Saturday, February 04, 2006

Why No One is Married

Why No One Is MarriedTexas no-fault divorce informationMarriage today is no more than "registered cohabitation" because no-fault divorce was misinterpreted as "no cause & no proof" divorce. If you can divorce without true cause--then you were not truly married in the first place.

You were merely cohabiting, as in ages past, regardless what name it's called.You could always walk away from a disagreeable cohabitation, but marriage was defined in its protection by law. You couldn't get out of a marriage just because you wanted out. You had to have true cause: abuse, adultery, abandonment, or the like.

And not only cause, but genuine proof of it.When the well-meaning no-faulters tried to take adversarialism out of the divorce process, to make it friendly, it failed. The door swung wide open to "no cause & no proof" divorce. Meanwhile, adversarialism went right back into the property and custody battles.

The old "fault" laws needed overhaul to bring spousal equality, and to make the system friendlier, but no-fault's "no cause & no proof" divorce, administered by warring lawyers, was the wrong implementation.The law should have required that spouses be taught how, and helped, to settle differences as co-equals, to deliberate justly and fairly, with self-control, while honoring their partner and the vows they made for a permanent union.

Beforehand, almost any man could rule his wife and settle disputes by physical force. But spousal equality demands at least a little education, a working knowledge of civilized diplomacy and reasoned compromise--for both genders.The no-fault laws did not train the partners to solve any problems. The laws simply--and grievously--empowered the courts to settle all their disputes for them, in one grand sweep, by divorce, no matter how whimsical or trivial the disagreement. No-fault did not elevate the status of wives as co-equal family managers. It lowered the status of both spouses, while it elevated the courts as the new, and not-so-charitable, family managers.

The no-fault divorce system, as implemented, funded divorce. It channeled money from troubled families to divorce lawyers, now at hourly rates in three digits, in exchange for dividing children and property. The court's officers were hired and paid to terminate marriages, not to save them.The no-fault legal system, as envisioned, was to be a family hospital, to comfort the hurting spouses and bandage the wounded marriages. Instead, it became a family morgue. It promised to give relief from the former hostilities of the "fault" legal system, but it became more hostile than ever.

Reconciliation dollars, facilities, and assistance were promised, but they never materialized. A generation and a half later, we know that the experiment did not work as planned.In truth, our no-fault laws, as implemented, abolished true marriage. After many years of no-fault, we no longer even respect the solemn covenants that partners make between themselves and God. Instead, we respect the solemn covenants that lawyers make between themselves and a judge.

Although cohabitation is handicapped in many ways, it unfortunately has one important advantage: ordinary cohabitation keeps government out of the home. In contrast, the registered cohabitation that we still call marriage invokes the jurisdiction of government officers. They receive authority to manage the lives of both spouses and their children with legal force.No wonder people cohabit. No wonder we have so many broken homes. Partners can walk away from the slightest inconvenience, at any time, with court assistance. They don't ever have to conciliate, or swallow their pride and say they are sorry, or try to please anyone but themselves.

When divorce was made into a guaranteed certainty, it became an easy way out of hard times.Partners knew they would no longer be pressed by embarrassing questions about covenants and faithfulness, as they moved on to their next cohabitation. Nor could they be stopped.The fundamental attribute, the unique defining characteristic, the earmark, that always distinguished true marriage from cohabitation, is legal security--protection by law--protection by divorce law.Today, that protection is gone. Genuine proof of true cause was always required for divorce, and anything else--but that--should have changed in an overhaul of divorce law.It is one thing to let spouses decide, without intrusion, for their own private reasons, whether to live together, or to live apart indefinitely.

But it is another thing altogether, for government not to question the cause, when government has already intervened, when government is asked to destroy a marriage, totally and permanently.The legal security of true marriage cannot be a chain. But neither can it be a thread. It must be a sturdy fabric, a flexible but tough canvas, to weather the gales of life.That's why true marriage is so secure and stable for mates.

When spouses cannot easily shake off their yoke, they soften it by mutual accommodation. In other words: spouses don't stay together because they get along; they get along because they stay together.And that's why true marriage is so secure and stable for children.True marriage is underwritten by law. Children can rest assured that no passing storm will carry either of their parents away.

They know that the whole force of government stands as a benevolent guard to protect their homes and both of their providers.We are not in the midst of a divorce crisis. It is a marriage crisis.No one is married, and no one can marry. The right to marry was taken away.The happy voices of the bride and the bridegroom are gone from our land.Copyright 2000Ed Truncellito, JDpursuejustice@lycos.com

7 comments:

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

To Miss Anonymous: I'm sorry your letter would simply not post. You are welcome to post it again, refuting the articles against no-fault divorce, so we can see a comparison between your reasoning and ours. The above article contains all the answers you need in the opposite opinion of yours.

