Divorce, The Destruction of the American Family

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Ph.D.A+, October 1996

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There are, undoubtedly, a number of causes for the increasing number of divorces and unstable marriages. Divorce used to be considered scandalous and immoral. This contributed to many marriages surviving despite strains. However, the more common divorce becomes, the more natural and expectable it seems. The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world. Now, half of all marriages end in divorce. What are the reasons for this increase in the destruction of the American family?

Some researchers attribute the economic and social changes in recent decades as reasons for the rise in divorce. As increasing numbers of women entered the labor market they became less economically dependent on men and marriage for financial security. Many women in unhappy marriages found that they could divorce and still support themselves. These economic changes were followed by social changes: divorce became more expectable and easier to obtain.

Some experts believe that these economic and social changes have occurred with Americans' higher expectations of marriage.

People today think that the primary purpose of marriage is to fulfill emotional needs. In the past, people married for practical reasons such as companionship or financial security. Today, Americans are likely to end a marriage when emotional needs are not being met. As Dr. Ahorns states in his book Divorced Families, "Unless the relationships created by marriage and birth of children satisfy the needs for love, caring, and emotional support, the marriage is not considered a successful one." How this breakdown of the American family affects the individuals is a question of much concern.

The mother, who most often gets custody, may have to seek a job or two out side of the home. This is partly because child support income is inadequate and some fathers fail to uphold their responsibilities. The children...