Divorce Is Often a “Cure” Worse Than the Disease
In response to this question, “Have you ever thought someone was making a mistake by getting a divorce?,” I stated (and I summarize here) some people need to divorce. It’s good that the option for divorce exists for their protection, but those who think divorce is the solution to their problem(s) are sadly mistaken. For these people divorce does not solve any problem and just creates a host of new problems.
Recently, someone left a comment on my answer stating that taking the position that most dating and marriage partnerships should stay together consigns both spouses to misery for no reason. Instead, she argued, we need to change divorce culture so that divorce isn’t seen as a failure automatically leading to bitter feuding. It can be, she concluded, a great source of growth for both people, if we just treat it as the next chapter of our lives.
I’ve never claimed that most dating and marriage partnerships should stay together. Some relationships (dating and marriage alike) are so dangerous and/or toxic that they need to end and end without delay. But comparing dating to marriage is a false equivalence.
Besides, for most people, the purpose of dating is finding someone you want as a spouse and who wants you as a spouse, so that you can form a family together.
Ending a dating relationship can be at least disappointing at worst and painful (even extremely painful), but the level of commitment in a dating relationship is nowhere near (or at least should be nowhere near) the level of commitment in a marriage (especially once children are born and become a part of the family).
People who marry should do so (and most do so) with the intent that marriage and family are not only a life-long commitment, but the most important commitment of their lives. When a spouse betrays that commitment, the consequences are much graver than when two people stop dating.
Divorce also involves having to divide a household and custody of children. At least one spouse loses his/her home. Assets and personal property get divided. Plans for “growing old together” in retirement are usually blown to smithereens, and both spouses have to re-adjust, usually by having to work many years longer than they originally planned to make up for the financial hit divorce causes. Spouses who were financially dependent on their spouses, now find themselves having to enter the workforce after years-long absences from the workforce making a meager income to get by. Kids are devastated by their parents’ divorce, and so the parents find themselves having to deal with that crisis on top of their own individual personal crises their going through at the same time.
The family is the necessary, indispensable foundation of a peaceful, prosperous society. We don’t make people happier by discouraging marriage or making divorce too easy to get.
Those whose marriages aren’t plagued by violence or mental or emotional cruelty, but who believe divorce is the solution to their problem(s) are sadly mistaken. For these people divorce does not solve any problem and just creates a host of new problems.
Most people who divorce not only didn’t need to, it was the worst thing they could have done to themselves and their family. If they would work on bettering themselves (both of them trying to be the kind of spouse they want and need) and then turn their attention to bettering the marriage, most marriages could be happy and fulfilling ones. Not perfect ones (there is no such thing), but happy, worthwhile marriages. This takes effort and sacrifice, and patience and trial and error, but the results are still better than a needless divorce.
The idea that we can make divorce easier on people by acting as though “it’s not a failure” on some many levels and to such a great degree cannot change the reality of the situation. To suggest that we “change divorce culture” to be seen as “a great source of growth” for the divorcing spouses would not only grossly cheapen marriage, it would be perpetrating a cruel, destructive fraud on both individuals and society at large.
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