Anonymous said...

I am writing in response to "Anonymous" who asserts that no fault divorce
1. has not substantially harmed marriage and
2. is a net improvement over the 'bad old days" of proven-fault-divorce.

I quote a portion of the Anonymous's argument:

The primary fact that these discussions leave out is that divorce *itself* does not pull the marriage asunder. No one knocks on the door of a happy home and insists that the parties divorce... almost always, the parties separate *first*, and then one party seeks the divorce because it is at the time of the divorce (the legal proceeding, not, again, the break up which preceeds it) that the financial, custodial, etc. rights and responsibilities are worked out.

Looking at your example where your friend at the supermarket was abandoned by her husband (and I'm assuming here that he was the primary breadwinner):
In the OLD days, in order to get alimony, her share of the property, etc., and in order to get divorced from this man, she would have to prove, in court, that he had committed adultery or some other such act. These trials were ugly, and expensive, and painful. Now, she may file for divorce, and all she must plead is that the marriage has broken down. I should also point out that - while laws vary from state to state - it was at the same time (1970s) that these "no fault" laws were put into place that many places passed laws that homemaking contributions, child rearing contributions, etc. must be considered by the Judge to be every bit as valuable as direct financial contributions.
In this response I would like to do two things:
1. Challenge the idea that no-fault-divorce was the best means to protect spouses who were abandoned without support, and
2. Assert and prove that no-fault-divorce is a net disaster for our culture.
3. True marriages cannot naturally or organically coalesce in no-fault-divorce cultures.

1. Fallacy :No-Fault-Divorce is the humane answer to the problem of thorny marital issues - eg the woman abandoned by her husband.
It is asserted by the writer that in the bad old days a woman could be abandoned by her husband and left destitute without the means to prove that the deserting husband had actually commited adultery, etc., and that this challenged the innocent woman with a burden of proof that she could never provide.

The people who brought us no-fault-divorce presume what this woman needs is to quickly and easily divorce her husband. That is precisely the result of no-faul-divorce - quick easy divorce. But stop and think for a moment - what exactly is her problem? Is it her marriage?
Is her problem that she and her husband pledged to love and support eachother until death? Do not be so quick to disdain this question; before prescribing a cure, think carefully about the nature of the disease. Marriage is when two people choose to stand for the good of the other until death. Marriage is a commitment to service. It is a call to Christlikeness. This call - this choice, this commitment we call marriage is not the problem.

Let us be clear: her problem is that her husband has suddenly stopped supporting her. Think carefully: what is the solution? The solution is to require by law (as we already do) that the husband support his wife.
There is no reason to think that we cannot have such support laws unless we also have quick easy divorce. They need not be linked together in our minds.

We could have the very same laws requiring support without quick easy divorce.

Stop - read that again. Don't miss the distinction.

There is no need for them to quickly divorce in order to require by law that the man support his wife.
It is precisely the opposite.
Quick easy divorce will make it l e s s likely that he will support her.
You know what he will do. This thing is not done in a corner. He will marry again.
He will have to divide his support between TWO families. Will he? We all hope so.
We hope he grows up sometime.
But if he does, it is no thanks to his quick easy divorce.
The quick easy divorce leaves his immaturity unchallenged.
He will likely continue his immature behavior and have more children with another woman.
He will go on in his immaturity, unconfronted by a culture who hopes he will somehow magically learn responsibility - while at the same time offering him a second quick easy divorce from his second wife, who, it turns out was not compatible with him either.
At some point we all have to wake up and realize that we must be a people who confront immaturity - not coddle it.

The problem is immaturity. The solution is to be a people who require honor and commitment of each other. We are addicted to coddling our adult children. They need us to stand up to them - to treat them like adults.

The answer to the epidemic of selfishness in our culture is to be a people who challenge immaturity; who confront selfishness. The answer to irresponsible marital behavior (the guy who suddenly stops supporting his wife) is absolutely not: quick easy divorce. The answer is to leave marriage as "until death do us part" and address the man who suddenly stops supporting his wife with the kinds of support laws we already have on the books - we already have long precedent of requiring and legally enforcing support.

No, this does not mean that the two people in question in this example will work through their time of trouble; yes their marriage may still fail. There may be other issues as well. But in the solution I have pointed out, - the important thing - and this is hugely important - is that the state does not adulterate the ancient conception of marriage as being Love until death. The state remains the friend of true marriage, and continues to protect the ancient social compact upon which our society depends.

