February 8th 2015
Prof. Amy Bunger
Every little girl dreams of their fairy tell wedding, meeting their prince charming, having children and living happily ever after. Divorce or dissolution of marriage means the marriage ending and a major social problem in America. Couples who divorce find themselves on an emotional roller coaster, filled with fears and anxiety about an uncertain future, perhaps with thoughts that they might be able to patch things up. (Henslin, 2013, p. 346) Divorce not only hurt the two adults involved, it also affects the children in the family tremendously.
The United States has a high divorce rate with the divorce rate peaked in 1980 and then held steady for about 15 years. (Henslin, 2013, p. 345) Love being the reason why so many marry, and seek the fairy tell of everlasting love. The day-to-day duties of a marriage are straining and the love felt in the relationship is no more. Emotional overload pushes partners to divorce. (Lasch 1977). (Henslin, 2013, p. 352) Symbolic interactionists explain how ideas, meanings, and expectations associated with marriage and family life have changed. (Henslin, 2013, p. 355) Ideas of children have changed, so have ideas of parenting. These new expectations have placed even more stress on marriage. (Henslin, 2013, p. 352) Making sure children have supporting parents has put added stress on the family structure leaving little time for mom and dad. Both parents working in today’s family, makes it harder to divided housework, bills, and parenting. With such a great importance placed on marriage, family, and finding true love, the emotional and psychical needs in the relationship remain unmet, while trying to satisfying balance of work, childcare, and housework, which leads to many marital problems. (Henslin, 2013, p. 358)
Women who divorce after focusing on being homemakers face distinct disadvantages. Their income plunges after divorce; work skills are rusty and have a hard time finding a good job. (Henslin, 2013, pp. 204-205) Men suffer in divorce, too. They are more silent, but love and miss their kids. Sometimes neglected in their roles as fathers, become a babysitter that pays half of everything. (Cheney, 2000, p.11) Divorce disrupts the lives of about 1 million children (Wilcox and Marquardt 2009), leaving children unsure and scared. (Henslin, 2013, p. 346) Sometimes children have negative home environments due to the parents fighting. Some claim that divorce scars children for life; while others say they are better off removed from unhealthy relationships. Schoolwork suffers, along with socializing with friends, and some will run away thinking that will solve the parent’s problems. The children of divorce have emotional problems, but the reason is uncertain. (Henslin, 2013, p. 346) Parents do fewer activities with their children, not as involved, and discipline is relaxed. Giving the child the reassurance needed to feel safe and loved will help with the difficult transition.
Divorce used to represent failure, irresponsibility, and immorality. Divorced people were social outcasts. (Henslin, 2013, p. 354) In society today, marriage is no longer a sacred, everlasting union between two people. As divorce became more common, the meaning changed from a symbol of failure to a “new start.” It no longer suggested shame and dishonesty, but opportunity and self-actualization. Laws have changed to make it easier to divorce, unlike earlier years, where adultery was