Divorce (n.) Legal dissolution of a law bound marriage by the courts (Webster’s, 2011).
Throwing it back to the 17th century, divorce was always existent on grounds of physical harm and unsafe circumstances. It wasn’t until the 1970’s in the United States that we introduced the notion of “no fault” divorce. This meant that irreparably damaged relationships could be granted legal dissolution. Basically stating you can divorce for whatever you want as long as you are unhappy. Oklahoma was the first state and California quickly followed suit to acknowledge the success of this system (1). Our parents’ generation heard this news and RAN with it! Making the United States during the 1980’s divorce rate, peak at an all time high.
How are the 80’s relevant? Were all 80’s babies, we were the generation rocking high top fades and owned the original J’s watching Brave Little Toaster, sitting on the couch, chewing gushers. Just that while we were on the ball courts playing H-O-R-S-E our parents were filing for divorce. What were pressing issues that made the country say “F*&k marriage”? It wasn’t Twitter Myspace, Facebook, or Instagram so what do WE know? Polls taken show that high risk factors for divorce included but were not limited to:
Secular differences of inter-Faith relationships
The increase in women’s earning potential.
Pressure surrounding interracial relationships
Vices (including but not limited to drinking, porn, drugs etc.) (2)
Even with all of these issues, what happened to “till death do us part”? It’s these words that got me thinking. As a country the number of divorced people went from 4.3 million in the 1970’s and nearly quadrupled to 18.3 million by 1996, *but this cant be, aren’t people still getting divorced now?* Although this holds true the rate at which people are getting married has slumped down 30% while the divorce rate has increased by 40% (3). The 2002 US Census argues that at least 50% of marriages will end in divorce. And so far the statistics haven’t lied.
So lets talk about us. What are we in for? How fair is it that we were raised by such a non-believing generation and how do they expect US to grow from it, when broken homes and how to argue without understanding is all most of us know? Most of us didn’t have the perks of being raised by both parents just don’t feel bad, if you’re reading this it shows that you care at least about your own outcome, but what about the rest? Back in 2000 it was estimated that 1,015,000 U.S. children were involved in divorce by their 18th birthday (3). USA Today deemed that America has the lowest percentage of children who grew up with both biological parents at 63% (4). So where do we go from here?
Being a young woman or man in 2011 you hold stress of becoming and understanding what this world is all about. Hell, finding/ keeping a job is what’s on most of our minds (or at least it should be!) but when we take that step forward, how do you know where to step? You can blame Eminem, NWA, Lil Kim, Trina and DMX (GRRRRR) all you want but at some point we need to be held accountable. Shows like The Game, Boy Meets World and Saved By The Bell led me to think it would be safe to say that living with your significant other before marriage is promising only to find out it doesn’t matter. (Sorry Melanie, Topanga and Kelly). A whopping 49% of pre-cohabitated marriages fail (3), *There goes that ounce of faith out the window*, but after interviewing some people I knew there was still hope….
I asked the questions: How do you know when is a good time to consider marriage?
“When both people are stable financially and emotionally. To give yourself to someone else for the rest of your life.”
“When you are whole enough to give a piece of you away”
– Michelle Lubo
“Two wrongs don’t make a right so when people aren’t who they need to be for themselves they go into a relationship setting up for destruction” -Anonymous
Also what we have in this day and age that we cannot steer away from is the immersion of technology and relationships. Does it damper the communication between a coupple?
“With technology were loosing a sense of community. iPads and iPods. Lack of family bonding. People are so stuck to ‘I’m on my laptop your on yours’. Lets talk”. –Anonymous
“Sometimes I don’t want to talk to my girl, but I want her to know that I’m thinking of her so ill shoot her a text, she knows me. I’m not a talker”.
Do you think the present events that have happened have affected us and our judgment of marriage? Ex: gay marriage, the recession, more of us in college?
“Yes people are not looking at the severity ‘lets get married’ the age range has pushed back due to people in college… I have gay friends and family so I don’t judge but you feel indifferently when it’s not about you”. –Anonymous
“Money has a lot to do with staying happy sad to say but a lot of us just don’t have the ‘it factor’ yet” – Anonymous
“I’m a heterosexual male but I don’t feel that the legalization of gay marriage will affect our generation because the fight is for gays to have as much freedom to be in a ‘relationship hell’ a.k.a ‘marriage’ as we do. “ – Anonymous
I hear all of you and we are all different. We all must know our worth but know that we are not the world. So we need to take it back. Stop starting off where our parents left off and build a new. Back to the basics of communication, back to love songs. Back to “do you like me check box yes or no”. Learning ourselves before we learn one another while keeping an open mind in the present. Never loose sight of your dreams because the person who loves you wants you to complete them and should be pushing you to do so. Support. Finding a good balance of time together and time alone. Respect. Accepting pasts before creating a future. You read the facts so lets be sensitive to the issues of our history and don’t let it taint your love.