be.
In college, I studied a lot of research from a man named Dr. John Gottman. Gottman is the country’s leading psychology researcher on marital satisfaction and divorce. He described incidences when he, or therapists working under his institute, worked with couples who decided to get divorced, simply because people around them were getting divorced. In his studies he had cases of several divorces in extended families, in church communities, or even in office environments all within a year or two of each other.
When two people get divorced, they are signaling to those around them that it is okay to follow them.
The Divorce Culture:
Divorce culture is very real in our society. It is no longer taboo, shameful, nor unexpected. I have a dear friend who grew up in a family where nearly every aunt/uncle/grandparent and her own parents were divorced. When she was planning her wedding, family members actually told her, “If this or that detail doesn’t work out this time, you can do it at your second wedding.”
Second wedding?? They actually expected that for her. Thankfully, she and her husband are not solely products of their families, but well-formed independent adult Catholics who understand the truth and beauty of marriage. They do not see divorce as an option.
Today, divorce seems to be more expected than a stable marriage!
Can We Change It?
Did you know the average length of marriage is 7-8 years? I’ve heard people say a ten year marriage qualifies as a “good run”! As someone who was mercifully spared growing up in a divorce culture, these stories and statistics shocked me when I went to college. Why would so many people waste their time with lies of fidelity just to terminate their marriage.
I believe a large contributing factor is that we have conditioned ourselves to be softened to the idea of divorce. I’ve known three women around my age who are already married and divorced (one of them re-married now). They all described their divorces as “splitting up.” As if it were a breakup with a boyfriend. Now, a trend on the rise is having “divorce parties” which are basically bachelorette parties when you end your marriage instead of right before you start it. Divorce is no longer a terrible thing we don’t talk about, or even a normal thing we are used to. Divorce is celebrated. Isn’t this a tragic commentary on our times?
What God has joined together, let no man put asunder. Marriage is hard. But we’re called to that hardness and that difficulty. We are made for the crosses of marriage. Separation is not something we desire. We are not made for being broken. Thus, we are not made for divorce.