Couples must make effort to avoid divorce

Soon divorce will become as easy as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Each year, millions of people spend thousands of dollars on drawn-out marriage ceremonies with exquisite parties afterward. The ceremonies often take place in a church and are lead by a religious or legal leader. The parties consist of food, music, entertainment and usually a large number of guests. There are white dresses, tuxedos, flowers and champagne.

Marriage is supposed to be special. There is no greater binding of two people in a relationship. Marriage to another person is supposed to bring entire families together and bring warmth and love to everyone involved with them.

Marriage, as many children (especially girls) are taught at a young age, is a magical goal to attain the ultimate happiness. Obviously, fairy tales do not exist in real life, but if the population would make more informed and responsible decisions, the fairy-tale marriage would not seem so far-fetched.

According to Divorce Magazine (the title itself extremely pathetic), the number of married couples in the United States in the year 2000 was 56,497,000.

The number of people divorced in the United States in 2000 was 8.3 percent of men and 10.2 percent of women. The number separated in 2000 was 1.8 percent of men and 2.4 percent of women. What is the point? If such a large number of marriages end in divorce, why bother getting married? The ability to get a divorce has become easier over the years, while the bonds of marriage have dramatically decreased in sacredness.

Soon, divorce will become as easy as breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. With divorce becoming so easily attainable, why not marry each person we date and then divorce them when we do not feel like being with them anymore? People have a right to live their lives as they wish, but why go through all the hassle of getting married and swearing to spend the rest of our lives with someone “until death do us part” when we do not really mean it? Our society has lost the concept of what makes marriage so special and the importance of only marrying people we feel are important enough in our own lives that they make us better people and will continue to make us better and happier people for the rest of our lives.

While 82 percent of marriages in the United States have a five-year anniversary, only 65 percent have a 10-year anniversary, and 33 percent have a 25th. It’s hard to believe that only 33 percent of married people live to their 25th wedding anniversary when the average age men get married is 26.9 and the average age women get married is 25.3. I guess when they swore to love and honor each other “for as long as (they) both shall live,” they were being facetious.

Another aspect of marriage many people fail to give adequate thought to is children. Many people who get married have children. But if they do not take their marriages seriously and do not believe they want to spend the rest of their lives with their spouses, having children is probably not the most responsible decision. Married people do not realize that having children will tie their lives together permanently, whether they get divorced or not. Because of divorce, the percentage of children in 2002 under 18 living with only their mothers was 23 percent. The percentage living with only their fathers was 5 percent. Once they have children, what parents do no longer affects only themselves.

Not everyone who gets married can look into the future and know for sure that there is no possibility of divorce. Not everyone can avoid divorce at all costs. Yet, people do have to be willing to use all of their energy to try as hard as they can to make their marriages work. If they are not willing to do so, they should not be getting married. The bonds of marriage are sacred, and our society needs to come to terms with this before the number of divorces makes marriage a lost cause.

Lindsay Greco is a first-year psychology student. She welcomes comments at [email protected]