In response to a Dec. 15 post that Jackie and Ben had confirmed their wedding date, a reader made the following reply:
“Marriage is a dead end! Sure to bring divorce and sadness! Think twice!”
While I replied to this post on my Facebook page, I thought it deserves further discussion.
Certainly marriage can end in sadness and divorce. And divorce can be the best solution for some couples. While all relationships have their challenges and most can benefit from professional assistance in negotiating these challenges, I don’t believe that couples should live out, teeth-clenched, a loveless marriage after all reasonable attempts to salvage the relationship have been attempted.
As the son of parents who divorced when I was ten, I don’t believe that “staying together for the sake of the children” is a wise alterative. All this does is teach children the very worst example of marriage. And certainly there are “line-in-the-sand” actions that necessity immediate separation if not divorce – domestic violence being a prime example.
Yet with the above said, the statistics for marriage success are improving. After peaking at 50 percent in the 1980s, the national divorce rate has been steadily dropping. According to Tara Parker-Pope, author of For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage:
“Modern marriages are getting more and more resilient. With each generation, we’re getting a little better about picking mates. A different kind of marriage is emerging in this century.”
The vast majority of couples whose marriages I witness have both dated for a long time and lived together (sometimes for many years) before they decided to marry. These folks have already had to figure out the balancing act between love, commitment, and life. I find a lot of maturity among these couples and great reason for hope.
Marriage can work and bring great joy and fulfillment. What do you think?