The result has been shocking…. But the genesis is not.
In 1969 CALIFORNIA was the first state to pass a unilateral divorce law, making it possible for a man or woman to file for divorce for no reason without the need to prove any wrongdoing on the part of his/her spouse. No fault divorce. Substantial oxymoron, no?
At the time, the height of the women’s lib movement and, some might say, the point in our nation’s history when liberalism picked up a full head of steam, No-Fault divorce was spun as a protection for women. It’s proponents said it would allow women to get out of bad, dangerous marriages more easily. America bought it. By 1985 nearly every state in the nation had passed similar laws. Now, 40 years later, we are living with the greater, more profound outcome. And, it’s not good. Easily obtained divorce has made marriage disposable in the eyes of many… TOO many.
Divorce should not be easy. Not easy to obtain and NOT EASY to decide upon. The causes and consequences are by no means easy. Divorce leaves before it and behind it a path of destruction…. financial, emotional, social, spiritual, and often even physical. In a day and time when hearing news of couple after couple among my peer group and those older than us getting divorced, my heart is burdened. As a child of divorce, I lived first hand and subsequently had to heal from the wounds of divorce.
Something has to be done. Not only are pre-marital counseling and education more important now than ever before, but the faith-based community and government must take steps to help divorce-proof more marriages. Often, the world’s financial, social and inter-personal stresses are too overwhelming for couples who were probably not strongly-enough bonded in the first place. Marriage has become an “it’s great while it’s pleasant” institution and couples are not made aware ahead of time the amount of work marriage can take at times. Most “marriage counseling” is more like “divorce prep.” If couples were educated, given resources for avoiding divorce and rebuilding marriage, and offered on-going marriage health check-ups and education, we’d see a decline in break-ups and the devastation that comes along with them. The cost of divorce is not simply financial. Divorce impact statistics touch on everything from the future success (or failure) of the children of divorce, increased poverty of divorced women, greater amounts of depression and substance abuse post-divorce, etc.
Many states have realized the severe consequences and costs of divorce and have begun taking steps to lower the rates, slow the process and incentivize the pursuit of marriage preservation and reconciliation. These efforts are supported by a majority of Americans and deserve our attention and encouragement.
Desert News recently published a great article and several resource articles on “Reforming Divorce.” They contain useful and information and tools.
(Laws to Preserve Families – Reforming Divorce) http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765589896/Reforming-Divorce-Changing-laws-to-preserve-families.html?pg=2
(Navigating the Divorce Wilderness)
(The Cost of Divorce)
(The Hardships of Divorce)
Let’s share with these articles with others. Let’s make the conversation about saving marriage, not divorce rates. Truth is, we never know which couples are struggling, but we know the divorce rates are way too high and the outcome is chipping away at our nation.