What does the divorce rate in America say about how people view marriage?  Has the concept, nay, the institution of marriage lost its meaning?

I don’t ask this as a conceptual question either.  What is marriage supposed to be?  Most people go into it believing the first time is the only time, but at some point that changes, apparently.

What changes? What makes people go from forever to for a while? Is it the ingrown notion that the ‘I’ is the most important thing in life?

If most people still view marriage as intended to be permanent, why is it so easily discarded?


  1. The attitude towards marriage changed drastically when the feminists go “no fault” divorce. Then it changed even more drastically when the “free love” hippies of the ’60s decided living together was just fine.

    People now often approach marriage as a trial experience, and if they don’t like it they will just divorce.

    The sad thing is, women are most hurt by this. Most women still go into a relationship with a man expecting commitment, but they give themselves away without the commitment, assuming it will help bring about the commitment, while the relationship becomes nothing but room-mates with benefits.

    My wife and I have done pre-marital and as well as marital counseling, as well as counseling non-married live-ins who seek marriage. And we have also done counseling about with divorce issues. Of course our counseling is from the Christian perspective, but we see the same things over and over again as to why relationships fail, and why marriages fail – NO COMMITMENT! They have been brainwashed by the culture that marriage is not serious. And because it has been treated this way for 50 years, it gave the same-sex advocates the open door to abuse marriage even more.

  2. The average age of couples having a first divorce is 30. The average length of their marriages is 8 years. So, most of the people divorcing married young. Just old enough to be trusted with alcohol and voting. They, in their inexperience, picked the wrong person.

    I’m ok with divorce, even the easiest divorce possible for them, IF there are no children involved. Young people screw up.

    I think divorce should be a lot harder when children are in the picture. I think couples should be required to have an evaluation of their marriages (pre-divorce) and be presented with their contributions to the problems they’re facing.

    Maybe more marriages would be saved (at least restored to a workable arrangement). It’s vital to have both parents in the home.

    • The 8 year average is misleading. A 16 year divorce and a 1 year divorce average 8 uears. I believe most divorces occur 5 years or less.

      But, how do we change attitudes about marriage and divorce? Legislation alone doesn’t necessarily change hearts.

  3. Glenn touches on some good points. Our cultural attitudes towards marriage have changed a great deal, and marriage itself has been completely redefined. Too many people, including those who do still value “traditional” marriage, are going into it with the idea that getting married is all about happy-happy-joy-joy, fairy tales and tingles. When the real thing doesn’t live up to their unrealistic expectations, it’s too easy to just walk away; some because they’ve “fallen out of love,” others decided that, well, I guess that wasn’t the person God meant for me to marry. Any excuse will do.

    I do agree that there is a place for divorce, and there always has been (adultery and abandonment are Biblicially based reasons). I think that it’s become far too easy to get a divorce, and that ease itself has devalued marriage. When you can get married and divorced on the same day, it’s hard to take marriage seriously.

    The divorce statistics themselves, however, are misleading. A lot has been made of the statistic that 50 or 51% of all marriages end in divorce (I don’t know if that number has changed). What isn’t taken into account is that this includes 1st time marriages as well as people who have married more than 5 times – and with some of those couples, both partners have had multiple marriages under their belts. The biggest predictor of future divorce is a past divorce.

    As for marrying young, that has more to do with our culture extending childhood far beyond anything we’ve ever done before. Children used to be considered adults after puberty, and they were given adult responsibilities. They managed quite well, actually. It’s when we infantilize our teens and young adults that we cause them harm.

    As an aside, my husband and I eloped at 19. We’ve been married for 25 years.

  4. Kunoichi,
    WOW! Someone actually said the same thing I’ve been saying for decades – we are raising our kids to be kids instead of adults.

    There is nothing at all wrong with marrying young if the people are mature. My son married two months before he turned 20 and his wife just turned 18. They have been married 12 years now with four kids.

    I had a co-worker who married his high-school sweetheart shortly after graduation and they’ve been married 40 years.

    It isn’t the youth that causes the divorce problem – it is the attitude about marriage which they’ve been taught in the culture around them.

    As for reasons and need for divorce, I will only allow for sexual immorality, abandonment and abuse.

    • In the American Revolution era there were 14 year olds as captains of warships. Elementary school kids were doing highschool upperclassmen algebra.

      Kids have this weird thing where they tend to live up to whats expected of them if given the proper training.

  5. Like Kunoichi said, there is a place for divorce. The negative attitude is sometimes unjustified given the situation. Sometimes, it’s for the best.

    And I actually know a person who may be experiencing a divorce very soon, and from what I know of the relationship, my friend is suffering through emotional abuse.

  6. I believe that a great change in the culture’s perception of marriage deals with what comes before marriage. As was suggested above, many now enter into marriage with the thought of divorce as an out should the marriage prove less than desired. But I don’t believe that to be a traditional view, even when divorce wasn’t so easy. I believe it was assumed that it would be for life and everyone acted accordingly, with many seeking to prepare themselves for the day when they’d tie the knot. Often, this preparation began long before a mate was even found. Men sought to secure incomes and women would have dowries. Men and women developed the “skills” they would need to take on their specific roles in the union. It was a rather big deal.

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