Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kill No-Fault Divorce!


It’s been a long time since I wrote anything for this blog. I went on a short trip to Colorado with friends, and meant to upload some photos from that trip. So, since I hadn’t gotten that done, I kept putting it off.

So, forget the photos. They’ll be available eventually. In the meantime, I want to express a few opinions about marriage. But first, a story.

I, like many, many people of my generation, have been divorced. My husband was diagnosed schizophrenic and I stayed for 10 years, hoping for a cure, but finally was too afraid for myself and my 3 children to continue hoping. And the truth is, he is still besieged by his illness and has never been able to live a normal life. My children have grown up to be successful, happy people, but I am under no delusions that they were not affected by those troubled years and by the loss of their father, even if he was sometimes on another planet.

Last month my son’s wife (38) suddenly announced that she “didn’t think she was inlove anymore,” and 3 days later took off her wedding ring, started going out dancing in Scottsdale, coming home at 3:00 in the morning, having secret conversations on her cell phone, having lunch with her friends every day, and even going out and purchasing a $25,000 Volvo for herself.

We are all absolutely devastated by this news. We never had any idea that she was unhappy. We thought they were a typical couple who have been married for 15 years. Is there any married woman who hasn’t felt like she isn’t in love anymore? Anyone who’s ever read anything or even watched Dr. Phil knows that every marriage goes through hot and cold spells, ups and downs. That’s why, for God’s sake, the wedding vows say “for better or worse,” and I am so surprised that she, a teacher, contends that divorce is no big deal. All the recent literature states the opposite – that longitudinal studies show that children of divorce are still experiencing difficulties in their 30’s. That children of divorce are more likely to drop out of school, have teen pregnancies, get in trouble with the law, and, of course, end up divorced themselves, causing more children to experience the death of a family.

My daughter-in-law’s parents were divorced when she and her siblings were teenagers. Her brother is a drug addict and no one in the family wants him around because he steals from them. Her sister is a different kind of addict. She is addicted to the attention of men. She has been in at least 10 different relationships since we’ve lived in Arizona. The joke is that she changes men like most people change their underwear. She cannot move from that initial passionate stage of love (which is really lust, I think) to a mature kind of love. And now, this daughter is acting out. I can’t imagine what her parents must be going through, no matter what the daughter says. They surely suspect that something is seriously wrong here.

In the meantime, my son is a wreck. Their two kids have no idea what’s coming at them. They have heard the word divorce, but they are 6 and 10. They’ve known nothing but a close and secure family life, they can’t even imagine what divorce really means. For years, my son and his wife have focused on the children, and now, these poor kids are going to see what it’s like when their parents are too consumed with taking care of themselves to pay any attention to them. No one is willing to take the kids to counseling. The idea of family counseling sends the wife into a temper tantrum.

They have the most beautiful home – a home that they have both worked hard on, and now the housing market is terrible. It may take 6 months to sell it. There certainly won’t be enough money out of the house to buy two other houses, so the kids will wind up in an apartment, I guess. They just recently hired a muralist to paint an undersea mural for the 6-year-old’s room – he’s in a shark phase – and he loves it. Well, goodbye to that. The other one loves to dunk the basketball as he jumps into the lovely pool. Goodbye to that, too.

Years ago, I made the mistake of thinking that divorce is the answer. But I’ve learned a lot since then. I now believe that marriage is a contract and you have a duty and an obligation to work things out. If there are children involved, I think a divorce should be granted only if there is abuse of a spouse or of the children. Biologically speaking, I believe that humans are required to make sure their children grow up and pass on the genetic information they were given. I don’t think that nature gives a shit whether you’re happy or not, fulfilled or not, in love or not. What nature cares about is that you teach your children to cope with trouble, to survive hard times, to be creative in looking for solutions, to be caring and compassionate. Nature wants us to value the family more than anything so that the offspring can grow to maturity, find a mate, and reproduce. What divorce does is make children distrustful of members of the opposite sex, to think that betrayal is guaranteed. After all, if the people who are supposed to love you and take care of you can’t do it, then what chance have you?

I am joining the Americans for Divorce Reform and will work hard to try and repeal no-fault divorce. The legislators who passed that law are appalled now at what they’ve done.
"I did not foresee the approximately one million American children now affected annually by divorce, twice the number of 30 years ago. 'No-fault' divorce has too often harmed children. This must change."
Congressman Tim Penny (D-Minn.), recalling his vote to introduce
no-fault when he was a state legislator.

They realize that no-fault divorce has ruined thousands of lives and will continue to do so. Go to the web site and learn how we can fix this. Please join and help us. It’s too late to help my son and my grandsons, but it may not be too late for others.
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