The Overrated Issue of Divorce Rates in the Latter Part of the 20th Century

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Date Submitted: 06/01/2008 11:46 AM

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The Overrated issue of divorce rates in the latter part of the 20th Century

The issue of divorce in the United States has grown significantly since the 1950’s. Barbara Whitehead, in her book The Divorce Culture places this blame on the “change in obligations of marriage and parenthood,”(Whitehead, 668), and that in turn has given the nation a new perspective on divorce in the last third of the twentieth century. Assumed effects have been given to this increase as well. Examples include marriage losing its importance in society and the idea that couples consider/view marriage as a temporary agreement as opposed to a binding contract. This attracts publicity from society and media; “50% of all marriages end in divorce” is a popular statistic, used with frequency and with little care to examine the presmises of this claim and explore exactly what it implies. One must consider other changes in society that have contributed to this staggering divorce rate. If there are other contributing factors from our culture, one must look at the effect of those changes outside the divorce rates to see if they were necessary despite their effect. It is necessary also to look beyond the negative sides of divorce and see if it has had any positive effects on our society. Divorce is often negatively associated with social stigma and emotional immaturity, preventing people from seeing how its availability and social acceptance can have positive implications for what has happened in our society. Upon further examination I will prove that the issue of escalating divorce rates is overrated. Other changes have occurred in our culture that have contributed to the increase that have are generally believed to have been for the improvement of our society. Also, the public overlooks positive effects of increasing divorce rates, due to commonly accepted negative opinion on divorce. And finally, the popular claim that half of all marriages can be debunked through a thorough investigation of...