Controlling The Divorce Epidemic Essay, Research Paper
From an early age, most American girls aspire to get married and begin a family. Although that dream is easy to achieve, more than likely it will be shattered. Marriage is the legal and binding union between a man and woman. Yet when couples marry, they vow to stay by their partner?s side ?till death do us part.? Currently that vow seems to have little or no value in today?s society. ?The current statistics for survival of marriage are quite grim. The divorce rate in the United States is somewhere between 50 percent and a startling 67%? (Gottman 2). I believe that a major contributor to the moral and social decay within American society is the breakup of the family unit.
Divorce can lead to negative consequences for the emotional and mental well being of an individual. Research evidence has shown that marital distress and conflict within a marriage causes a wide range of negative effects on the children of the feuding spouses (Gottman 4). ?Such effects include depression, withdrawal, poor social competence, various health problems, and poor academic performance? (Gottman 4). American couples seem to conclude that nullifying the marriage through divorce would solve the problems between the couple more readily than seeking advice, counseling and treatment from a marriage counselor.
What they forget to consider is the children?s welfare. No one can argue that the consequences of growing up in a violent and unloving family setting is far more harmful than a permanent separation of their parents. Even though, the parents become selfish in attempting to satisfy their own needs in the marriage. They lack to realize that most common marital differences are easily resolved.
My proposal to regulate and minimize the amount of divorces is to immediately benefit the children. The general assumption ?that happy marriages produce happy children and unhappy marriages unhappy, neurotic children” is more than likely true (Bergler 156). Children learn from their parents because they are the ones the children grow up looking up to and the parents become the child?s? number one role model.
Parents become models for crucial aspects of life. Ones work ethic, intimate relationships, friendships, domestic skills, communication, and problem-solving skills are all learned from ones parents. Lessons about life are being taught when a parent has an affair, or when parents constantly argue or become violent towards each other. It is ironic how most American parents are quick to blame the media for impregnating the minds of children with hate, violence and low moral standards (Cherlin 104). However it is actually what they themselves show their children at home and more preciously influences the way they are, or what kind of a wife or husband they might become.
With these facts in mind, one might wonder why divorce is seen as such an unfortunate alternative; nevertheless it is the decision that most couples decide on taking without hesitation.
In the case of my family I feel that my parents were rushed into marriage, either by themselves or by other family members. I believe this caused for many disagreements of which continue until this day, even after twenty years of marriage. My parents had little in common and failed to respect each other?s differences. They wanted for their spouse to accommodate to their ways instead of accepting them for how they already were.
Divorce is a nationwide social issue that should be regulated more closely by government officials and agencies. Just like they restrict and have heavy rules and regulations on gun ownership, adoptions, abortions, and business licensing; which all in one way or another directly affect the welfare of the public, they should also regulate the validity of the intent of marriage.
I propose to mandate a waiting period between the time they apply for a marriage license to the actual legal ceremony. During this time period, counseling should be mandated by the state in order for the couples to resolve any differences before the damage is done, and they have married.
?In a healthy relationship, two people are bound together by their love for one another but are still individuals with their own personalities.? The couple independently, ?may be coming into marriage with assumptions on some minor issues, but when two people disagree about an issue, it can cause problems and hurt feelings? (Cherlin 52).
The counseling would be of an educational method teaching and opening to discussion various topics. They would range from easy transition to cohabitation, managing budgets, birth control methods and prevention of sexual transmitted diseases, the changes within a woman during and after pregnancy, managing anger and other types of emotions, and raising children, just to list a few. Couples will begin to find out and discuss their feelings and opinions on several topics.
During these sessions couples should be reminded of their responsibility to society as a couple and how the laws state that they treat themselves and their children, and with what they must provide. Therefore, if after this reflection they begin to feel a little unsure if their partner is the one they wish to share lifetime experiences with; they will be able to go over their decision before getting married and being legally bond to one another.
Many against my proposal would argue the Fourteenth Amendment right in that the United States, ?nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property? (Fourteenth Amendment). Those against would claim that the government could not tell you who you can and cannot marry. However, the Amendment does not give citizens right if their actions limits or infringes the rights of others. Which in this case would be the children. My proposal does not aim for the government to dictate who one can marry but set a preventative measure to future problems. The magnitude of this social program would indeed be very large and involve high scale costs, but the government already burdens its taxpayers by paying for other social programs that closely relate to divorce.
So another argument against divorce is the economic burden to society it has become. Divorces are costly to everyone but the attorneys, especially when debating a custody battle. For women divorce is especially devastating. Many have not been out in the work field for the length of their marriage, and if even if they do return the lack of education and skill limit their ability to find a well paying job that will support her family and herself. The males on the other hand, become well off after divorce, as long as they stay single. Our society is accustomed to the idea that all fathers pay child support after divorce, but in most cases that is not true regardless if there was a court order to do so. So the economic burden falls onto the government when the father does not stand up and take the responsibility.
I in no way believe that my proposal will eliminate divorce in its totality. There are some groups of people that the proposal will not affect, couples who never get legally married and those who never have children. Thus far, if the government and society begin to put more emphasis on the importance of the family unit then social standards will begin to change regarding marriage and divorce. As a child growing up in a broken and unstable home I can attest to the damages it does to a person, and just like abuse, it is a never ending life cycle.