Comments 2

  1. Thanks, Erin. This is a difficult issue that families need to address in life. I appreciate your advice and wisdom from your personal experience.

  2. I don’t disagree with this advice, but I can’t help but think it suggests an ideal scenario that is typically contradictory to the reality of divorce as well as the traditional ideal of marriage in its moral and sacred dimensions. If a united front free of expressed conflict, guilt, shame, and resentment is the healthiest response for the children and adults, doesn’t a successful outcome very likely mean repressing and denying the fact that the marriage has in fact failed at sustaining these qualities even if it is a “no fault” situation? If the couple appears capable of an ideal, amicable breakup, it’s hard to explain why the marital bond cannot be preserved. Either the amity is a veneer and there are real rifts that need to be acknowledged and dealt with somewhere or the couple is splitting up for reasons that are shy of a complete breakdown of trust and good will. Either way the idea of marriage shifts in the direction of a merely legal contract that can be formed and dissolved at will. If we do not take Jesus’ statement on the matter (divorce for reasons other than adultery is adultery) as definitive for all time — and I personally do not think we can — we also cannot ignore the challenge it poses.

    I understand our situation today is complicated historically by a past in which marriage and divorce laws significantly disenfranchised women. For instance, marital rape was “not a thing” and therefore legal in all fifty states, a position explicitly upheld by the supreme court in the 1950s-60s. Our corrective reaction as a society ushered in the era of no-fault divorce where a maximum of freedom replaced a minimum. It’s good to focus on the well-being of the children and diminution of conflict, but in the process we appear to lose and have not replaced or reformed the old, albeit faulty, sacred ideal of marriage. How should we affirm the sacredness of marriage while also trying to minimize the stigma and divisiveness of divorce?

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