It is known that today divorce as a social phenomenon is socially accepted in the United States. The statistical data proves the fact that today the divorce rate is steadily increasing not only in the United States, but also in other countries of the world. Moreover, it is found that “the average lengths of the first marriages ending in divorce is about six years”¯(Shepard 315). It means that the majority of young people are not ready to live a family live. The most important factor is poor decisions in mate selection which lead to marital conflicts.Ā In addition, divorce is focused on the nature and quality of interpersonal relationships: “the more respect and flexibility taking place between partners, the lower the chance of divorce”¯ (Shepard 315). It is found that never before in the history of the USA, so many American women have been able to support themselves and their children without a husband, and the “unmarried and divorced individuals had the same legal, economic, and political options as married couples”¯, according to Stephanie Coontz (14). The major goal of this paper is to discuss why the divorce rate in the United States is steadily increasing, and what needs to be done to address that issue.
In order to find the appropriate strategies to reduce the divorce rate in the United States, it is necessary to give definition to the term divorce and to discuss the major factors that have an enormous impact on the divorce rate. The term divorce can be defined as the legal ending of marriage. There are a number of factors that lead to the increase in the divorce rate. First of all, the divorce rate depends on the economic situation. In accordance with Jon M. Shepard, in the USA, the divorce rates may increase “during economic prosperity and decrease during economic recession or depression”¯ (315). It means that the majority of people have an opportunity to concentrate on the issues other than marriage which will give them personal happiness in life. Secondly, it is found that the divorce rate is influenced by “the passage of the baby boom generation into the marriageable ages”¯, as baby boomers are more inclined to divorces and remarriages (Shepard 315). Thirdly, the divorce rate is influenced by the status of women in our society. It is known that today women are more economically and financially independent, more self-confident, and have a variety of child care options. Fourthly, today the attitudes and values of Americans concerning marriage, divorce and remarriage have changed. This fact is closely connected with the role of religion in our society. It is not a secret that today many young people do not follow the major religious principles, ignore the role of the Catholic Church which can support families and prevent them from divorce. Fifthly, the increased divorce rate can be explained by the existence of family violence. Although “Americans like the rest of the world have traditionally denied the existence of widespread family violence”¯, many women in the USA suffer from domestic abuse (Shepard 316).
In addition, it is very important to learn more about the attitude of Americans towards divorce. It is found that many Americans “visualize some version of the nuclear family which includes mom, dad and kids, or its extended family incarceration and see these models as normal”¯, in accordance with Julie Hanlon Rubio (3). However, many Americans know that today there are many different types of families, such as single families (a single mom/dad and her/his baby), or blended families which are represented by the parts of two different families through remarriage. It means that divorce is a normal thing for the majority of Americans. Moreover, the historical data proves the fact that American divorce has a long history. In accordance with Glenda Riley, “Puritan settlers first introduced divorce in the American colonies during the early 1600s”¯ (3). It is found that one of the major rules of colonial Americans was to provide peaceful family life. It means that divorce has been developed into a customary and even traditional way to address such issue as marital incompatibility.
However, it does not mean that all Americans accept divorce and remarriage. There are a number of opponents of divorce among the citizens of the USA. As a rule, critics and opponents of divorce state that “marriage is a religious sacrament and a lifetime undertaking”¯ (Riley 4). They are sure that the increasing divorce rate is a so-called signal of an inevitable disintegration of the American family. In addition, it is known that many opponents of divorce believe that all marriages in this world could be terminated only for the reason of adultery, as it is stated in the Bible. Moreover, there are many people who are sure that marriage is a contract which can be dissolved if the parties face some challenges which lead to disagreements.