Divorce is a disaster. Don’t let’s make it easier | The Spectator

It is true, whether we like it or not: children are best brought up by their genetic mum and dad, who are married, not merely cohabiting.

Source: Divorce is a disaster. Don’t let’s make it easier | The Spectator

“It is true, whether we like it or not: children are best brought up by their genetic mum and dad, who are married, not merely cohabiting. They are the ones who have the best outcomes. No matter how inconvenient this fact might be as regards our wish to have sexual intercourse with as many people as is humanly possible, it is still nonetheless a fact. And we should not ignore it simply because it cramps our style a little and does not give us the non-judgmental freedom we crave. It is one of the few areas where science agrees with the church. And yes, I’m a divorcee — but it doesn’t alter the facts” – from the linked essay.

There has long been argument as to exactly when “the rot set in,” as far as the American expression of Anglicanism – then almost exclusively represented by the Episcopal Church – is concerned.

Some say it was when the ordination of women fundamentally changed how the clergy (and especially the priesthood) was viewed and understood; others, that it was Prayer Book reform, sacrificing solid, orthodox theology, reverent, dignified language, and traditional morality in exchange for more “relevant,” contemporary language and a wider range of choices. There is undoubtedly truth to both of these.

Some argue that it was the “death of God” movement, and the failure of the Episcopal Church hierarchy to discipline Bishop Pike for not only holding, but teaching, doctrines about God and Christ that were theologically unorthodox, to say the least. That was clearly a major contributor: when the theological underpinnings of a religion are effectively kicked out, one cannot expect the moral framework to hold for long.

But one that only gets mentioned occasionally, probably because so many people are affected by it, is the decision of the Episcopal Church, in 1973, to permit remarriage of divorced persons in and by the Church. Annulment by the bishop was still required, but it had by that time become basically pro forma, and was unlikely to be denied as long as the parties concerned were divorced by civil authority.

In this, the Church did no more – and no less – than conform to the standards of civil, secular society. But is that that what the Church is called to do? Certainly, it set the stage for conforming to civil, secular society in other ways, to the point that it has become extremely difficult to detect any distinction between the two, when it comes to issues of marriage and/or human sexuality.

But while this may be concerning, on a number of levels, the consequences to the children of divorced couples is tragic. As Ron Liddle, author of the linked piece, points out, divorce can be catastrophic in the lives of children, and the effects can follow them for the rest of those lives.

I myself know a child of divorce who sadly commented, “There’s mom’s house, and there’s dad’s house, but there’s no MY house.” This poignant observation encapsulates, in my view, the lack of security, stability, and reassurance experienced by the children of divorced couples. The psycho-emotional effects can be severe, and long-lasting.

Now, I am very well aware that there can be worse things – for both the couple and their children – than divorce: persistent patterns of abuse, neglect, and infidelity, for example. But that does not make divorce benign, nor should it be easy.

Marriage is intended to be a life-long union; going in with the idea that you can always get a divorce if “it doesn’t work out,” or bailing the first time you hit a rocky patch, is almost a guarantee of failure. Marriage is a commitment, and it requires commitment, from both partners, to succeed. And just as the benefits are great when it does succeed, so are the pitfalls, if it does not.

Something to think about BEFORE tying the knot, rather than after. As the old saying used to go, “Marry in haste, repent in leisure!”

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

2 thoughts on “Divorce is a disaster. Don’t let’s make it easier | The Spectator”

  1. Interestingly, when I married, in my mind, it was for life. That whole “death do you part” thing was ingrained in my psyche, but I was only half of the equation. So, I’ve been through a divorce, not once, but twice, and still believe that, barring extreme circumstances, it still should be. Now, all of that said, I actually appreciate the way that the Baha’i Faith handles divorces. When a married couple believes that their marriage is over, they enter the Year of Patience. During that year, they do not live under the same roof, but they begin addressing why they got married in the first place; what made them fall in love; they attend counseling (marriage if that’s best, or as is often the case, financial); and they date. Both parties are still responsible for all care previously provided (i.e., if mom is a stay-at-home mom, dad still pays the bills – although it may be discussed that mom gets a job with dad’s assistance). If at the end of that year they both decide they cannot continue in the marriage, they’re actually better off, because they’ve learned to communicate, to discuss issues of importance, and to co-parent. They may then begin civil proceedings. I’m of the opinion that getting married should be a bit more involved, with a LOT more talking and counseling before it happens. But after that, a couple should be afforded opportunities to remember about romance, falling in love, fiscal responsibility, etc. in a sort of continuing cana education. The Pope is working on that one. 🙂


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