« Finally willing to upgrade | Main | One little sting... »

July 29, 2006

Comments

David Thompson

Death, for example, is not a good thing.

Death is neither good nor bad; it simply is.

Paul

First off, I agree with you on divorce. Disclaimer: a divorce involving children. Sure, there can be positive outcomes for those involved, your case possibly being one. However, for the majority of folks I don’t think the stats would be encouraging to suggest it a viable option. To have and raise children is a selfless act. The decision of a selfless life has been made. Why quit?

There’s a better answer, but I don’t feel inclined to give it. Like your last scripture reference, why give a straight answer to one who first doesn’t believe, and second would only mock your answer. I fully disagree with your position on marriage. Your interpretation of scripture seems typical of those who are always trying to prove another faith wrong—it lacks real understanding.

Peace

Hugo

David, I'm sorry, but when your comments aren't total non sequiturs, they're insipid.

The decision of a selfless life has been made. Why quit?

Paul, no one automatically quits being a parent when they get divorced. Frankly, I feel as if my father was a better father after my parents' marriage ended; my mother a better mother. I can't say it any louder or clearer: giving up on a marriage is not necessarily giving up on the children that marriage produced. That's my lived experience as the child of divorce, and it's the experience of many, many others.

Mermade

I know this sounds odd, and I should know this, but... there is no marriage in heaven?

Mermade

I just checked the verse. Never saw it before. Interesting!

David Thompson

David, I'm sorry,

No, you're not.

Hugo

David, bingo, you're banned. I'm tired of you, and call it unjustifiable caprice, but you're gone. Change your IP, and I'll just delete your further posts. All the best to you.

Mermade, it is a shock, huh? But the verse is unambiguous.

Mermade

Yes, it is a bit shocking! My next question, of course, is... why?

D Hamilton

Why? I'll take a few tries here:
1. Marriage and love are not synonymous – love can be found in marriage but is not a requirement for marriage. This situation was even more prevalent in the past where arranged marriages were common and wives we sadly considered property. The 7 brothers quiz of Jesus is a perfect example.
2. In the presence of God (Heaven) there will be no issues of property, ownership, or as George Carlin called it, “Stuff!”
3. In Heaven there will only be Love …. between ourselves and the Lord, between the Lord and ourselves, and, I surely hope, between the ones we love here.

Mermade

Excellent points, D Hamilton!

Antigone

D-

I'd also like to claim the reverse for 1) Marriage is not necessary for love. In heaven, I think the unnecessary things are striped away (based on my interpretations at least: sin is unnecessary, so we don't have it...et cetera).

perplexed

Hugo, divorce isn't so wonderful when a non-custodial parent is deliberately alienated from his or her child(ren).

I think we need to look at why people marry in the first place. Clearly, many marriages fail - unless they didn't take their vows seriously, marriages are intended to be a life-long commitment. Given the failure rate, why do people do it? Why not have serial relationships? The answer, I think, is because they want children (not all cases, but generally). It's ensuring that children have both parents in their lives that's the real underlying issue. If two people break up and they have no kids, I don't see that as a real tragedy. When there's kids involved, it's very different, and quite often heartbreaking.

Helen

perplexed, the acrimony you talk about when parents split is not inherent in the split. A marriage or union can be acrimonious; a split can be a blessed release for all, including children. I think the issues you talk of are concerned with how we conduct ourselves when there are children to consider and not necessarily to do with marriage and divorce.

Hugo, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on your mother's parenting. Your mother sounds as wonderful as mine, whose decision to divorce my father set us all (including him) free. I am a person who has a lot of interests and passions and sometimes I feel that as a mother I should be devoting more of my time to my children. But I adore them and do spend a lot of time with them, therefore next time I am doing something I want to do, I will not feel bad for telling them so. Parents should inspire as well as nurture.

westcoast2

Hugo,

All marriages will end as you suggest in quoting Matthew 22:23-33.

Does this justify divorce on Earth? I think not. Please check Mark 10:1-12.

Many have tried to point out the apparent contradition in the Old and New testaments over divorce. Yet here it is explained very clearly. There is no contradition.

Question on divorce...
10:4 They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."

First the acknowledgement of the law..
10:5 "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied.

Then 10:8-9 state the nature of marriage..
10:8 and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one.
10:9 herefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

and in verses 10:11 and 10:12 he restates since the deciples seemed to miss it the first time.
10:11 He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.
10:12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

In this short passage Jesus acknowledges the law and moves it forward. It is plain for both men and women. No 'if children are involved' or 'if someone is unhappy', indeed as you put it Jesus makes it pretty darned clear.

