It is known that family plays an important role in our society. Today there are certain changes in family living and household composition, what has enormous impact on the development of our society. Some significant issues are closely connected with “the growth of domestic partnerships and decline in the popularity of marriage, as well as growth in the number of divorces, remarriage (serial monogamy), re-formed or step-families, single parenthood, joint custody, abortions, and two-career households”¯ (Jagger 7). That is why the debates concerning family values take into consideration certain implications of these changes as well as their causes and consequences in the life of society. The main concerns lie in contemporary changes in the family relations and gender relations which lead to the shift from the traditional model of the family with a male breadwinner at the head and an economically dependent female home-maker (Jagger 11).
The issues concerning marriage and divorce take a special place in our society as these social phenomena can change the life of individuals and their contribution to the development of society. The major goal of this paper is to discuss such family issues as divorce and remarriage and their impact on the families in the United States and in some other countries of the world.
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE AS FAMILY ISSUES
It is not a secret that in modern times “family unit remains as popular as ever”¯, although there are certain changes in beliefs and its main purpose what leads to family transformation (Robinson 10). Ā Many families experience certain changes in the roles of membership of their households. Many couples cohabit, marry, divorce, remarry, procreate children, etc. Margaret Robinson discusses these issues in her book Family Transformation through Divorce and Remarriage: A Systemic Approach. She states that “the present tendency to marry, divorce and, for one if not both the formerly married spouses, then to remarry or to cohabit, leads to a subsequent proliferation of networks of families connected through the ‘one-time married couple’, their children and subsequent children with further partners”¯ (Robinson 11). It is found that many families complete their family transformation through divorce or single-parent households, or remarriage or through the so called re-formed extended families without formal help (Robinson 182).
Divorce and remarriage can be regarded as two significant family issues. According to the study, it is rare that both partners in the family want to end their marriage. As a rule, there is always an initiator to divorce. Besides, such family issue as divorce always has negative impact on children. As a rule, children do not want their parents to divorce, but in many cases, they are not informed of the discussions about their custody. This fact has enormous impact on the psychological state of a child as he or she has first to face the actuality of the end of his parents’ marriage relations (Faber & Wittenborn 98). Ā Some couples agree to end their marriage relations without any legal processes of judicial separation. Ā However, it is found that all the family members “who are in transition during divorce and/or remarriage need support from their customary extended family and friendship networks, as well as from those whose function it is to provide them with assistance both individually and also in various subgroupings”¯ (Robinson 183).
According to Dr. Curtis Hutson (2000), one of the most significant and at the same time tragic things in the USA is “acceptance and easy availability of divorce”¯ (p.3). It is found that there has been an increase in the rate of divorce in recent years. The statistical data represented by the Census Bureau shows that in 1920s only 1 in 7 marriages ended in divorce, while today almost half of all marriages end in divorce (Hutson 3). There are a lot of various reasons for the increase in divorces, among which are acceptance of divorce by the society in general, lack of sexual morality among the partners, lack for respect for the Bible principles of marriage, the increase in independence of women, the negative impact of mass media and TV programs which represent numerous cases of sexual immorality in our society.
In order to prove the importance of divorce and remarriage as family issues, it is necessary to refer to the Bible. According to the Bible, marriage is more than just a civil contract between two people, but it is a unique divine commitment that two people will live together “until death do us apart”¯ (Hutson 4). Divorce in not included in God’s plan of marriage, because according to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime contract that can be broken only by death. That is why in order to stop the increasing rate of divorce, it is necessary to refer to the teaching of the Bible.