By Quinton Lister, legal assistant
What is the one thing that would help decrease divorce in the United States?
I honestly think that commitment to marriage as more than a legal institution would lead to less divorce. As society has begun to view marriage as merely a legal construct, we have begun to value marriage less and less. As we decrease the value of marriage we also decrease the importance of family. One peculiar instance of this phenomenon in action is the morals behind two recent Disney movies, Turning Red and Encanto (before I go further, I will say that I liked one of these movies and did not like the other one). Each of these movies tells the story of a girl growing up in a highly structured culture in her family. Each movie seeks to deconstruct the family culture the main character is born into, and each of them champion the value of overcoming family tradition and culture to “truly be oneself”. The interesting thing about each of these movies is the idea that the individual is more important than the family unit. Now, to be clear, there are family dynamics that are unhealthy that need to be fixed, but the hyper focus on the individual clearly undermines the necessity of sacrifice inherent in marriage and family relationships. We do give up part of ourselves in order to be one with others, and that is not always a bad thing. Spencer Kimball put it so well: “In serving others, we ‘find’ ourselves in terms of acknowledging divine guidance in our lives. Furthermore, the more we serve our fellowmen . . . the more substance there is to our souls. [I]ndeed, it is easier to “find” ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!” Placing the needs and success of the family ahead of our own is, one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Healthier and happier marriages make healthier and happier individuals. And healthier, happier people make up the best families. Not to put to fine a point on it: you need a family, and your family needs you.
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