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Marriage and Divorce in America

With the divorce rate at roughly 50% and one of three children growing up with a single parent can or should government strengthen the institution of marriage?

In formulating an opinion, be sure to consider the following:

1. Why are divorce rates high?
2. Why do so many marriages end in divorce?
3. How does divorce affect the family?
4. What are the implications of such a high divorce rate on our society as a whole?

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look at each question from various sources, which you can draw on for your final copy. You need to position yourself for or against government intervention to protect the institution of marriage.


1. Why are divorce rates high? Why do so many marriages end in divorce?

Many factors impact high divorce rates, and the "toll on lives in terms of societal and behavioral difficulties defies measurement" (Raffel, 2000). Current statistics puts the divorce rate at roughly 50% and one of three children growing up with a single parent; government should therefore strengthen the institution of marriage.

According to Raffel (2000), for exmaple, various societal and behavioral explanations have been proposed to explain the current proliferation of divorce, including:

1. Since the advent of the Vietnam War, we have had a cultural revolution that has caused a major shift in family values and has produced an overwhelming number of broken homes. In turn, we have come to accept the fact of divorce.
2. Prior to 1965 the divorce rate was 2% to 3%. By 1985 divorce rates had escalated to 50% and have essentially remained the same.
3. Many young people have unrealistic expectations of marriage, expecting their relationship to be the perfect union. Their parents were poor role models and they are not prepared to work at their relationship.
4. Today's young couples are products of the "me generation." They are self-absorbed, focused on getting "my needs" met, but are often insensitive to the particular needs of their partner.
5. Mates want instant gratification, seeking the material goods their parents worked years to accumulate.
6. Many spouses have had multiple sexual partners prior to marriage. The parties are jaded and quickly discover how difficult it is to sustain a romantic relationship in the bedroom when they are beset with overwhelming conflicts in the kitchen.
7. Marital infidelity is all too frequent for some mates who show little guilt or remorse for their actions.
8. Often partners have little understanding of the concept of loyalty and sacrifice so essential to a good marriage.
9. Many young couples are products of divorced homes, thus permission to divorce is taken for granted.
10. Today's couples enter marriage with an expectation their union may not last a lifetime, as if theirs is a "trial marriage."
11. Some view "serial marriages" as easy come/easy go, but the fallout of betrayal, abandonment, neglect, and despair take their toll, nonetheless.
12. Many partners are anchorless, searching for their identity. They often feel as if, "I'm afloat and on my own in both marriage and career."
13. Usually couples are not schooled in the art of marital team-building. The partners lack confidence, shy away from intimacy, and lack good communication skills.
14. Many spouses are restless and impatient. When the first blush of romance fades and hostilities escalate, they impulsively throw in the sponge and give up. (Raffel, 2000)

The government should intervene to address these proposed causes.

2. How does divorce affect the family?

Although divorce rates ...

Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution explores if government should strengthen the institution of marriage based on the high divorce rates and number of single parents increasing. References provided in APA format.