Tuesday, August 30, 2005

L is for Leprosy

One of the problems that divorced people face is the attitude of our culture towards divorce. Divorced people are seen as being unethical people who care more about their social and sex lives than about their vows and offspring. They are excluded from groups and shunned in gatherings – almost as if they had leprosy. Men get the worst of it, because they are assumed to be at fault. They hear obnoxious comments about ‘having a middle age crisis’ and ‘thinking with their little head’ even by those who should know better. When men complain that they are getting shafted in the divorce and post-divorce actions, people argue that ‘that is the price you pay’, or that ‘you should have thought about that before you had children’. Add to that the condemnation of the church – the Catholic Church, for instance, is more forgiving of murderers than of divorced people – just confess and repent, and you can be forgiven and receive the sacraments, but if your ex-spouse is still alive, you can’t be forgiven for divorce. (See, not only the state treats murderers better than divorced men.)

Well I have two news flashes for the world:
1) Most men don’t file for divorce – Women file for divorce twice as often as men.
2) Divorced men aren’t suffering from a middle age crisis – women in their 40s are filing for 66% of the divorces, and infidelity is not usually a reason for the divorce.

I don’t feel that divorce itself is evil. If you follow the teachings of the church closely, (and most people have some sort of faith) you will probably NOT be intimate with, or cohabit with your spouse prior to marriage, and this leads to many persons who are just incompatible being married - they just don't know their spouse. On the other hand, cohabitation won’t do you any good if you aren’t very willing to leave in search of a better partner, and once people are living together, they often feel that they must marry to justify their flaunting of convention. Once married, they may realize that they have made a huge mistake – which marrying the wrong person is. Sometimes they struggle with their marriage to this wrong person for years and years, sliding farther into despair as they go along, with the pressure of community, church, and state on them to keep trying to ‘make it work’ and ‘stay for the children’. So our culture pushes people into marriage who shouldn’t be there, tries to keep them there, no matter how awful it is, and then condemns them when they divorce.

What about the children though? Those innocent victims of divorce whose lives are torn apart? Shouldn’t people stay together ‘for the children’ if they have had some? I say no. Although our culture often seems to believe that marriage is about children, it is not. Children are an important responsibility that comes out of a marriage, but fundamentally, a marriage is a union between two people who love each other. If that love dies, and cannot be rekindled, staying in that marriage is a little piece of hell, like being nailed into a coffin with the corpse of someone you once loved, except that the corpse isn’t a quiet cohabitant, no it keeps grabbing you, or, most likely, abusing you in a variety of ways. Forcing someone to remain in a situation like that is a crime, and leads to hatred – and a household full of hatred is not a good place to raise children. Far better, after making a reasonable effort to save the marriage, to split and remain as amicable as possible, then to stay and create a living hell on earth.

So, people, get it through your heads; sometimes divorce is the best solution possible, men don’t just abandon marriages for the next cute thing that comes along, and the statistics show that if anything, middle-aged men are just stable as their younger counterparts, and possibly more stable. It’s time our culture learned that divorced people aren’t incurably evil. It’s time to stop treating them like lepers.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that it is difficult to "know your spouse" in any case. Premarital cohabitating is an option to "try her out" before commiting - but that has even lead some men to state, "things changes immediately after we got married"...go figure.

Why is it that woman take it as their number one job to be the moral and social architect for the man and the relationship?
Wasnt there something in the man's personality that attracted the female in the first place? Or was it his "potential" (i.e. money making ability)?