Marriage is Good

 Posted by on 25 March 2002 at 9:11 am  Ethics, Marriage, Relationships
Mar 252002

Maggie Gallagher has a good piece on whether divorce is all that it’s cracked up to be. (She’s reviewing Hetherington’s new book For Better or for Worse: Divorce Reconsidered.)

Two interesting facts stand out. First, people usually aren’t better off after a divorce. Many seem to be far worse off, particularly women. They are often poorer, depressed, miserable, embittered, and so forth. Second, most people don’t divorce “to escape from violent hellholes” but rather because “they are lonely, bored, depressed, dissatisfied.” A “minority of divorces” are the result of the three A’s: adultery, abuse, and alcoholism.

People make all kinds of philosophical mistakes in their marriage that make divorce seem like an attractive option. They expect the other person to fill all their needs. They develop bad habits. They don’t think creatively about how to solve their problems. They dwell on minor problems, blowing them completely out of proportion. They ignore critical issues, allowing them to become entrenched and difficult to resolve. They focus on the other person’s problems, rather than their own. They think that the mere change of a divorce will alleviate their troubles.

Given the amazing and wondrous potential of a good marriage, such failures are depressing, precisely because they are usually so unnecessary.

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