Divorce has been around for as long as people have gotten married. The magic wears off, problems start to creep in, and husband and wife are no longer willing or able to make it work. It is all quite unfortunate. However, is it possible that culture takes divorce to lightly these days?
A case in point is a story recently published by Fox 22 in Bangor, Maine. In fairness, Fox 22 picked up the story from well-known celebrity gossip site TMZ. But the fact that a TV station did so is further evidence that perhaps we take divorce too lightly.
The story’s title mentioned that the estranged wife in a high-profile divorce “scores 3 cars” in the couple’s divorce settlement. That is a strange way to phrase things. It is as though the marriage and divorce were a competition of some kind.
Couples Divide Their Assets
It is no secret that divorcing couples divide their assets. They also divide jointly created debts. Still, it seems like it shouldn’t be some sort of competition. One party should not be viewed as scoring big against the other. An estranged spouse shouldn’t be thought of as winning the jackpot.
Remember that people generally get married in front of witnesses who hear them pledge their love until death parts them. That is a pretty serious promise. Breaking that promise is nothing to laugh about.
Even when one party is completely justified in divorcing the other, their broken relationship is nothing to celebrate. Rather, it is something to mourn. Wouldn’t it have been better if their relationship had remained as solid 50 years down the road as it was when they first exchanged wedding bands?
Maybe It’s Too Easy
Maybe our culture takes divorce too lightly because it is too easy to do. According to ABM Family Law, a Chicago family law firm that represents divorcing spouses, nearly every state allows couples to split over irreconcilable differences. Illinois certainly does.
The thing about irreconcilable differences is that they don’t have to be clearly defined. Divorcing couples only have to attest to the fact that they believe whatever is broken in their marriage can’t be fixed. Anybody can say that.
Maybe We Like Revenge
Adding to the fact that divorce is so easy to get could be the culture’s seeming obsession with revenge. Simply put, we seem to like it too much. Just look around at all of our cultural influences.
How many blockbuster Hollywood films are built on the premise of the good guy taking vengeance against the bad guy? How many TV sitcoms are happy to make jokes about people taking revenge on their spouses?
The modern culture seems more ready to fight than reconcile. Look no further than social media for proof. Rather than trying to find common ground on which we can agree, we seem to look for reasons to fight online. Note that what happens on social media is merely a reflection of what goes on in people’s hearts and minds.
Our Celebrity Obsession
All of this is underscored by our obsession with celebrity. Just search the term ‘divorce’ in Google News and you’ll find story after story about Kim and Kanye. Every time celebrities get divorced all of the celeb gossip websites have to talk about it as though it were no big deal.
The fact that we would frame a divorce settlement in terms of one party scoring big over the other is disheartening. It shows just how little those who think in those terms really think of marriage itself. Maybe we collectively take marriage and divorce too lightly.