Faith, Family & Fun

Faith, Family & Fun is a personal column written weekly by Joe Southern, a Coloradan now living in Texas. It's here for your enjoyment. Please feel free to leave comments. I want to hear from you!

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Location: Rosenberg, Texas, United States

My name is Joe and I am married to Sandy. We have four children: Heather, Wesley, Luke and Colton. Originally from Colorado, we live in Rosenberg, Texas. Faith, Family & Fun is Copyright 2014 by Joe Southern

Monday, November 21

We need to stop this culture of divorce

There is a reason God says “I hate divorce”. Actually, there are many reasons for hating divorce. My first marriage ended in a divorce that was very much against my wishes. My wife’s first marriage ended for safety reasons. Our marriage has taken some mighty blows, but we have always stuck together. Our love and relationship have grown much stronger because of our commitment to God and each other. It saddens and infuriates me to see how flippant marriage is treated in the United States these days. There is a lot of buzz about reality TV star Kim Kardashian’s 72-day marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries. Hollywood is full of celebrity marriage shams, including the multiple, brief marriages of Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Shannen Doherty, Pamela Anderson, Lisa Marie Presley, Rick Salomon, Nicolas Cage, and Drew Barrymore; Britney Spears’ 55-hour debacle; the refusal of stars such as Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt to make their live-ins legal; and so on. There is also the issue of same-sex marriage, but that is a topic for another day. Nonetheless, it is another cultural assault on marriage. What really galls me is how the legal system treats divorce. How many billboards and advertisements do we see from lawyers pitching “easy” and “quick” divorces? How many divorce-made-easy books and websites are out there now? When was the last time a judge refused to grant a divorce? The no-fault divorce laws make not only a mockery of marriage, but also of contracts, vows, commitment, honesty and integrity. I have yet to see a divorce where there wasn’t fault or blame involved. Whether one or both spouses are to blame, there is fault to be found. It is my belief that the guilty party or parties should be held legally accountable for their actions. If a person cheats on their spouse, becomes abusive or neglectful, or causes irreparable harm to the marriage in some way, they should be held liable and fully responsible for their offense. That a spouse could cheat on a marriage and walk away with half the income and the kids is absurdly unfair and reprehensible for the courts to uphold. But it happens every day and the problem is escalating. When a man and a woman get married, they make a moral and legally-binding contract. It is a vow, a commitment for life. The wording of the marriage vows does not include an escape clause. When children are born to the marriage, the obligation and commitment deepen. When a couple divorces, the courts focus on “what’s best for the child”. What a farce! What is best for the child is to live safe and secure in their own home with both parents. Failure of our courts and our culture to support this is a travesty and a crime in itself. There are many child advocacy groups. In some divorce cases, even the children get an attorney to look out for them. Where are the marriage advocates? Where are those who will stand up in defense of a struggling marriage? Who will help a couple overcome their problems and restore their relationship? If a business breaks a contract, there are legal remedies and ramifications. If a spouse breaks the marriage contract, not only are there no penalties, but the system is geared toward dissolving the contract, not enforcing it. The victims of such cases are left with devastation and financial ruin much of the time. Culturally, Americans are a greedy, self-centered lot whose word – even in writing – isn’t worth a hill of beans. Even outside the realm of marriage, our $15 trillion debt tells the world how untrustworthy we are. When you couple that with the staggering personal debt load the average American carries, it’s no wonder we’re in a deep recession. We are a society that will sacrifice the future to meet our greed for the moment. We do it with stuff and we do it with people, especially those we love. Most marriages end because of selfishness. Whether it’s an affair or money problems, the root is almost always because one partner has placed their wants above the needs of the other and their relationship. The baby boomers were once called the “me generation”. What they have produced are successive “me” generations. It’s an attitude and a mindset that must transform into a “we” generation. We need to learn to sacrifice for others, to postpone gratification and to live responsibly. Only then can we expect to save marriages and families and to restore our financial, emotional and cultural wellbeing. Besides, if God hates divorce, shouldn’t we hate it too?

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