Is Divorce Ruining American Society?

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Final dissolution of marriage
Differing opinions on how detrimental divorce may be for both the parents and the children.

Coming from a divorced family, I have spent my life questioning the idea of a life-long commitment. Most of the adults I know have been divorced at least once, and of the couples who are still married, most of them (along with their kids) appear miserable. And so, while I would love to find a companion whose company I will enjoy "'til death do us part," I've learned from observation that this just might not be a realistic goal. And is it so horrible to think that maybe we weren't supposed to spend our entire lives with one person? Is traditional marriage the best—or only—way? Read: Open Marriage Is Not A Fad

Caitlin Flanagan, author of the Time article "Is There Hope for the American Marriage?" thinks so. But I just don't agree with the lady who claims that there is "no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country as the collapse of marriage."

Flanagan's lengthy piece starts with a few anecdotes about recent political affair scandals, which she uses to demonstrate the point that marriage can either be a wonderful security in an "uncaring world" or, in Senator John Ensign and Senator Mark Sanford's cases, "a matchless tool for the infliction of suffering on the people you supposedly love above all others, most of all on your children." I agree that affairs are not the answer. But most ended marriages aren't the outcome of adultery, they're a result of incompatibility. I just don't believe that a miserable couple should stay hitched for the sake of "tradition." Read: What We Learn From Gov. Sanford's Love E-mails

The next part of Flanagan's article discusses the changes "The American Family" has undergone throughout the past decades—according to sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin, contemporary American families are characterized by 'frequent marriage, frequent divorce,' and a number of 'short-term co-habiting relationships.' In his book, he claims 'these forces create a great turbulence in American family life, a family flux, a coming and going of partners on a scale seen nowhere else. There are more partners in the personal lives of Americans than in the lives of people of any other Western country.' Read: Coping With Divorce

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Written by Carrie Wasterlain for The Frisky.

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