Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Relationships


I am very often surprised when those relationships around me do not work out. I shouldn't be because more often than not--things just end. BUT--since I got married and had P, that fact is baffling to me. The thought of her not growing up with both of her parents is a devastating one. However, I am not completely dumb and I know that since her existence was made possible by divorce--it could happen again. This got me thinking--why do more marriages end in divorce than they used to? What is it that is causing all of these marriages to fail?

The history teacher in me wants to talk about the role of women in the last hundred years and point to that as a strong possibility. Even at the turn of the century many women were unable to own property and certainly were not able to make an acceptable living that would support multiple children. That could be a huge factor in why there were less divorces. I am not naive enough to think that people were happier in their marriages in the 1900s than they are now--but rather that they felt they could not leave them as easily. Divorce was uncharted territory. It was simply not done.


This brings me to suspect that more marriages end in divorce today because people feel that it is easier to rebuild one's life after a divorce. Some of you out there are shaking your heads at me saying, "it's not easy." AND you are totally right. However, if you put yourself in the context of the 1900's you may think that it is significantly easier than it was back then.

I watched an episode of Sister Wives on TLC--don't judge me--and Kody was talking about how sensitized we are to the word Divorce and the stigma that it holds within our culture. I sat there and shook my head (and rolled my eyes at him). You think that there is a stigma now to the word Divorce? You think that we are over sensitized now? Well, I vehemently disagree with both of those statements. When over half of all marriages in this country end in divorce versus less than 10 percent in 1900--I am sure the stigma was much worse.

And that is exactly the problem with marriages in this country today--the fact that people go into them knowing that it can easily be undone. Back in the day, when you hitched your wagon to a horse--that shit was not so easily undone. The consequences of divorce were social exile and financial ruin--well, for the woman at least. And for the man there was no need to divorce because being unfaithful and unhappy in your marriage from the male perspective carried very little social consequences.

So what is my point? It is that relationships are hard--all of them. People come together and things fall apart. It's just how things are, and I understand that we cannot help but be a product of our society. More marriages end in divorce because society has evolved to a point where women feel that they can socially and economically stand alone if needed. In fact, in today's society we are taught that we don't need to rely on a man to support us. This is very different from the 1800s and early 1900s. And since it is easier to get a divorce and rebuild your life afterwards--people are less sensitized to the idea. They are less willing to stick it out and work through things like infidelity and incompatibility because that would often be harder than actually working it out and being unhappy for awhile.

I'm not saying that no one tries because I know that there are many that do try very hard to fight for their marriages. I am responding to the question that I have heard a lot lately about marriage and divorce. All things equal within the relationships, I have to believe that it is the environment that is causing the drastic increase in rate. We have changed, as we should. And the change in the institution of marriage is just collateral damage.

What do you think?


2 comments:

  1. I know it's late, but I think other reasons marriages more often end in divorce than they used to is because divorce is a lot cheaper now, and life expectancy keeps increasing. I suppose, back in the 2nd Millenium AD, couples didn't necessarily get along better, but not many of them could afford to divorce, so if they didn't get along, they probably suffered more in general.

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  2. Sorry I am just now seeing this lol! What a good point Carly. I hadn't considered that!

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