2. Quick easy Divorce is a disaster for our culture.

The Anonymous writer challenges critics of no-fault-divorce, asserting that quick easy divorce in and of itself does not harm marriage.
" ..divorce *itself* does not pull the marriage asunder. No one knocks on the door of a happy home and insists that the parties divorce... "
While this sounds like an rational rebuttal to critics of quick easy divorce, it infact reveals that the writer misunderstands the nature of marriage.
The danger of no-fault divorce is not that it suddenly ends happy marriages.

The danger of this experiment is that it ends troubled marriages - and ultimately marriage itself.

Marriage is not marriage unless it is for better, for worse in sickness and in health.
Marriage is for rough weather.
Marriage is for heavy loads.
Marriage is for long miles.
Marriage is for extremes.
Marriage is for trouble.
Marriage is a flexible, durable fabric that holds two people - and a whole family - together in the face of trouble.
A rope that holds together so long as there is little strain, is hardly worthy of the name.
If I with the wave of a hand could cause all rope to break if it were stressed, commerce would stop.
Another analogy.
An ocean liner that floats as long as the waves are average and the wind is easy
is hardly worthy of the name.
If I with the wave of a hand could release all ships from their duty to float when the weather turns sour, the world as we know it would change in a moment.

Thirty odd years ago, with the wave of a hand, all marriages were released from holding - for any reason.

That literal wave of the hand changed life. Within a year my family was destroyed - my mother divorced my father leaving him in despair; a few years later my grandmother had divorced my grandfather over a disagreement about college funding. A few years later my father remarried and divorced and remarried again. His sister divorced, remarried, divorced and remarried. All but one of her daughters has divorced their husbands. Children shifted back and forth through an ever breaking, ever failing world in which no bonds were strong enough to hold any weight. Marriage was not for extremes. Familes were NOT for the long haul. Families were NOT for rough weather. The first rule in the Child's Almanac was: Families usually fall apart. When they don't, they will in time.


The kernel of true marriage - which must be in place for two people to truly be married is this:



Love until death.




From this bare heavenly grain - everything becomes possible. Honor becomes possible. Commitment becomes possible. Maturity becomes possible. Adulthood becomes possible. I will love you and support you - honor and cherish you - For Better or for worse. In sickness and in health. Until death parts us.

When society as a whole functions on this definition of marriage, each individual within the society is transformed. There is no thought about giving up and getting divorced - the couples don't think that way at all. I remember hearing of the older woman who said of her husband, "I've thought of killing him a time or two - but never of getting divorced!" They just know they have to get through their trouble somehow. Everyone expects them to figure it out. It is a common cultural norm. You grow past your challenges. Reach out, get help. A man's wife gets sick - spiritually - emotionally - mentally - or physically - he will just have to grow up in the likness of Christ and take care of her the very best he can - that is what he set out to do when he married her; to serve her until death. It is what God expects of him.
Everyone around him expects it of him. It is a common cultural norm. His neighbors would be horrified to hear that he pursued a divorce instead. That is a culture of commitment. You grow past your challenges.

Children can grow in such an environment; they can become special candidates for early wisdom and maturity. They can learn sacrifice and they can behold that the real solution to all problems is to be tranformed by the power of God. The real solution is the power of Christ and - yes - the cross. Finding one's life is axiomatically related to losing it. The fundamental problem we face in marriage is never marriage; it is the carnal mind - the selfish mind; the fallen mind. The fundamental solution is only available by God's power: Christ.

3. True marriages cannot naturally or organically coalesce in no-fault-divorce cultures.
When children grow up, on the other hand, operating on the late, experimental re-definition of marriage -as being until their marriage becomes unacceptably troubled, then they by default cannot get married in the true sense of the word. They can only co-habitate, and will only co-habitate until, true to the definitions upon which they found their lives, their marriage becomes troubled more than they find acceptable. Then, when they cannot bear it, they will divorce. Divorce wasn't their idea; it seeped up into their imaginations from the depths of the cultural aquifer.

Here in the country, we dig our wells and draw water from great aquifers.
If the aquifer gets polluted - everyone gets sick.
Society as a whole is an aquifer from which we draw understanding and imagination. Marriage is an understanding - it is a phenomenon of the will and of the imagination, which we source from our parents and more than we might like to admit, from the culture at large. When the social aquifer becomes polluted by poisonous re-definitions of marriage, everyone is sickened. Even those couples who purpose in their hearts to draw only from the deep wells of God's Word find it extraordinarily difficult to filter out toxic misconceptions of married life. It leaches into their wells. At times it eats at their resolve. The poisoned cultural aquifer weakens us in ways which we only obliquely understand - and find difficult to describe. Marriage taps the depths of our wills, our imagination - our deep understandings of ourselves, of God and of our mission in life. Quick easy divorce is like odorless, tasteless dioxin in the aquifer. A deadly poison to all.

