Tuesday, November 9, 2010
High Divorce Rates: What Are The Causes?
Recently, I've heard and read so much about marriage, divorce and the high divorce rates nowadays that I have decided to give my opinion on the issues. I've read and heard very diverse opinions on what causes marriages to fail and end in divorce and why that is happening way too often nowadays. Many things have been offered as the reasons for this high rates. Things like money or lack of it have been blamed by some. Yet others have blamed it on the increasing success of women in the work place which has given them higher earning powers. The higher earning power school contend that the fact that more women earn more money than their male partners helps increase the divorce rates because, they believe, many men are not comfortable with women who are financially independent.
There are other schools of thought on this issue but I have decided to tackle this two because they contain, in part or in whole, the rest of the arguments from the other schools.
The first I'll tackle is the money, or lack of money school which believes that too much money or too little money could be bad for marriages. They believe that poverty can exert a very huge strain on marriages and in many cases causes marriages to fail and end in divorce. They claim that the many squabbles that can arise from a family's inability to take care of many of their basic needs have a tendency to accumulate into the kind of resentment, for each other, that can end a marriage. The too much money part of the school believes that too much money can also be a problem that can lead to the failure of a marriage. The argument by this school is based on when one of the parties already owns the money or wealth before the marriage.
They believe that many wealthy people can't find true love and, most of the time, get spouses who are attracted to their wealth rather than to them - the gold digger phenomenon. They contend that this is why the divorce rate is even higher in the realm of successful people. Because many who marry wealthy people go in for one reason; to grab a bit of the wealth and get out. This they insist, has nothing to do with sex as both males and females engage in this gold digging act.
Next school is the one that believes that men are uncomfortable with women who are higher income earners. This school believes that the increased earning powers of women in society has a direct or indirect effect on the increasing rate of divorce. This, they claim, is as a result of men who feel intimidated by these big money making women putting undue pressure on the marriages by trying too hard to prove their manhood. They claim this quest to prove manhood ends in extra marital affairs in many cases thereby causing divorce. They cite the recent divorce of the popular actress Sandra Bullock from her husband Jesse James as an example.
While I accept the truth in the arguments made above, I believe that those arguments look at the problem from a superficial point of view. The causes of divorce are much more deeply rooted than the points made in those arguments. To get to the root cause, we have to look deeper into much more than the marriages themselves, we have to look at our society and the behavioral traits that make the points made above possible.
The divorce problem is not a stand alone, it's a product of the society we live in today in which individualism and selfishness have become exulted qualities. Marriage is a part of our lives and therefore is affected by the qualities we have as a people. The root cause of any divorce is the selfishness of both individuals involved in that marriage and it's misleading to try to blame it on any one of them or on material things like money or lack.
The problems in our marriages didn't just start today, it has been with us for as long as marriage, as an institution, has been around but it became aggravated in the early sixties with the female emancipation movement, which is a very good thing on it's own merits, but, like most things in life, was taken to the extreme in practise. (This is not a vote against female emancipation, in any way, it's just a statement of the facts as I see them.) I say this because in every thing we do in life which involves two or more people working together, there has to be a leader. There has to be that one person who makes the final decision. There has to be that one table on which the buck ends, otherwise, what you will get is chaos. It was our wise forebears who put out this truism that "You can't have two captains in a ship"
What the female emancipation movement, as practised, helped do was kill the system that had been working quite well for marriage ever since it was instituted and replace it with this new one where you're supposed to have two equal partners without a first. Because, even in a partnership of equals, there has to be a first among the equals. Not having that is tantamount to having two captains in the same boat with each making decisions and nobody listening to nobody. I am a firm believer in the equality of the sexes, but I also know that for any union to succeed, there has to be a head, therefore, when equality means two equal heads, what you get is two people pulling in two different directions and you know that whatever vessel they're trying to move forward can't go forward.
We love to talk about traditional marriage values whenever we argue against gay marriage,as if it were some academic thing, but the truth is that it all but died when the female emancipation movement took this extreme turn. The traditional roles of the partners in the marriage have become things to be shared and that has not worked well for the marriage institution. I know that most men don't enjoy sharing in domestic work like washing plates and making bed and doing laundry but all that have become the hallmarks of a good husband. I also know that most women are not comfortable with being thrust into traditional male roles, like being bread winner. What this does is build resentment which boils to the surface with very little provocation.
Another pertinent reason for increased divorces is that we have all mostly become little entitled kids and always want everything to go our way. We live in a society that exults selfishness over selflessness and that has turned most of us into this little army of people who only care for nobody but us. Nobody wants to compromise or bear with another person even when they're married. Everybody wants the perfect partner and every little misdeed that our parents and grandparents would not even notice in their days has become a cardinal sin. In our foolishness, we forget that we ourselves are not perfect and yet we want perfect partners.
This foolishness is the reason why divorce is becoming a cluster thing. What I mean by cluster is that most divorcees usually go on to get other divorces. If you get a divorce, your chances of getting another divorce are higher than for people who have not had any. What this says is that, most of the time, we are the reason why we divorce and if we fail to deal with that reason, we'll likely go on getting divorce after divorce until we do.
The truth is that, with the way we're going, divorce rates will keep rising until, finally, we'll realize that there's no point getting married at all because we'll all be too selfish to share our lives with other people. And this will be because we all suppressed the truth, when we know it, because we want to conform with political correctness, which, to me, is nothing but forcing ourselves to believe the lies we tell ourselves.