Divorce in America
The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the topic of divorce in America. Specifically it will discuss the affect of divorce on American culture. Divorce is never easy on a family, and it affects every member of the family in many ways. It breaks down family ties, splits families apart, and can create poverty and despair in single parents. Divorce has had a powerful affect on American culture, literally and figuratively. Marriage is one of the most popular and venerable institutions in American society. Little girls grow up dreaming of their "perfect" wedding, gay and lesbian couples fight for the right to legally marry, and fathers dream of walking their "little girls" down the aisle someday. However, marriage is changing in America, and divorce, once almost unheard of in history, has become much more prevalent. A group of writers note, "Marriage in America has changed a great deal over the past two generations, including increased incidence and social acceptance of divorce, cohabitation, premarital sex, and unwed childbearing" (Doherty, et al. 4). In fact, marriages declined in 2005, but divorces also declined to the lowest rate since 1970, something positive about a very negative subject (Editors). Divorce can influence every aspect of a person's life, it has a very powerful affect on American culture, because it frames the way people live, work, and relate to others, and it influences just about every aspect of how people are viewed and view American culture. Men and women view marriage and divorce differently, and marriage and divorce affect them differently. While many men may be hesitant to marry and give up their "freedom," men tend to actually thrive in committed relationships. A journal author notes, "Men do seem to benefit simply from the state of being married. Married men enjoy better health and longevity and fewer psychological and behavioral problems than single men" (Hetherington). According to Hetherington, women tend to do well in good marriages, but in bad marriages they can suffer from a variety of health problems, from depression to immune-system breakdowns in bad marriages (Hetherington). Often, parents stay together when there are children involved; hoping to raise them in a friendlier environment, but often, the marriage becomes so difficult the children suffer anyway. All of these aspects of marriage and divorce combine to create a very complex issue that affects families and American culture in a variety of ways. Social Networks
When a couple divorces, it affects each partner and their family, of course, but it affects other aspects of their lives, as well. Usually, a couple develops a social network of friends and family throughout their marriage. When a couple divorces, that social network alters, with some friends and family siding with the husband and others with the wife, no matter how amicable the divorce is. Hetherington continues, "Ex-spouses typically must cope with lingering attachments; with resentment and anger, self-doubts, guilt, depression, and loneliness; with the stress of separation from children or of raising them alone; and with the loss of social networks" (Hetherington). Thus, the social networks of the couple alter, and they may lose support from people close to them, with disastrous results. Without the support of the friends, they may face more difficulties adjusting to the divorce, and the cultural implications are evident. In American society, friends and relatives are basic to happiness and security, and the loss of these social networks can lead to a variety of problems, from depression to health-related issues. This affects the culture of the nation, as society must deal with the aftermath of divorces by creating healthcare and wellness support, groups to support the partners of divorce, and counseling to help friends and family deal with the divorce. Divorce does not just affect the partners, it affects those around...
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