Divorce in America, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Abstract

Research on the marital relationship has been one of the most studied areas in the family field. However, there still have been many issues with the empirical work and theories in this area. This research is a critical review of marital relationships, the increasing rate of divorce, and the way it affects the economy. How the divorce affects the concerned parties themselves and how it affects family, friends and children. There is also a small summary on various suggested modifications that will assist in the facilitation of any future research related to this field.

Introduction

Whether a person focuses on marital adjustments, satisfaction, happiness or other terms that are useful in marriage, this is the most frequently researched area is family life and marriage. Despite the plentiful research, in these areas, scholars still feel that there are still many other theoretical issues and methodologies that require be modifying and elaborating further. Such include definition ambiguity,  lack of a solid theoretical foundation on the marital relationship, poor unit of analysis, conservative ideology, issues to do with dimensionality, traditional relationships and couples conceptualization, economically and culturally biased samples restricted to college educated and white, middle class partners. In fact, it is still unclear how factors such as the presence or absence of children in marriage, socioeconomic status, marriage age and duration of marriage, and wives employment outside home influence many marital relationships (McGraw, 2000).

Prior to further research, and assessment on this area, there is the urgency to clarify the critical issues that arise and remain without solutions in most marital relationships. Therefore, the central inspiration of this study is to analysis the literature on the marital relationship in order to provide a significant conceptualization of the issues and provide suggestions for any further research on this same field. Therefore, the focus will be on the causes of many divorces in many marital relationships, and the way it has affected many families, children, friends and even the economy.

Historically, the study of marital relationships and divorce emerged at the same time as the era of scientific study in the behavior of family. Since that time, terms such as satisfaction, happiness, and marital adjustments have been valuable to attest to the marital relationship. In addition, the focus of most marital status studies confine to a variety of variables with most of individual’s personal studies focusing on areas such as marital finances, communication, sexual relationships and other issues relating to children and child bearing. Consequently, there have been many criticisms regarding marital relationships and satisfaction. This section will also provide various findings on marital relationships such as marital adjustments, marital satisfaction, happiness in marriage and other related constructs. Several middle range theories explains this and state that different theoretical models have been the most fundamental aspects in this area of research (Ciment, 2006).

Despite the institution of various efforts on the development of the middle-range framework theories, most of these perspectives are independent of one another. The inductive theory of marital stability shows that a considerable attention focuses on marital relationships and their survival. According to various scholars, a convincing theory that will effectively discuss marital satisfaction is yet to be established. However, in the 1970s, many researchers developed several measures to ensure marital satisfaction, quality of the relationship and the adjustment. Lack of firm conceptual bases will provide a robust framework in which to understand the quality of the marital relationship and on how to integrate various research findings.

Current divorce rate

Currently, the divorce rate especially in the western countries such as United States of America has gone up to unexplainable high levels. This has caused a lot of concern in the social, religious and political circles in the country. According to the latest statistics, fifty percent of most marriages end up in divorce. A National Center for Health’s divorce rate made sure that there was a downward trend in the divorce rate in America to about forty two percent. However, a revision on divorce rates in 2002 shows that it affects fifty percent of all individuals in America. On the other hand, there are some contradictory researches, which show that currently, the divorce rate at United States of America stands at forty two percent. According to the divorce rates taken in 2003, divorce rate had fallen by about six percent. This showed a tremendous decrease in U.S divorce, but this decline was mainly because of a turn down in the divorce rate in most of America’s states such as Washington DC, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Lowa, North Carolina and Massachusetts (Hartog, 2000).

In addition, many statistics indicate that there is a significant difference in the divorce rate for the first, second, and third marriage. Divorce rates in the first marriage stand between forty five to fifty five percent. The second marriage is between sixty five to seventy percent while the third marriage is above seventy percent. On the other hand, various parameters show that the divorce rate among Christians was much higher than that of other religious or faith groups. Location influences divorce rates in the sense that those in the south have a higher divorce rate while those at northeast have a low divorce rate. Age also affects it in the sense that those with few years in marriage or are much younger are likely to experience a high divorce rate, but those who are old and above seventy years will experience a remarkably low divorce rate (McGraw, 2000).

Reasons for the increasing divorce rate

When two people get married, their intention is to live happily ever after. No one weds with the purpose of getting divorced at some point of his or her marriage. However, we find that even though this is the case, many marriages end up in divorce courts. Most people divorce because of their selfish interests. In this case, most couple forgets that their relationship is a give and take business. It is where each partner should always want the best for their partner over and above what they want for themselves. This will assist in the reduction of bitter conflicts and arguments. However, when a partner decides to have his or her way in the relationship, problems start to arise. Secondly, poor communication is another crucial factor. In this case, when there is a problem bothering a person in their relationship and this person fails to communicate about the problem to his or her partner, the problem starts to grow and at an exceptionally speedy pace. After a pile, up of anger because of lack of communication, bigger problems will arise in marriage and the couple end up divorcing (Ciment, 2006).

The third principal motive is the required need of shared goals and values between couples. When people are getting married, there is a massive wave of lust and romance among them and for this reason; they highly explore each other’s values and goals in life. However, if this romance goes down and the couple stops sharing their goals and values, they end up in split-up. On the other hand, high numbers of couple’s divorce because they feel that it is an easy answer or solution to the problems they been having in marriage. However, this is not the case because most divorces lead to negative effects to children, friends and family of the divorcees, and to the concerned parties (McGraw, 2000).

