If you talk to a cynic about marriage and divorce, they may wax poetic about “the good old days” when folks stayed married for upwards of 50 years and really lived up to their “till death do you part” vows. But these days, divorces are easier to obtain and some people rush into marriage before they really know about their partner’s life before they became a couple. In some cases seems like when the going gets just a little tough, couples call it quits.

Only, divorce rates are down these days. After hitting astronomical rates in the 1980s, people are waiting longer to get married and, apparently, the divorce rate is going down.

Recently, I was perusing writer and career coach Penelope Trunk’s blog yesterday when I came across a post titled “Divorce is immature and selfish. Don’t do it.”

In the post, Trunk (a remarried divorcee) makes the case against divorce on the basis of five reasons: Divorce is a cliché; divorce is terrible for kids; divorce is for dumb people (uneducated people divorce at higher rates); divorce reflects mental illness; and divorce is often a career issue.

During her post Trunk makes some startling claims like domestic violence—something she and her husband deal with now—shouldn’t be an automatic deal breaker.

Trunk writes:

The person who says they are a victim of violence.

Two-thirds of divorces take place in low-conflict homes, and in those cases, the kids are much better off if the parent just stick it out.

So let’s look at high-conflict homes: It takes two people to fight. And there’s great research to show that if you picked an asshole the first time, you’ll pick the same type of asshole the second time. (Which is why divorce rates for second marriages are so much higher than first marriages.) So instead of getting rid of your kids’ parent, figure out why you picked a person like this, and then get good at drawing boundaries.

Really, good boundaries can save even the worse marriages. Taking care of your own contribution to the mess can single-handedly stop the mess.

This is especially true of violence. At this point in the history, where women have so much earning power, women are equally as responsible for men for the violence in a household. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control reports that most domestic violence today is a 50/50 thing. Both parties are responsible. Which means that even if you have one of the worst marriages, you have the power to fix it.

While I don’t agree with Trunk’s advice to always work through violent relationships, I do feel like some people rush into marriages before they are ready only to end up angry and fighting it out before a judge.

Though some have blamed the rise in the divorce rate on women and our access to equal rights, I am happy that the ability to leave a toxic situation isn’t an option merely reserved for men.

Back in the “good old days” many women were beaten or mistreated by their spouses with no way to leave (or take their children). So while our current system may be imperfect, and people may be rushing into marriage without understanding the gravity of it all, having a way out is much better than being unable to walk away when you really need to.

What do you think of Trunk’s assertion? Is divorce for “dumb people”?  


  • Fuchsia

    I believe divorce is for the young and dumb, mainly those who are dumb before they get married. I absolutely agree with the article. I was married at 20 and divorced by 22. My parents were married at 20 and divorced before they turned 30, and both are remarried now and happy. They were young, poor, violent and dumb as well. Their divorce more than their marriage caused me to suffer form anxiety and depression at a young age, which was a factor in my own divorce. My brother suffered more while they were married and thrived after their divorce. All in all people are dumb because of the society they live in always telling them that marriage is the ideal. Therapy and Pre-marital counseling should be mandatory before marriage. That’s the only way to lower divorce rates. Stop telling people that getting married will somehow solve their problems or make them better people.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    Too many people decide to get a divorce instead of working things out. Marriage is far from perfect and it takes a lot of work.

    That being said, adults are are free to make the decisions that are best for them.

    And I agree with the pp–uneducated does not equal dumb, and educated does not equal smart. I’m guessing she just sad that for shock value.

  • Echi

    The article states that compared to the 1980s, the divorce rate is LOWER today, which I have heard from a number of other sources as well.

  • __A

    I agree. If she were talking about making things work in a marriage where the spark is gone or your wife is a nag or your husband is lazy, I can see that, but domestic abuse is not something I think women should put up with. That is horrible advice.

    But I do think a lot of people divorce for other dumb reasons. I’m happy to hear that the divorce rate is lower. We need stable marriages and strong families. People need to have romance yea, but they need to be more practical like their grandparents a bit and realize that life is not a Disney princess movie.

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