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Reformation of divorce laws has strengthened marriage by making it difficult to get a divorce. Couples who easily get into marriage will be unable to walk out the same way. They area now faced with a long process that makes them reconsider their urgency to attain a divorce agreement. The strict laws have enabled family to thrive and develop virtues such as perseverance in the society. Activists and lobby groups are emerging daily with an aim to help save the marriage institution. Factors like how divorce affects the family and children gives more reason to address the issue.
In the US for instance divorce is no longer viewed as a pariah. Sociologists have discovered that though divorce is higher in developed countries the developing ones are quickly following the trend (Gregory, Swisher and Wolf, 2005). The inclination by states to establish laws that will sustain marriage longer is now in effect.
Victorian England for instance views marriage as a sacred act which is life long. Those who get married have to bear one another ‘for better or worse’. The society frowns on any factor that tries to encourage divorce. Philippines and Malta are renowned Nations that have banned divorce. The Catholic Church which is wide spread forbids divorce. The Louisiana legislature went ahead to create a new divorce law in 1997 to give couples two options which entail two marriage contracts. One was the no fault divorce and the covenant marriage that allows divorce under fault conditions (Knox and Schacht, 2009). The goal of the fault option is precisely portray to the public positive regard of marriage. Arizona and Arkansas opt for the covenant marriage so as to encourage marriage. There has been a proposal by California that if successful will amend the constitution so as to divorce amongst married (Brown, 2008).
Societal factors influencing divorce, impact, implications
Vast technology advance has to a large extent contributed to increase in divorce cases especially in developed countries. Liberty and championing for equality has led to women empowerment. This as a result has changed societal roles and women are able to do what men once would exclusively do. The men on the other hand feel threatened and are not taking the changes politely (Knox and Schacht, 2009).
Changing times present opportunities for society to advance. Growth of the economy for instance creates room for empowerment and impacts. As a result of this the cost of livelihood tends to rise and opportunities such as education and jobs are open for all. Equality means that we all have capacity to be what we want to be. Women for instance no longer have to wait at home for the man to provide. The high demand of a better life cannot be met by the man alone forcing women to get into professions and careers. Social awareness increases as women form liberation movements. Social norms are interfered with and so are marital relations.
Infidelity has largely caused divorces in the world. The offence was termed so serious such that even religious teachings agree to a couple divorcing if there have been cases of unfaithfulness in the marriage. With the increase of social networking and interactions the problem has gone from bad to worse. The act has been viewed as a societal vice and led to the issue of divorce being debated (Brown, 2008).
Financial problems still are top on the list when we have to deal with family and causes of divorce. Stability of finances does not usually come unless one has a source of income or has taken time to invest. As the man he is expected to meet all household demands and sustain the welfare of his family. Material wealth contributes to the status of a man. Needless to say how will he manage to keep his partner comfortable if he has an empty account/ pocket? Most women will not put up with continuous neglect of family duties from the head of the family.
Physical and emotional abuse is one of the most callous acts especially when spouses are involved. When getting into the marriage the man vows to love his wife unconditionally. Beating her and inflicting body / emotional harm is not one way of expressing that love. Due to increased rates of stress people especially in the marriage have to develop ways of coping. In some cases small arguments amount to physical abuse which is ground for divorce especially if continuous. Emotional abuse on the other hand has serious consequences as it leads to trauma and mental instability.
Incompatibility is when partners are no longer fit for one another. These may come up as a result of individual and personality trait differences. It includes intellectual, sexual, religious and financial incompatibility (Wylie, 2001). If two people do not agree on basic issues they cannot live harmoniously. It is hard for them to solve conflicts and make progress since they don’t share any common interests.
Poor or lack of communication in the family is a great challenge and threatens marriage institutions. The only way one can express their disappointment, anger and pain is through communication. Discussing issues and letting the other person know what your ideas and plans are helps establish a strong family. If one partner for instance suspects behavior that is questionable they can tell their partner and have that problem solved rather than live on quiet suspicions. Partners who opt to inhibit their feelings suffer quietly and damage their emotions. Their spouses are never able to tell if they have wronged them and may continue with the same offensive behavior unknowingly. This thus contributes to separation.
