Ah, marriage! A hallowed institution, a bond of love and trust, and often, a source of endless debate. From the opulence of celebrity weddings to your cousin’s secret Vegas elopement, marriage has long been the center of familial chatter and societal discourse. But what about when that “forever” comes with an expiration date? Let’s embark on a whimsical yet enlightening journey into the heart of the great American sentiment on divorce.
“Divorce? Not in My Dictionary!”
First up on our list: the die-hard romantics, those who believe that the words “divorce” and “marriage” shouldn’t even be in the same sentence. Those holding this view might exclaim, “I strongly believe that divorce should never be an option.”
“Why might one feel this way?” you ask.
Religious beliefs often play a role. Remember that classic line from many a wedding ceremony? “What God has joined together, let no man separate.” The belief in the sanctity of marriage, as ordained by a higher power, anchors many in their opposition to divorce.
But it’s not just religion. Remember the golden Hollywood era, with couples like Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball who, despite their on-screen chemistry and laughter, had their struggles off-screen?
“Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world and, unfortunately, sometimes they fail,” Ball once commented. A reminder that even in the face of challenges, some persevere in their commitment.
The Middle Path: When Extremes Meet
Then there are those who walk the tightrope, believing that “divorce is acceptable only in extreme situations or if the partners truly cannot reconcile their differences.”
It’s like saying, “I love ice cream, but only on scorching summer days.” But let’s not oversimplify. This viewpoint recognizes the value of marital commitment but allows for human imperfections.
Statistics (real ones, not the kind your Uncle Bob quotes at Thanksgiving) show that in the US, as of 2019, 14.9 out of every 1,000 marriages ended in divorce. Among these, many cited extreme reasons like abuse, addiction, or infidelity. Marriage therapist, Dr. John Gottman, found that contempt is a leading indicator of divorce. So, for some, it’s not about giving up but about recognizing when it’s time to say, “Enough is enough.”
“It’s a Personal Choice!”
Now, on to the free spirits! Those who believe that “divorce is a personal choice and always acceptable if a couple feels it’s the right decision.”
Why, you might wonder, would anyone think this way? To understand, picture marriage as a Netflix subscription. Sometimes, the shows aren’t as gripping as they used to be, or perhaps there’s another streaming service (or commitment) catching the eye. The idea is that as individuals grow and evolve, so do their needs and priorities.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert, of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame, once said, “I’m choosing happiness over suffering. I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” Sometimes, seeking one’s happiness means moving away from a union that no longer aligns with one’s journey.
“Marriage? Not My Cup of Tea.”
Last but certainly not least are those who don’t personally believe in the institution of marriage at all. For them, the entire debate on divorce is moot.
One might wonder why. Some view marriage as a societal construct, preferring a partnership based on mutual understanding rather than legal ties. Fun fact: did you know that Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, one of Hollywood’s most enduring couples, have never tied the knot? Hawn once quipped, “A lasting relationship isn’t about marriage. It’s about compatibility and communication.”
Whether you view marriage as a sacrosanct bond, a personal journey with potential detours, or simply an archaic institution, there’s no denying its significance in American life. As we’ve seen, views on divorce are as varied as the toppings available at a pizza joint (pineapple, anyone?).
As the late great Ruth Bader Ginsburg wisely put it, “In every good marriage, it pays sometimes to be a little deaf.” Whether you’re turning a deaf ear to trivial arguments or societal pressure, always remember to find your own path and respect others for finding theirs.