Falling Out of “Love” and Into Divorce

An Essay By Sarah L // 12/3/2007

Before the turn of the century divorce did not exist. Married couples would never consider breaking the vows they made at the altar, for moral reasons or not. As time moved on however, the U.S. government gradually allowed more and more grounds for divorce until eventually couples had no need to justify leaving each other. Now, about 50% of married couples in America eventually get divorced and that includes couples inside the church.1 People in America no longer understand love or what it looks like. When former couples give the reasons for leaving each other, the most common answer will always follow along the lines of them “falling out” of love.

God’s Word refutes this misconception and clearly says a man and a woman should base their marriage on a commitment to support and serve each other for life. Men and woman can never base their marriage relationship on a fickle emotion such as love. C.S. Lewis seconds this idea in his book, Mere Christianity. He says, “Ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.” People readily submit to a divorce in America because everyone believes they have the right to happiness. Burger King, America’s famous fast food restaurant, flaunts its motto on every soda cup: “Have it your way!” People would sacrifice a sacred marriage vow for the “right of happiness;” the right to have it their way. They have stripped marriage of intimacy, sacrificial love, and now commitment. These three things could only lead to the type of mindset which justifies divorce.

Our culture’s obsession with dating as a means of finding “the right one” also heavily influences divorce. Perhaps dating became so popular because couples in a dating “relationship” can experience all the “fun” of marriage, including sexual intimacy, without the hassle of a commitment. Young couples may do all this with the stamp of approval from society that they are merely behaving according to their natural hormones. As couples break up and connect, all in a whirlpool of dumped and hooked individuals, they practice divorce on a small scale. They do not yet have to pay alimony or split responsibility for the kids, but they suffer all the heartbreak and rejection, if to a lesser degree, that married couples would. When they fall out of love, or find they cannot live together, “they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change” (Mere Christianity, pg. 93). After, or if they arrive at marriage, they can just as easily leave their spouse as they could leave their old boyfriend or girlfriend, except that they have to subject themselves to the consequences of their marriage commitment. Single people then blame commitment for their problems and choose only to live together to avoid the “trap” of responsibility.

Many couples use this same philosophy of avoiding as many consequences as they can while still having as much fun as they can to justify living or sleeping together. They say commitment only brings difficulties. But truth shows living in this way only leads to unpredicted pregnancies and broken half-families. America’s degradation has stemmed mainly from the rampant divorce practiced by its citizens. In Hollywood’s eyes, a “normal” family consists of one parent struggling to take care of the kids and juggle a career as well. God did not mean families to look so. Divorce has made the stereotype twisted.

Underneath all the layers of flippant attitudes, divorce hurts people. Not only does each spouse carry unnecessary burdens because of divorce, but they force their children to live with one or the other parent and leave them to grow up without the influence they need of both. Consequently, the backlash of divorce pervades society and affects all aspects of life in America. Allowing their children to date only reinforces the already-cemented cycle of falling in and out of love and getting in and out of bed with others. Unless society realizes the value of commitment, they will never prize it enough to work for it in a marriage, and divorce will become more widespread than ever. Only a return to traditional values and biblical morals can heal the hurts of divorce in America and prevent more couples from ruining their lives.

Comments

nice, you have cut right to

nice, you have cut right to the heart of the matter, it is pitiful how many couples divorce 2day

Sarah | Tue, 12/04/2007

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
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well...

I appreciate the argument you're trying to make: I agree that many people nowadays do take marriage too lightly.

But your writing would benefit from supporting references. For example, you start with a strong claim about divorce not existing prior to this (past's?) turn of the century. But records of divorce exist since ancient Mesopotamia (see any encyclopedia). It was only after the 10th century with the rise of Christendom that divorce was prohibited. Since then, laws regarding divorce have become more relaxed and thus led to an increase in divorces, particularly in advanced societies where religion and laws are held separate.

Also, I doubt a fast food slogan has anything to do with current society's take on divorce. And if you say "Hollywood" you might want to use a couple examples of tvshows and movies to back up that claim.

And just on a personal level, try not to judge those who have been through a divorce so harshly. Divorce absolutely does hurt people; I don't know many (if any) people who have a flippant attitude about it.

I don't mean to sound too critical, as I said before I agree with your point and I appreciate your writing on your beliefs. You do use the "Mere Christianity" reference nicely.

Christa | Wed, 12/05/2007

Thanks...

Mandolynn,
Thank you for your constructive criticism. Most of the references I made were based upon my study of 20th century world history last year. My history book mentioned that divorce wasn't sanctioned in the US until the turn of the century. I guess I could have made that a little clearer.

I also was meaning this for a Christian audience. I think I would write more sympathetically for unbelievers who don't start out reading with a worldview based on Christ. But thanks, you're right, sometimes I get caught up in what I want to say and don't think about the people who might have experienced the thing I condemn.

With the Burger King quote I was just trying to prove (however bad an analogy it is) how America believes in the right to happiness, even if that means a sacrifice of morals, truth, or marriage.

And you're right...For many couples divorce is life-shattering. But I just can't understand why they submit themselves to it in the first place. In lots of cases it is because of selfishness. They want out of hardships, out of broken communication. I was trying to point out that people take their marriage vows lightly, even if it means they get hurt while divorcing one another.

Sarah L | Wed, 12/05/2007

Sarah

very good

Hi Sarah, Good points all. I appreciate you taking the time to respond, and I think your response is nicely thought out. I hope you didn't think my criticism too harsh, you are an excellent writer.

One last thought though - even if your writing is meant for a Christian audience, references can still be applied. Many of the greatest scientists and historians (and writers!) have been people of faith.

Thanks again for your response.
-- Christa

Anonymous | Thu, 12/06/2007

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