Every living thing desires a relationship. Some relationships can be romantic, business-minded or platonic. The reason for desiring a relationship depends on some variables. For instance, while some might people find a relationship appealing, others might feel disinclined, having had bitter memories. The most common romantic relationships happen between a male and a female, though more individuals now practice same-sex affairs. After a while, people in relationships usually begin to feel they were not meant to be together. This makes them consider separating; living their lives without the influence of their partners. Relationships that result in marriage can be separated legally or by the mutual consent of both parties. A legal separation can be termed divorce or annulment.
The first story about divorce in the United States happened around 1700 when a beautiful woman ran away from her husband because he could not provide basic needs for the family. Men were usually farmers or soldiers fighting unending wars. The other people in society were lawmakers. Those linked to the lawmakers got the privilege as a birthright while those in the army signed up because of the rewards and prestige of being second-class citizens. The farmers were the poorest of them all.
The story goes that she could not bear to be the wife of a farmer; she wanted to enjoy life to the fullest. She visited a bar and loved how strong and powerful a man in the army could be. She tried to convince her husband to join the army but he was satisfied with being a farmer. After separating from her husband and
children to start a new life with a man she was not married to, her ex-husband saved a lawmaker’s life, earning him a seat with men of the upper class. He was gifted a wife and more lands to continue his farming. His ex-wife petitioned the king saying she remained legally married to the now rich farmer. The king however made a decree that men could only marry another woman if the priest and king see it as appropriate. Thus, her claim to her ex-husband was denied. Since then, the decree has been modified several times and adopted by so many countries.
Historians further said that the king-priest of Babylon, between 1795B.C. and 1750B.C., decreed that all laws in the country including those that explained the legal separation of a man from his wife be carved on an eight-foot-high black stone. During the 17th century, any man who was not happy with the way his wife treated him, or for any reason, could divorce her by saying: “You are not my wife.” He then pays a fine and returns her dowry. However, the reverse was the case for women. She had to file a lawsuit and obtain specific reasons such as the inability of the man to provide for the family or his deteriorating health. There was no room for a man’s infidelity to be a reason for divorce.
After a few years when physical abuse was added to the list of reasons for divorce, the norm and law was that women should be submissive to their husbands, hence, abusive treatment was not a cause for divorce except in extreme cases. In the 17th century, a husband could ask the court or king to execute his wife for adultery because he believed she did the act in his absence. With little or no proof, most requests were granted for those who belonged to the upper class. Divorce began to spread throughout many parts of the world. Men often used it as a threat to make women submissive or claim another wife who had a bigger dowry left to her by her family.
Divorce is as old as marriage. However, official laws recognizing divorce started around 1800 in the United States and the United Kingdom. In Africa, the laws first came to effect in 1979 in South Africa. Many people frowned at it in Africa because they believed it was against their culture. A man had the right to marry many women but a woman had no right to leave the marriage.
Most men get married in Africa because they need them to bear as many children as possible to aid farming. When a man is tired of being with a particular woman, he is free to marry another until he feels he can no longer provide farmlands. Divorce in Africa, Asia and some other parts of the world is seen as a taboo. The women who are divorced or who initiate divorce are either rusticated from society or shunned by friends. Some countries such as the Vatican City and the Philippines have no room for divorce.
In 1900, divorce gradually became a normal term in some parts of the world. Scholars have defined it as using the rule of law to dissolve the bonds of matrimony between married couples. When a divorce process is initiated, it usually involves the sharing of property, child custody, and in some cases support for the aggrieved partner till the partner is fit to start a new life alone.
The effect of a divorce varies from one individual to another. It can impact on the children, family, work environment, and associates of the divorced. Many people believe children suffer more following a divorce because they lose the love they could have got from both parents. Some feel the aggrieved partner is the worse because he or she will have to start all over again; learn new things and get emotionally, psychologically and physically ready to love again. Some yet might argue that the parents will be shamed for not training their child well or even risk being ostracized.
A businessman will claim it dips fortune. A politician might argue that it hurts economic growth and the moral standards of society. A doctor sees the loss of family insurance cover or frequent hospital checkups. A real estate broker views it as detrimental to business because only a few unmarried individuals will prefer a large and expensive home. Even a psychologist sees a bad business because there will be fewer therapy visits.
Divorce is gradually taking its toll on married couples in Singapore. Some women enter into marriages with the hope of divorcing the man after a few years and getting payments in maintenance support. Nevertheless, some marriages are still based on true love and affection for the other party. Marriages have crashed after twenty-five years, fifty years and as little as two days. The chances that a marriage will last doesn’t depend on the love that pre-existed before the union began. It doesn’t depend either on the affection, children or wealth that came during the relationship. These reasons make it difficult to identify the causes of a failed marriage.
Failed marriages may result from an individual having less time for the spouse, abuse of a partner or addiction to drugs or other ills, etc. It can also stem from expecting too much from a partner; too much attention, too much money, or even too much care or love.
More reasons include infertility, sexual incompatibility, communication gaps, and family problems. There are also issues that might seem unreasonable to the general public such as being denied freedom to own a pet animal. Some religious couples attribute failed marriages to God’s wish. There are also factors such as inability to forgive mistakes, infidelity, being overtly insecure about the life of a partner, secret sins, parenting differences, third party interference in decision-making, excessive love for oneself, extreme selfishness, immaturity of a spouse when making decisions, grief over the loss of a loved one, depression, greed, or shame over recent or past actions of a couple. Again, there is uncontrollable anger, dishonesty, a woman’s inordinate crave for shoes, clothes and other material things, feeling a spouse is no longer at par current social status. Indeed, there are uncountable reasons why two erstwhile love birds may decide to part ways.
This book is written to showcase a psychologist’s view on divorce: what to expect, why you should not consider divorce as a first option, how to let go if you must and have a peaceful divorce, how your children, family, friends, and society can survive the effect and how you can be happy again. It will also help you to understand that anybody can survive a divorce if he or she plans well and follows the steps that will be discussed in my book “What Does The Psychology Professor Say About Divorce: Divorce or Not?” at https://drkhimgoh.com/shop/