Divorce is as American as apple pie. The bonds that connect one person to another can be dissolved. Our Declaration of Independence was nothing more than our divorce document with England. You could move west, reinvent yourself and be free. Approximately half of all marriages that take place today in the U.S. will end in divorce. (Robinson) This well-known but shocking statistic hasn’t changed over the last 15 years. Currently, 11 percent of the adult population is divorced. Reducing divorce rates and keeping traditional family values are important for our overall morale and strength as a country. Why do Americans divorce? One reason is that couples enter their first marriage at an early age. Of these young marriages, many end in the first 3 to 5 years. (Robinson) Young people do not realize the commitment, time, and energy that must be devoted to a successful relationship.
The normal lifestyle of American young adults is to live together for a period of time in a type of informal trial marriage. These relationships frequently do not endure. Money and children are more stressed than often tear these short-lived relationships apart. The divorce rate is surprisingly higher in the Bible Belt than in other parts of the U.S. This is due to the Midwestern states having a lower percentage of Roman Catholics, a denomination that does not recognize divorce. Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention in Oklahoma commented: I applaud the Catholics. I don t think we as Protestant evangelists have done nearly as well preparing people for marriage. And in the name of being loving and accepting, we have not placed the stigma on divorce that we should have. Baptists and Jews have the highest rate of divorce while Catholics and Atheists have the lowest. (Robinson)
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Government and religious groups have come up with a few ideas to help reduce the divorce rate. These include pre-marital counseling for engaged couples. Some clergy now even refuse to marry a couple unless they have completed such a course. The Roman Catholic Church has done this for many years. Another way is to encourage couples to accept mediation before deciding to divorce. Counseling should be required before any divorce papers can be filed. And finally, by adding courses that discuss values and relationships in the public school curriculum, the government hopes to raise awareness of just how important marriage really is. By preserving the traditional family, America can continue to be the land of prosperity.
Works Cited Page:
- Robinson, B.A. Facts About Marital Distress and Divorce The Dallas Morning News (A-32)