Divorce

“There are many good Church members who have been divorced. I speak first to them. We know that many of you are innocent victims—members whose former spouses persistently betrayed sacred covenants or abandoned or refused to perform marriage responsibilities for an extended period. Members who have experienced such abuse have firsthand knowledge of circumstances worse than divorce.

When a marriage is dead and beyond hope of resuscitation, it is needful to have a means to end it. I saw examples of this in the Philippines. Two days after their temple marriage, a husband deserted his young wife and has not been heard from for over 10 years. A married woman fled and obtained a divorce in another country, but her husband, who remained behind, is still married in the eyes of the Philippine law. Since there is no provision for divorce in that country, these innocent victims of desertion have no way to end their married status and go forward with their lives.”

“Now I speak to married members, especially to any who may be considering divorce.

I strongly urge you and those who advise you to face up to the reality that for most marriage problems, the remedy is not divorce but repentance. Often the cause is not incompatibility but selfishness. The first step is not separation but reformation. Divorce is not an all-purpose solution, and it often creates long-term heartache. A broad-based international study of the levels of happiness before and after “major life events” found that, on average, persons are far more successful in recovering their level of happiness after the death of a spouse than after a divorce. Spouses who hope that divorce will resolve conflicts often find that it aggravates them, since the complexities that follow divorce—especially where there are children—generate new conflicts.”

This past week we discussed divorce and the many different aspects that accompany that. I decided to do some research on the topic because it is not something that I am super familiar with. My parents have been married for many years and a good majority of my friends parents have been married for many years. For this reason I am pulling material from a talk by Dallin H. Oaks entitled “Divorce” to help me out a little bit.

As I was researching this material I came to a couple of different conclusions. The first one has to do with the first quote that I have posted at the top. It talks about there being situations in which divorce is necessary. I would agree with that because I do believe that there are certain situations in which it is very necessary, whether it be because a spouse is unfaithful or because they’re abusive. I do think there are many situations that fall under this and I do believe that there are times when divorce is necessary. If you are in a situation in which your spouse has been cheating or is being abusive then like Elder Oaks said, there is a reason to an end of a terrible situation.

However with that being said I also think there are many situations in which divorce may just seem like the easy solution to a fixable problem. I have seen this problem in society today where the two people just think that their relationship is damaged beyond repair and the easy way out is to walk away from it. It is very sad to think we live in a society today where this is a common thing and it is generally accepted by everybody. I think Elder Oaks said it best when he said that the solution to this problem is humility and repentance. Many of these problems are caused by selfishness that one or the other or both are unwilling to overcome. If we could only realize the damage that this causes emotionally for all involved, I think we would be more willing to work through it.

I am grateful to have been born to a family where my parents set such a great example of love and working through problems. Their example will shape how my relationship with my future wife is and I can never thank them enough for that. Lets all work together through our problems when we are able to and allow our families to grow stronger and closer through problems, not apart.

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Families…?

I remember when I was in 7th grade I was sitting in my typewriting class and listening to my friends talk about their divorced parents. “Mine got divorced when I was 6” “Mine got divorced when I was 10” “Mine separated before I was even born”. I sat there and listened to them talk about this until one of them turned to me and asked “How long have your parents been divorced Kent?” I stared blankly at them and replied “Oh mine are still together…” Not realizing how blessed I was to have that.

I thought about that for the rest of the day, thinking that I was somehow different or less than them because my parents were still together. In a world that had normalized divorce and was constantly attacking traditional families, was I even considered a part of a normal family anymore? It sure didn’t seem like it as I thought about how many of my friends parents had separated.

I had completely forgotten about that experience until I was on my mission and I saw once again how common it was for people to get divorced. I thought back to my own family at home with a renewed gratitude that my family had stuck together. We had experienced trials, sure, but we always came through them with a renewed closeness. It made me grateful and happy to think about my family back home as I witnessed the difficult effect divorce could have on a family.

It has been so saturated in our media today that we often times don’t even blink an eye at it anymore. How common is it for actors, athletes, and other celebrities to divorce? Just the other day I was on my way to school and over the radio they were discussing the divorce between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. They were talking about how they were going to have 3 houses, 1 for Ben Affleck, 1 for Jennifer Garner, and 1 for the kids. BA and JG would take turns at the kids house so that the kids wouldn’t have to go in between houses. How is that something that is good for the kids? I can’t even imagine my life without both my Father and my Mother together. I imagine it is difficult for the children to know that their parents aren’t together anymore.

I look at society today and a couple of things come to mind on the subject. The first one being that I have personally experienced the blessings that come from having a home that contains both a Father and a Mother. The second thing being how that is becoming more and more rare and how I need to be grateful for that.

I remember growing up and going through High School that I watched a lot of my friends parents get divorced and the effect that had on them. Every single one of them had similar thoughts on the matter and those thoughts were that is was hard. It was hard to watch their parents fight and argue and to go through a divorce. It was hard realizing that the only thing that tied their parents together anymore was the fact that they had children together. They said it placed a burden on them as they realized that their parents only reason for communication was because of them and that they often times felt like it would have been easier for them to not be around so their parents wouldn’t have to deal with each other anymore.

It really is sad that this is such a harsh reality of the world that we live in. It also makes me extremely grateful that I have such a wonderful family and I know that divorce doesn’t always need to be the answer. My parents are living proof that marriages can be happy and successful and that families really are happiest when we stick together.

Families CAN be together. We just have to work hard for that to happen.