A.J.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

I'll add to that that "being out of love" is not a valid reason for divorce.

kapil kaisare said...

What does one mean when one says "being out of love" ? Isn't this another way to describe the passing over from the initial stage of infatuation into a stage which requires a mature coalescence? If you mistake infatuation for love, then I think you're missing out on what could be the greatest adventure of your life. Once you get past the initial excitement of being together, the real challenges emerge.

A house needs first to be built, then made a home. A man builds a house, and his wife brings it to life.

Then you have the first family car. Imagine the time and effort that it takes for you to get yourself into a position where you can afford to 1)Buy a car 2)Maintain the machine and 3)Afford the ever rising prices of gas. Difficult it surely is, but in the end you'll be rewarded by the delightful glee of your wife and children as your take them for their first luxury tour of the neighborhood.

Who can forget the children? At first you were a king to a wonderful queen and life-companion. Now you'll be even more - a teacher, a mentor, a role model. You'll now be guiding the destinies of those who trust you completely. You will mold their future as they first do whatever you ask them to do, then question everything that you ask them to do, and finally look back and remember everything you told them to do.

And then you have a career, where you spend every moment striving to make a better world for your children while also striving to make your wife prouder of you than she is already.

The wife has an equally heavy, if not heavier, task. She breathes warmth into the walls of cement and brick, and cause them to throb with love and life. She creates more than a congenial atmosphere - she builds a sanctuary where you and the children will find solace and comfort in the darkest hours of your journey through life. Indeed, the wife merges into the home itself - she becomes the home you return to everyday after work.

She becomes your dietician, critically guessing if you're half a kilo overweight and subtly altering your diet to keep you healthy. She becomes your psychologist, delving into your very heart and soul and bringing you comfort and courage when you need it most. She becomes a resident manager, ensuring that every piece of furniture is in tis rightful place and that everything you need when you return is at hand within easy reach. She becomes your personal psychic, reading your mind when you walk through the door in the evening and knowing whether you need a hot bath or a cup of steaming tea.

She becomes a teacher, guiding the children as they grow into responsible men and women. She picks her son up when he falls, and with a simple "Big boys do not cry" molds him into a strong and silent warrior. She becomes an ideal her daughter strives to achieve as she grows into a respnsible woman who will build a family of her own one day. She shows by example the meaning of courage, integrity, purity and honesty.

With all due respect to opposing views, who has the time to fall out of love?

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

Here is the post that I've had so much trouble getting to stick!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No Fault Divorce=The End Of Marriage":

Of course no fault divorce laws "allow" for people to work things out... no law forces any couple to separate or to divorce, nor does it prevent couples from getting back together. and to say that one party goes on trial is the *opposite* of what these laws have done (and, of course, the vast majority of divorces settle without ever going to trial).

The primary fact that these discussions leave out is that divorce *itself* does not pull the marriage asunder.

No one knocks on the door of a happy home and insists that the parties divorce... almost always, the parties separate *first*, and then one party seeks the divorce because it is at the time of the divorce (the legal proceeding, not, again, the break up which preceeds it) that the financial, custodial, etc. rights and responsibilities are worked out.

Looking at your example where your friend at the supermarket was abandoned by her husband (and I'm assuming here that he was the primary breadwinner):

In the OLD days, in order to get alimony, her share of the property, etc., and in order to get divorced from this man, she would have to prove, in court, that he had committed adultery or some other such act.

These trials were ugly, and expensive, and painful. Now, she may file for divorce, and all she must plead is that the marriage has broken down.

I should also point out that - while laws vary from state to state - it was at the same time (1970s) that these "no fault" laws were put into place that many places passed laws that homemaking contributions, child rearing contributions, etc. must be considered by the Judge to be every bit as valuable as direct financial contributions.

As to the point above, that "huge settlements" devalue marriage, I'm not sure what you're arguing. If by "huge settlement" you mean equitable division of property such that a homemaker is entitled to a share of her former husband's income and assets, I cannot imagine why you would argue that this is unjust or not in the interests of a "traditional" woman. Quite the opposite, no?

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

The letter also assumed that the couple eventually went to court after they recognized their marriage was in trouble. With no-fault divorce, this does not happen. A woman finds herself in court to defend her right to remain a married woman. She rarely knows anything about it until she gets the summons, usually delivered by a policeman or sherrif. The process you are talking about where the couple go to court as a last result, does not exist, with no-fault divorce. It makes a criminal out of the defendant.

Lady Lydia Speaks said...

It makes me feel so ashamed.

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