Why Divorce is Bad
Recently there was a divorce scare in my family. The couple in question had some problems and the wife decided that they should separate and she moved out. Fortunately after a few months they patched things up and they are now back together in the family home.
But as you can imagine it got me thinking again on this topic.
I was 5 when no fault divorce was made law in Australia, I've known many divorced people, including my own parents. I often heard when I was young, when divorce was also in a sense young, that it was better for people to divorce if they were unhappy and that it was better for the children as they didn't have to live with two parents who hated each other. But over the years my experience of seeing divorce and divorced people was quite different, I learnt that divorce was responsible for alot of human misery.
But if divorce is so bad why do people get divorced?
When a man wants a divorce, 9 times out of 10 another women is involved. You would think that a man who was abused, cheated on, belittled or humiliated would divorce, but they tend to stay married. Men tend to be doubtful that the grass is greener in the other field, unless he has found out it really is greener. Men's natural pessimism makes them stick it out, even when things are bad.
Women are much more complex, they divorce for the most serious as well as the most trivial reasons. Women have been granted divorces for everything from their husband confessed to being a serial killer to I want to be free. If my wife confessed to being a serial killer I think I'd want a divorce as well, if she "wanted to be free" I'd tell her she was pathetic. Sadly in no fault divorce any reason is good enough no matter how trivial.
Liberalism has, if you'll excuse the pun, liberalised divorce laws from something that only God through the Church could grant, to something only Parliament could grant, to today where there are thousands of Judges around the world who's only job is to grant divorces and deal with the legal aftermath. But from Liberalism's point of view it makes total sense. If the aim of Liberalism is the autonomous individual, and it is, then people have to be free to make as many choices as they possibly can and they need to be protected from the consequences of those choices. And as marriage is a choice so should being unmarried.
Liberalism has very high and mighty ideals, but sadly most of them tend to boil down to "I can do anything I want, simply because I want to". Morals, loyalty, the good of others, the good of society are all absent because they interfere with choice.
Divorce is simply another way for Liberalism to create autonomous individuals. Because when you think about it marriage is a real problem for Liberalism. Married people are dependent upon each other, when they aren't a marriage doesn't tend to last.
The premise of divorce is that if your married and you have problems, you can fix those problems through divorce. It turns out that in nearly all cases that premise is wrong. Because the real reason they have problems is because of life. Life creates problems, each of us has been mistreated in life and it affects how we think of ourselves and how we relate to others, that's natural. Unfortunately so are disappointments and money worries, as is conflict. Our spouse will disappoint us, they will be stupid, we will fight with them, sometimes most annoyingly they will be right and all of this is natural.
But many people believe that marriage is about happiness and that our partners job is to make us happy. So if we are unhappy then our partner is responsible. And instead of pushing our way through bad times, we instead decide that the problem is our partner. That if we got rid of them we'd finally be happy. It is all about self.
When a divorce takes place it destroys not only a marriage but a family. Husband and wife are not simply two people, by joining together they become a family. Children add to that family. But divorce means that all of that is gone.
One of the things that people learn first hand about divorce is that it is a great destroyer of wealth. All the assets of a marriage now need to be divided. How do you divide a house? Either one party gets control and deprives the other or the house is sold. Money is divided, meaning that if a couple have $10,000 in the bank and it is divided equally, then we now have two bank accounts of $5000. Each making less interest then if it was a lump sum. That happens to all money, bonds, superannuation, etc.
Husbands, in most cases, earn more than wives, that means that after a divorce a women's standard of living drops and stays down. A mans standard of living also falls, but in time it will most likely improve. A women loses her husbands income and while she will find others it will rarely match let alone better what she had while married.
Couples save more money then men and men save more money then women. Partly that's because they make more money, but partly it's about thinking of the future. Couples see a future, men think about the future and women tend to be more focused on the here and now. That means that over time women are poorer than men and men are poorer than couples. You'll find exceptions of course but as a general rule it holds up. Financially it's a mess.
I haven't even mentioned children. Most people believe that their children are the most important thing in the world. But in a divorce either one parent loses their children or the children get to become the rope in a tug of war. I struggle to give advice on what to do about children to people I know who have gone through a divorce. Is it better to fight and for everyone to get hurt, and they do get hurt or is it better to not fight and just give up? Does that lead to less hurt or more? Is there any way to have a divorce and not end up with hurt parents and children? I've never seen a way. Here divorce isn't bad, it's bloody evil!
And at the end is the personal cost, no matter who started it or who gets the most, no one really wins. Every divorce is a failure, a betrayal and a heartache. The man loses, the women loses, the children definitely lose and society loses. Divorce is bad.
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