Other reasons that lead to divorce include infidelity, which is when one partner cheats and it becomes unbearable to get the marriage back on track. Secondly, abuse in marriage, which be either mental or physical. Family problems, caused some in-laws may be unbearable, and when the partners get close to them, complicated marriage problems arise. Another aspect in life changes when a couple alters their behavior in the course of their marriage where he or she was at the time of marriage. Others include drug and alcohol addiction, childhood issues, different goals and objectives in the marriage, stress and pressure from one another, uncontrollable behavior and money. Money in marriage can cause a number of tribulations if a couple does not come to terms on how to earn, save and spend their money. This may lead to unusually unpleasant arguments that can lead to divorce (Hartog, 2000).

Effects of divorce on economy

Divorce has a considerable consequence on the financial system of a country through the cause that it will have on the savings of a family. The economic status of family destabilizes when the face several the challenge of divorce. This will eventually have an impact to the economy of the society and eventually of a country in question. From the various previous researches, it has been found out that it will take a minimum of five years for divorcing couples to recover their financial status before the divorce. However, for men, this may take much shorter time but for women, the time will be longer. Following a divorce, most children will have less access to economic resources since unlike before where both parents are available to provide for them, they now have one parent to provide their economic needs (Matta, 2006).

Through divorce, many economic valuables may be destroyed through continued fights among couple. Divorce may also limit the clearance of other investments such as payment of mortgages and bank loans causing a critical economic problem to the economy. The other effect that an economy can have followed a divorce is the decline of people’s living standards especially for women. This is because the support that they used to get from their husbands is no longer available. On the other hand, such costs incurred during divorce as court costs, food stamps, welfare, increase in the rate of bankruptcy and public housing are some of the cost factors that have an effect on a country’s economy. On the other hand, most divorces occur when there is a distressed economy in the country. This is because of the hardships that the couple may face at that time that may cause the divorce. This further weakens the economy to unusually high levels (Ciment, 2006).

Effects of divorce on the individuals themselves

Divorce has enormous negative effects on the divorcing couples themselves. This is because most partners in a relationship or marriage rely with their other partner for moral support, financial support and even social support. However, divorce affects both partners especially the female ones. First, a divorce may lower a person’s self-esteem and most especially because the woman. This is because they strengthen their relationships and even when it is tough, they to hold on to it together especially because of the children and other family members. Therefore, when they divorce, it means that the woman has been unable to do her work and for this motive may look terrible in the eyes of the society.

Divorce is also humiliating since the couple will no longer have each other’s financial support. This will lead to a decline in both their living standards and that of their children. However, the greatest effect of a divorce to the woman who bears all the consequences. This is because even when the husband leaves the woman with the children and the court orders for a monthly upkeep for children from their father, the woman still suffers. Consequently, such amount of money is not enough to sustain the entire family and recompense all the bills that include children’s education fee. After a divorce, most men lack confidence in women and even after they try getting married again they have that mentality that the marriage cannot last long. This explains why second marriages have a higher divorce rate than the first marriage (Matta, 2006).

Effects of divorce on children, friends and family

Most parents who are going through a divorce mostly care about their children’s response to the separation and divorce. They focus on how these children will grow up after the divorce and whether they will be happy and healthy. They also focus on what effect their divorced will have on their other friends and family. Different psychologists and sociologists have today provided adequate and reliable information about the effects divorce has on children, friends and family. These effects depend on the age of children at the time of divorce. It also depends on their gender and their personality, and the amount of conflict that result from parents and support the parents’ family and friends will provide (Matta, 2006).

Children’s age

When children are unusually young below the age of three, they do uncommonly suffer from an occurrence of a divorce. However, the effect in children will be high when the relationship and the attachment existing between parents breaks. Therefore, parents should ensure that parenting and childcare arrangements exist in the course of their divorce. This will ensure that the child grow up in a smooth way and not experiencing any conflicts between the parents. Infants do not understand conflicts between parents, but they are able to sense any changes in the moods between their parents and this may make them lose their appetite and even have stomach problems and spit up a lot (McGraw, 2000).

On the other hand, preschool children who are above three years old mostly believe that they are the cause of their parent’s conflicts and divorce. For example, they feel that if they had done their homework in a reasonable time, then their dad would not have gone away angry. Most of these preschool going children do not want to be abandoned, and for this reason, they may ask for their old toys and blankets, which would act as their security. School going children who are above elementary school is the most affected by a divorce among their parents. They suffer the greatest pain by the divorce; however, they are too young to understand and control their reaction towards the pain (Hartog, 2000).

Divorce affects families and friends because when the marriage breaks, all other families concerned end up splitting. This is because some family members will support one party while others will support the other one during the divorce process. This causes a split between the extended family members. The same case will happen to friends as they try to take sides with the divorcing friends.

Conclusion

From this research, parents should try as much as possible to avoid having conflicting confrontations and wiles in front of their kids. This is essential in avoiding the possibilities of distressing the children and pulling the family apart. On the other hand, future researches should focus on addressing issues that will assist in reduction of divorce, since this does not only affect the family unit, but also the general economy of a country. The research should aim at educating married people in marriages. Irrespective of how difficult they may be, they should couples should persevere, last longer, and not to be broken because of misunderstandings.

References

Ciment, J. (2006). Social issues in America: an encyclopedia. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe

Hartog, H. (2000). Man and wife in America: a history. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press

Matta, W. J. (2006). Relationship sabotage: unconscious factors that destroy couples, marriages, and family. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers

McGraw, P. C. (2000). Relationship rescue: a seven step strategy for reconnecting with your partner. New York: Hyperion

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