(Quotes from NIV)

west

perplexed

perplexed, the acrimony you talk about when parents split is not inherent in the split. A marriage or union can be acrimonious; a split can be a blessed release for all, including children. I think the issues you talk of are concerned with how we conduct ourselves when there are children to consider and not necessarily to do with marriage and divorce.

Actually I think marriage and divorce is kind of irrelevant in this discussion; it's whether you have tangible shared commitments or not, and whether the decision to divorce/split-up (if you're NOT married) is unilateral or a joint decision. It seems Hugo's divorces didn't involve children or dividing up of large assets. And it is obvious that his last divorce was a mutual decision. Under those circumstances, it's highly unlikely divorce is going to be anything but amicable.

I agree with Hugo - divorce CAN be good, but so what? It's the same as saying 'divorce CAN be bad'. Both statements are true. It just comes down to circumstances and personalities. Even the word 'divorce' is kind of irrelevant. Couples who aren't married split-up after years together too. Many have children. I think it's misleading to make sweeping statements based on one's personal circumstances. A bilateral agreement to divorce is obviously going to be more amicable than a unilateral decision to divorce. And so on and so on. You can't really make any points when it's always going to be case-by-case.

Amanda Marcotte

Unsurprisingly, people opposed to the opportunity to escape a bad marriage are those who don't care if the housekeeper/nanny is unhappy.

Hugo

Perplexed, if you read any of my posts, I make no sweeping generalizations about the goodness/badness of divorce. I'm objecting to sweeping statements like "Divorce is always a sign of failure" or "Divorce is invariably bad for the children involved" or "It's always best to honor your commitments, even if it makes you miserable to do so." Those are the sweeping statements I'm trying to combat. I don't know anyone going around saying "everyone should get divorced, it's great and fun!", but if I did encounter someone saying that, I would rebuke them.

West, I note you leave out Matthew 19:9, where Jesus inserts the "marital unfaithfulness" exception. Not as clear as we think.

perplexed

I'm objecting to sweeping statements like "Divorce is always a sign of failure"...

Hugo, what's wrong with failure? Without trying to go too pop-psychology on you here, it's OK to fail, and admit to it. Divorce IS an obvious sign of a failed marriage. Divorce is an acknowledgement of wedding vows unfulfilled. When two people choose to marry, they intend to be married forever. Marriages can fail, for whatever reason. A failed marriage often requires a divorce (depending on circumstances).

Divorce is invariably bad for the children involved

It certainly CAN be. I can say that there are far too many fatherless households in the west. I don't think that's a sign of a healthy society. Sadly society doesn't see the importance of fathers anymore - unless they are used for a paycheck. Children need both parents much of the time - there are many loving, kind parents who are totally alienated from their children because of unilateral divorce. Is that good for children? I'll get off the soapbox before we drift too far :)

It's always best to honor your commitments, even if it makes you miserable to do so.

I'm in 100% agreement there.

Hugo

Perplexed, if you want testimonials from folks who are glad that their parents divorced when they were young, read the comments here and at Pandagon. Our numbers are, well, legion.

Children get alienated from their parents not by divorce, but by the marital circumstances that led up to the divorce. If the choice is between a happy marriage and a divorce for the hell of it, it's probably best for the children to be raised with their parents married. But a choice between one reasonably happy parent or two who are bitter, resentful, and incomplete human beings? That's a no-brainer.

Sean H

Hugo,

Without getting into the metaphysical and religious aspects of divorce, you are just plain wrong on the consequences for children, I am not saying that some, or even many, children don't fare OK in a divorce, but in the agregate, divorce is bad for children and for society. Frankly, except for physical and sexual abuse, divorce causes more harm to children and has longer lasting affects than anything else.

Divorced children are more likely (sometimes by orders of magnitude) to:

Divorce themselves as adults

Commit serious crimes - see e.g. - Crime rates - R.J. Sampson, "Crime in Cities: The Effects of Formal and Informal Social Control," Crime and Justice (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1987) - also, I spent a brief time (as a military lawyer - a judge advocate) prosecuting minor offense, mostly drug and sex offenses, and out of 21 cases I handles, only one defendant came from an intact mother and father family.

