Running head: Marriage, Divorce, and Military Families
Marriage, Divorce, and Military Families
Marriage is a conduit through which God's grace flows to the couple and their children. The church understands marriage between a man and woman to be a sacrament, a visible sign of the grace that God gives them to help them live their lives here and now so as to be able to join him in eternity. Marriage is social as well as religious, but its religious aspects are very important. The Bible repeatedly compares the relationship between man and wife to that between God and Israel or between Christ and his Church. For marriage is a holy vocation. Since the Church sees marriage as holy, it believes it must be treated with reverence. It also recognizes that marriage is basic to the health of society and therefore a public institution that must be defended against harm. Marriage is a public institution. Consequently, proposals that could harm the institution of marriage must be subjected to the same sort of objective analysis that we give any public policy question. Marriage is not just a private matter of emotion between two people. On the contrary, its success or failure has measurable impact on all of society. Rational analysis yields solid, objective reasons for limiting marriage to one man and one woman-reason anyone can agree with on purely secular grounds (Zinn, B. M., D. Eitzen, S., Wells, B., 2008). However, one of the downsides to redefining marriage would be the weakening of the meaning of marriage, which would be divorces. Human nature being what it is, if the meaning of marriage is weakened, it will be psychologically easier for even more people to divorce. Look at what happened when "no-fault" divorce was legalized. The divorce rate skyrocketed. If the nature of marriage is further undermined in the minds of couples then when things get rocky, more couples will be tempted not to work through their problems and get happy again but rather to divorce and find someone else (Hogan, P., & Seifert, R., 2010). That is a bad idea, because most marriage therapists agree that divorce generally "doesn't work." Divorce doesn't solve the problems that caused the first marriage to break up. Divorced people bring the same problems to their new marriages that broke up their old ones. That's why second and later marriages are statistically far more likely to end in divorce than first marriages are. Also, a large majority of couples who contemplate divorce but stay together describe themselves as "happily married" five years later. So staying together "works" better than divorce. The Romans had an interesting view towards marriage – ‘matrimonia debent esse libera’ or ‘marriages ought to be free’. This meant that either spouse could opt out of the marriage if things weren’t working out for them. Centuries later, Victorian England had a vastly different view (Bouvier, 1856). People got married and stayed together for better or for worse. Society frowned on divorce and divorced people were likely to find themselves social pariahs. In the present century, both these views prevail. It depends on which part of the planet you live in and in what kind of culture. “Divorce rates are higher in European or American countries, where individual freedom is given higher stress, than in, say, Asian or African ones, where familial and social opinions cause higher stress. With globalization, of course, the ‘backward’ countries are catching up. Women, especially, with access to higher education and higher salaries, are less willing to put up with traditional roles and expectations” (Devine). Social and cultural moralists are having a field day, predicting, like always, dire consequences for the ‘social fabric’. No, divorce isn’t joy-inducing, but then neither is a corrosive marriage. In such a case, splitting up is preferable to staying together ‘for the children’ or to keep up social appearances. Anyway, it all...
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