[246] Divorce

[246] Divorce

We have way too many divorces in the Christian world.  There are well-known Christian colleges with alumni divorce rates that rival the national average.  Many of us have contributed to these disturbing statistics.

These things ought not to be.  The church and Christian colleges need to address this.  In many instances, neither has really come to grips with why divorce rates have spiked.  In the pre-industrial and industrial eras (as Aren Renn of urbanophile.com calls them), marriage constituted a culturally approved economic unit.  Men provided for their wives and children, while women managed the household duties.  The latter included primary care and nurture for children and myriad other tasks including cooking, cleaning, etc.–sans the appliances of today.

In short, marriage was a practical necessity, and divorce was devastating—economically—to both parties. In those times if you asked a man if he liked his job, chances are he would snap, “It’s a job.”  I know.  I did it.  Men did not look for “fulfillment” in their jobs. They had to make a living.

Similarly, people did not necessarily seek deep, intimate, emotional bonds in marriage. Surely many marriages enjoyed such closeness, but a marriage bound mainly by economic convenience and the presence of children was not necessarily unsatisfying.

Things are very different in the current post-industrial age.  Marriage is not an economic necessity for either gender.  Sex is readily available everywhere and children are not always born in wedlock.  More important, we expect much more from marriage now.  We want intimacy and companionship in a lonely, segmented world.  And many of us marry people we did not know when we grew up.  We no longer live in a womb-to-tomb community that makes divorce taboo. Furthermore, we live in a secular, narcissistic culture, one in which lack of fulfillment is a sufficient reason to leave what was intended to be a lifetime union.

All the while, the Christian world has (a) not addressed the challenges of post-industrial marriage, and (b) tacitly made divorce more acceptable.

That has to stop.  Christian colleges and churches need to confront this crisis head-on.  Classes, workshops, seminars—from a Christian perspective—need to be present in churches in colleges. The family is the most important institution in a society.  When it crumbles, the society crumbles.  When it crumbles in the Christian world, we have no witness. DC

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