Skip to main content

Marriages don't fail because they come to an end.

I am not sure I understand the opposition to same-sex marriage. It is not as if marriage as an institution has been particularly successful in recent times. But this post is not about same-sex marriage. It is about marriage in general.

Something like 33% of marriages end in divorce within a 15 year period.  The number of divorces is highest among men and women aged  40 - 44.  Marriages last on average for a little over 11 years. we talk of marriages that end in divorce as having 'failed'. But is the success of marriage best judged by its endurance? Perhaps there is a better measure of success.


Divorce is not an easy process. Half of couples divorcing having children under 16. David Cameron is pledged to 'strengthen families' by making it tougher to get a divorce.  The Tories see the 'breakdown' of marriage as symptomatic of a 'broken society'. But making it more difficult to divorce may not be the best approach to dealing with the collateral damage of divorce; indeed it may make it worse.


We talk of marriages as having 'failed' if they end in divorce; but marriages don't fail simply because they come to an end. Even a successful marriage might end if one or both people in it change; and people do change. Or at least what they might want changes. The marriage may have been successful in fulfilling the social union between the couple concerned, it might have achieved success with children and seeing them through their early development. The demands of life change with time, with jobs, with promotion or unemployment, with moving house, with stress and these may bring unexpected responses or affects on those involved. Even having children may have an unexpected outcome.

There is no manual for dealing with this.  The expectation that marriage is a life-long commitment may not in most circumstances be sensible.  The social and economic conditions for marriage as a social institution have changed.  "Till death us do part" regardless of context isn't necessarily the best road to happiness.  Even a successful marriage may end in divorce with changing circumstance.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ian Duncan-Smith says he wants to make those on benefits 'better people'!

By any account, the government's austerity strategy is utilitarian. It justifies its approach by the presumed potential ends. It's objective is to cut the deficit, but it has also adopted another objective which is specifically targeted. It seeks to drive people off benefits and 'back to work'.  The two together are toxic to the poorest in society. Those least able to cope are the most affected by the cuts in benefits and the loss of services. It is the coupling of these two strategic aims that make their policies ethically questionable. For, by combining the two, slashing the value of benefits to make budget savings while also changing the benefits system, the highest burden falls on a specific group, those dependent on benefits. For the greater good of the majority, a minority group, those on benefits, are being sacrificed; sacrificed on the altar of austerity. And they are being sacrificed in part so that others may be spared. Utilitarian ethics considers the ba

The secret life of Giant Pandas

Giant pandas, Ailuropoda melanoleuca , have usually been regarded as solitary creatures, coming together only to mate; but recent studies have begun to reveal a secret social life for these enigmatic bears.  GPS tracking shows they cross each others path more often than previously thought, and spend time together.  What we don't know is what they are doing when together.  Photo by  Sid Balachandran  on  Unsplash For such large mammals, pandas have relatively small home ranges. Perhaps this is no surprise. Pandas feed almost exclusively on bamboo. The only real threat to pandas has come from humans. No wonder then that the panda is the symbol of the WWF.  Pandas communicate with one another through vocalization and scent marking. They spray urine, claw tree trunks and rub against objects to mark their paths, yet they do not appear to be territorial as individuals.  Pandas are 99% vegetarian, but, oddly, their digestive system is more typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet

Work Capability Assessments cause suffering for the mentally ill

People suffering from mental health problems are often the most vulnerable when seeking help. Mental health can have a major impact on work, housing, relationships and finances. The Work Capability Assessments (WCA) thus present a particular challenge to those suffering mental illness.  The mentally ill also are often the least able to present their case. Staff involved in assessments lack sufficient expertise or training to understand mental health issues and how they affect capability. Because of  concerns that Work Capability Assessments will have a particularly detrimental effect on the mentally ill,  an  e-petition  on the government web site calls on the Department of Work and Pensions to exclude people with complex mental health problems such as paranoid schizophrenia and personality disorders. Problems with the WCA  have been highlighted in general by the fact that up to 78% of 'fit to work' decisions are  being overturned on appeal. It is all to the good that they