Let’s talk about divorce for a moment.
My parents were divorced when I was five years old, so I speak as one who has first hand experience in both the pain and the host of insecurities that are often a byproduct of a failed marriage. My first observation has to do with the cavalier attitude toward divorce popularized by the law firms who specialize in dissolving marriages.
For instance, I came across a full color advertisement hanging on the wall in a men’s restroom with this slug line: “Don’t Let Your Starter Wife Take Your Dream House.”
Or take the controversial billboard in Chicago last year featuring the message: “Life’s short. Get a divorce.” The law firm behind the billboard pictured a busty woman in a negligee on the left; on the right side, a well-tanned man with rock-hard abs was spotlighted. The message? If you’re unhappy, don’t stick around in a bad marriage when there are so many sexy, available, and willing options to pursue.
It breaks my heart to see how some have trivialized marriage in these ways. As I see it, promoting the concept of a “starter wife” or “starter husband” inherently diminishes one of the core hallmarks of marriage: permanence. From the beginning of time, God’s blueprint for marriage has been the union of one man and one woman–for life. And for good reason. When a couple takes divorce off of the table, that bedrock of commitment brings a security and stability that sustains them even when times get tough.
My wife Jean is not my “starter wife.”
That said, back in December I came across a rather odd news story which, in an unconventional way, makes the case for married couples to stay together. Here’s the headline:
Divorce Bad For Planet, Study Says.
Evidently, a pair of researchers at Michigan State University concluded that the upswing in the divorce rates contributes directly to a sharp increase in the consumption of natural resources and the creation of household waste. This, in turn–as some are now arguing–contributes to global warming! While we know the earth is warming, I’m not convinced that we understand why the earth is warming.
The other night on the National Geographic channel, for example, they talked about the extinction of the Mammoth. The theory was that the earth warmed at a rapid pace and eliminated vegetation for the Mammoth to eat. This warming occurred over a couple of decades at a time when there was no industrialized human contribution to the carbon footprint.
Nonetheless, here is their logic about the ecological impact of divorce on global warming.
Where there was once one household to heat, cool, light, and outfit with furniture, toys, clothes, and other consumables, after a divorce two dwellings with fewer people living in them are created. There’s also the fuel consumed and the emissions released into the environment as divorced parents shuttle the kids between their two homes. (The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)
In the old days we were encouraged to keep our marriages intact because that was God’s divine design. We also know there’s overwhelming evidence that children do best when families stay together. Today, however, we’re told we ought to stay married . . . for the sake of Planet Earth.
What will they think of next?