Commit suicide - see Susan Larson and David Larson, M.D., M.S.P.H., "Divorce: A Hazard to Your Health?" Physician, May/June 1990, p. 16, which cites several studies on adolescent suicide and Nelson, Farberow and Litman, Youth Suicide in California: A Comparative Study of Perceived Causes and Interventions, 24 COMM. MENTAL HEALTH J. 31-42 (1988); and John S. Wardarski and Pamela Harris, "Adolescent Suicide: A Review of the Influences and Means for Prevention. 32(6) Social Work 477-484 (1977) - again, I had to handle three suicides as a JAG, and all three came from broken homes - I know it's anecdotal, but it's what I have seen.

Have lower academic acheivement - see, Lower academic achievement - Barry D. Ham, "The Effects of Divorce on the Academic Achievement of High School Seniors," Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 38.3/4 [2003]: 167-185 - particularly in boys in the custody of their mothers.

I am a parent of three children, now teenagers and young adults, and among their friends and schoolmates who are from broken homes I have seen a higher incidence of drug use and problems in school. Again anecdotal, but I would line of the evidence on the negative affects on children of divorce against any legion of children who benefitted any time.

Jendi

Hugo says: "If the choice is between a happy marriage and a divorce for the hell of it, it's probably best for the children to be raised with their parents married. But a choice between one reasonably happy parent or two who are bitter, resentful, and incomplete human beings? That's a no-brainer."

It's hard for me to disagree with that! One caveat, though: It's easy to forget that a troubled marriage can be a symptom, not a cause. Often, a person who is bitter, resentful and incomplete was that way before the marriage and will be that way afterwards. They think that changing their external circumstances (married/single) is the answer, when actually they have a lot more power than they realize to make themselves mentally healthy. Of course, if one spouse is willing to do that work and the other simply refuses, divorce may be the only way for the former to save himself. I got antsy when you posed that familiar either/or, because there is a third option that often gets left out of the debate.

Hugo

Sean, I'll grant you the statistics. But so many single-parent homes are also impoverished -- is it divorce or poverty that is the trigger for the bad behavior and trouble? Pinpointing divorce, rather than some other socio-economic factor, seems tough to do.

perplexed

But so many single-parent homes are also impoverished -- is it divorce or poverty that is the trigger for the bad behavior and trouble?

Hugo, you started this thread with some very personal anecdotes that to you were specific examples of where divorce was necessary. Now you seem to be going out on a limb here trying to say that it's possibly poverty, not a missing father, that leads kids to delinquency. What a leap! Why do you speculate this? Are you jumping on the feminist bandwaggon trying to belittle and play down the importance of fathers? Your own father obviously was incredibly important to you, but you do what other feminists do when looking at the general population - look for OTHER excuses as to why fatherless children are much more likely to be divorced themselves, more likely to suicide, more likely to take drugs, more likely to commit crime. Not having your father around versus having your father around are two very different lives. You don't think fatherlessness in itself can impact many children, especially if the father is completely alienated from the children? I read somewhere that the prevelance of drug use and suicide were still higher for rich families without fathers.

For your reading : Experiments in Living: The Fatherless Family

Technocracygirl

You don't think fatherlessness in itself can impact many children, especially if the father is completely alienated from the children? I read somewhere that the prevelance of drug use and suicide were still higher for rich families without fathers.

There have been a number of studies done about two-parent vs. one-parent households. In all of them that I can recall, two-parent is better? Why? Because raising kids is hard work and expensive work. The more caretakers you have around, the better off the kids will be, because the work is spread around. The weight of the world isn't on one person's shoulders. (Which, I think is how a good marriage exists, regardless of kids. Each person works to lighten the other's load.)

However, if one of the two (or both!) caretakers aren't good at said caretaking role, or if the two caretakers can't get along well enough to do well at the caretaking job, then the caretaking job isn't going to get done as well or perhaps even as less well as it would be if the caretakers separated.

I don't think there's a whole lot of people who would disagree on that: Divorce is not a panacea. But neither is it an option which should never be contemplated.

(And please note that I am trying to not gender-ify the debate; mixed couple, gay couple, lesbian couple. I don't much care what the makeup of the two is.)

nobadges


The year before my parents got divorced, our house was tense all the time. They fought all the time. After they got divorced, it eventually went to a happy place again. Yeah, it was hard, but I don't think any of us would have been happy in a forced together situation for the next 15 years.

My wife's parents, on the other hand, have lived together "for the children" for about ten years where they haven't really been "together" any more. They sleep in separate rooms, grunt at each other from time to time, and constantly complain to the kids about the other spouse.

I know which of those two situations I would choose.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Regular reads

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 01/2004