Are Alarming Increase in Divorce Rates a Sign of Progress or Regress?
More marriages are seeking the path of separation rather than the harder path of working together towards solutions. The breakdown of the institution of marriage can lead to broken disjointed families and consequently lay the foundation for many societal problems in the future.
Why are we seeing an increase in the divorce rates?
There are several factors including an increasing societal tolerance towards broken marriages, an increased awareness of personalities and personal spaces, a lower tolerance level, increasinf frustration levels, emotional and financial insecurities, impulsive decision making, increased violence (verbal and physical), lack of clarity over value or ethical systems especially pertaining to the person, couple, family and society.
Personality issues such as aggression, lack of a compromising spirit (give or take), wanting to always win, and lack of parental and family support either due to physical distance or emotional distance can make the couple rapidly reach a stage where divorce seems a reasonable alternate to working out solutions.
Low frustration tolerance can be a major factor where any disagreement between couples is considered as a personal grudge leading to impulsive or aggressive outbursts irrespective of young children being around, lack of tolerance for a difference of opinion, or even a “If you can do like that then why can’t i do like this” attitude. Low frustration tolerance can shatter the whole sensitivity of any close relation.
Emotional and financial insecurities where the concerns of a nuclear family predominate and caring for elders is considered a burden even in terms of health or survival aspects. A lack of empathy for the partner that may be driven by one’s pwn state of “suffering”, counting how much or less each partner contributed to the family expenses or maintenance, unhealthy comparisons in lifestyle with relatives/friends to the point of excluding or undermining one’s own strengths and comforts become added burdens that contribute to an unhealthy atmosphere.
Impulsive decision making in terms of involving a third person (usually family members) even in minor fights between couples, decision to involve legal, media or police systems to pose threats to the partner, inability to introspect or analyze one’s own actions that may contribute towards the friction and make meaningful changes, and using young children as peace makers by complaining to them on each other (that burdens and confuses the young minds) are unhealthy trends that come back to bite later….with a big bite, too.
Increased Violence both physical or verbal can stress the home environment by noise pollution, terror, unhealthy living environment and a pervading sense of fear. Degrading each other making one feel unwanted or rejected is also a form of violence or abuse. Children in such families can develop wide variety of emotional or academic problems (bed wetting, lying or stealing behaviors, reduced concentration, high anxiety or fears that impairs ones ability to learn and retain academic or other information).
Lack of clarity or even absent value or ethical systems are also a major factor in the lack of unity in the family system. More weight given for material comforts rather than teaching children sets bad examples. Eating out or family trips that are more a prestige issue than an occasion to bond, focusing more on talking rather than actions, focusing on short term gains rather than long term security or savings for the future of the family teach certain values to the children. A lack of concern for the elders also sets a bad example. The feeling that spending more equates to a better life brings in its own attendant ethical and moral values.
The family can work together if importance is given to the overall functioning of the family including clear roles and responsibilities. The role of the woman in the family is a more complex role that has assumed more complexity as families go nuclear. The pressure is on the woman to adapt, often unfairly so, and the woman is expected to be in a constant state of adaptation and compromise- whether it is related to personal habits, academics, work. The Male or husband has to play the role of a bridge or buffer that balances expectations of the partner with what is expected of the partner. It is important to realize that marriage involves changes from everyone as acceptance of the partner as an equal member grows.
A united family requires flexibility, adaptability and a willingness to find practical realistic or pragmatic solutions. Change does not happen overnight. It is a slow process. Frictions and disagreements are common in all marriages but the way you work on the disagreements determines the health of your marriage.
The future of the family needs openness, a willingness to discuss difficulties, healthy involvement of family members in problem solving, breathing spaces for privacy. A healthy family is possible if everyone works towards it without judgments and if everyone realizes that neither the woman nor the male are just stereotyped pictures but humans in their own rights.