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A Helping Hand: Which One is Too Easy – Marriage or Divorce?

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The state of families in America today has me concerned about the future. Is divorce just too easy or is it that marriage is too easy?

The only people who think divorce is easy have never been divorced. The process itself can take anywhere from 24 hours to many years. Even then, it isn't the process that's particularly difficult – it's the aftermath.

An 18-month waiting time for a marriage license is a good idea, and doing away with common law marriage is one step better. Studies of human biology back this up as it takes an average of 18 months from the time a (heterosexual and fertile) couple meets until they bring a child into the world. For many, it is at this point that the marriage/relationship begins to break down – not because a child has entered the picture, but because the attraction that brought them together in the first place has cooled. While a child may not enter a homosexual relationship, the cooling off comes at about the same time.

Other factors (finances, responsibilities, travel, or in-laws) surely complicate the matter, but the crux of it is a premature jump on infatuation instead of waiting to see if the relationship is really one of love and not just lust. This is not to say lust is a bad thing. It is to say that many misconstrue the intense feelings of lust for love. All that connection and vitality is common in the less than 18-month-old relationship. Statements like "I've never felt this way before” roll easily off the tongues of those who are just sure they're in love.

The longer-lasting relationship speaks not just of trust and love, but also of experience with it. This relationship doesn't say "I've never felt like this before." It says, "I've felt like this before, but this time I've felt it for a long time."

If the relationship has withstood no misfortune (financial strain, familial interference, or ill health), there is no way of knowing whether either party really has the stamina for marriage. The current fifty percent divorce rate is, in large part, due to those who married before their infatuation (wrongly referred to as "love") was allowed to run its course. While many couples grow naturally into love after infatuation has cooled, many others do not.

A waiting time before getting married would not prevent anyone from living together, but it would help to insure those who are in it for the long haul are the ones afforded the opportunity.

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About Diana Hartman

Diana is a USMC (ret.) spouse, mother of three and a Wichita, Kansas native. She is back in the United States after 10 years in Germany. She is a contributing author to Holiday Writes. She hates liver & motivational speakers. She loves science & naps.
  • http://www.gonzorangers.com Chodeo

    Why is it necessary to make divorce harder or marriage harder? If people want to rush into a marriage before their infatuation phase ends, what is the problem?

    The most negative consequence of divorce is it’s effect on children, but a mandatory cooling off period for marriages would hardly solve the problem. Most likely there would just be a lot more children born to unwed parents, who might even be more likely to separate than if they’d rushed into marriage in the first place. I’m not sure at all what problems your proposal would solve.

  • http://journals.aol.com/vicl04/THESAVAGEQUIETSEPTEMBERSUN/ Victor Lana

    Marriage is too easy (think Las Vegas wedding chapels) and so is divorce (think Dominican Republic). It’s probably not going to happen, but I think the weight of each one should be made more tangible (and thus more important).

    51% of American marriages end in divorce. What does that tell us?

  • lcross10

    I believe that marriage should not be allowed until both parties are over 30 years old. We do not know ourselves well enough until then to be able to presume that we could “know” someone else well enough to marry them.

    Then we would have more mature married individuals who would be less likely to expect everything to be easy in their marriage and their lives.

    As far as the children issue goes, no rules will ever stop sex from occurring nor children being born. Paternity can be proven whether the parties were married or not. The question of whether the parents would raise the child together, or separate, exists whether the couple were married or not at conception.

  • http://www.gpb-katie.blogspot.com Katie McNeill

    I agree that you should wait to be married. And being married young is hard. I got married when I was 20 and next week is my second year anniversary. This was young to be married, very young, and I know this. We were engaged for almost two years before and had been friends for years before that.

    My marriage is going to work because I’m going to put the work it takes into it. I believe that that is one reason a marriage fails, someone gives up or is not ready for the level of commitment it requires. And no matter what age you are when you are married the road is not always going to be smooth. No one is the perfect person to live with and everyone has their bad days. But what matters if that you are willing to work on the problems when they come up and make the right choices regarding the future of your relationship.

    Both are easy. It depends on the person, the couple. It isn’t fair to say all young people will fail if they get married. It isn’t fair to say a person of 30 will have a successful marriage just because they know themselves better. We never stop growing and things still change at 30. If they don’t then I’m sorry you must be dead.

    It depends on if you are willing to grow together or apart.

  • Marcia L. Neil

    The clergy are often thoughtless, giving more credence to lineage and blood test data than to… name combinations. Should anyone really marry someone with the same name as his/her brother or sister or other immediate relative? What about popular joke combinations–names paired together that are a source of humor? –should such pairs actually marry without any sense of political fallout? No. Also, clergy require a lot of energy to train and maintain morale, and patterns of dropping-dead clergy can indicate a problem with name-combination marriages.