Marriage age determines if the couple will live together for a long time. Research has evidence that couples who got marry at the age bracket of 23-27 in comparison to those who marry in their teen years, the rate of divorce was higher in the latter age group (Brown, 2008). Children who had experienced divorce were also likely to divorce their partners when they grew up as contrast to those who came from families that did not go through divorce. This may have been attributed to the fact that it is not big deal once you experience it.
Disease and illness has influenced societal decisions on divorce cases. The responsibility of taking care of a sick spouse especially for a long time is burdensome. In a case where one spouse becomes infected with an incurable disease, the life of their partner is put at risk. Instead of waiting to get transmitted with the same disease they opt for separation.
Impact of divorce
Divorce impacts severely on society as it creates voids that only marriage can fill. Parents get separated from their children and no longer are role models. The couples have to deal with a whole number of factors that drain them (Gregory, Swisher, and Wolf 2005).
Emotionally; accepting reality that they no longer have confidants to rely on,
Financially: there is no support for the family left behind, if children are involved,
Socially: some people still blame and find fault in those who have been divorced,
Psychologically: they have to adjust their minds start thinking and behaving as a single parent, Geographically: they face adjustment issues as they have to vacate to new residential areas,
Physically: may have to deal with body harm inflicted by spouse and be on medication (O’Neill and Leo, 2000).These amongst other factors come with divorce making it an unpleasant thought.
Children involved in termination of a marriage spend sleepless nights blaming themselves. Not only are they psychologically traumatized but have to live with the sudden changes of living with single parents.
Let us examine the case of Kerry, a woman who is unable to have children though married for the last 20 years of marriage. Though there are new adoption laws facilitating adoption of children her husband has refused to adopt a child with her. All her efforts to involve relatives have yielded no fruits. The worst part of it is that her husband now wants to divorce her and marry a younger woman who can bear him a child. This inconsiderate decision has left Kerry destroyed as she no longer considers getting married at her age. The court has found the reason for divorce selfish as Kerry refuses to sign the divorce papers.
The policy states that time to put the divorce in place will be longer. It greatly helps given the situation in this case as Kerry has not committed any offence that should lead to her being divorced.
‘Sisterhood’ is a women activist group that champions for equal divorce rights. It is a movement that aims at achieving success through ensuring that women firmly stand after divorce. They state that it is wrong for a woman to endure a painful marriage (Morgan, 1996).
Men/father right movements have also come up. These mostly aim at custodial duties especially after divorce so as to protect and have access to the children. They can be able to visit them and continue to fund for their fees though separated from their mothers (Mclean, 1999).
My personal view of divorce would be determined by the impact it has on those involved. If divorce brings positive effects to the society I will go for it but if there are some loop holes created it becomes an issue to be considered before accepting it.
Pros and cons
The family is a core unit and from it we have society. The society as a result cannot thrive if we accept divorce to take prevail otherwise how will we live in a fragmented society? Divorce not only disillusions but puts to an end hopes and shatters dreams. Those involved always go through emotional, physical, social and financial problems. It may come as a relief to the spouse who wants justice but they cannot help experiencing the loss of marriage (Herman, 2010).
Divorce to some extent serves as a relief to many people who have endured oppression in marriage. The liberty it gives sounds like letting a caged bird fly away. For most couples it is puts to an end years of physical and emotional abuse. Perhaps marital deaths which occur as a result of physical abuse would have been saved by a simple divorce. When things don’t work out one can walk away.
The family unit needs to be sustained and protected. Harmonious living is the main issue we should aim at. Couples should learn the importance of family and go through premarital counseling to be sure if they want to start a family or not. Things are not getting simpler with the impact of globalization and technology advance. Couples have to mature with the times and decide what the future will be wisely.