The Point: The Damage Divorce Did

Why aren’t millennials getting married? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Marriage rates among millennials are among the lowest of any peacetime generation. Instead, many choose hookups, cohabitation, or pornography. Why?

Writing at The Stream, Joshua Charles suggests a sobering answer: Their parents’ divorce rate.

No generation in history has seen as many divorces as millennials. Joshua, whose own parents ended their marriage after decades, writes “I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve had whose parents have divorced after decades years of marriage.”

While the alternatives millennials choose aren’t any better, he urges baby-boomers and gen-Xers to ask: “Can the same generation which shows what marriage is not blame [us] for not knowing what marriage is?”

Look, divorce isn’t unforgivable. And in our post-no-fault-divorce world, many are innocent victims. But the fact is the kids aren’t alright. When wedding vows are broken, more than a legal document is nullified. A home crumbles, shockwaves ripple into the next generation causing more brokenness. No wonder millennials are leery of the altar.

Resources

What’s Wrong With Millennials? Partly, Their Parents’ Divorces
  • Joshua Charles | Stream.org | August 4, 2017

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  • Scott

    “When wedding vows are broken, more than a legal document is nullified.”

    I really like John’s line. Marriage was meant to be a covenant two people make with God. It goes so far beyond a mere legal contract with a couple of signatures. It is a promise two people make to God for each other. They are pledging obedience to God’s moral laws as designed by Him and modeled for us by Adam and Eve in Genesis.

  • Ynot NOW

    When our generation has been taught that the entire purpose of life is “self-fulfillment” or to be more specifically crass, “self-gratification” it is no wonder that divorce has become rampant (“if they no longer please me….”). And then the next generation re-thinks the entire institution because they’re not sure it will “please” them in the years to come.

  • Phoenix1977

    “While the alternatives millennials choose aren’t any better, he urges baby-boomers and gen-Xers to ask: “Can the same generation which shows what marriage is not blame [us] for not knowing what marriage is?””
    That’s one possible explanation. Another is that people simply don’t feel the need to remain miserable with each other simply because they once loved each other. 70 years ago you would stay together, simply because you were married, even though you sincerely disliked each other after a few years, simply because that was expected of them. And now people realize they can start over; they can have another shot at happiness. For more than a few couples marriage was a life sentence before divorce got easy. And now people have the chance for early parole and are no longer ashamed to take it.

    • Scott

      I think many people would agree with your perspective, however statistics show divorce rates are much higher with second (third, etc.) marriages.

      I also know from my own personal experience that ideology/worldview makes an enormous difference in the quality of ones marriage… When my wife and I finally accepted the Biblical definition of marriage and applied it to ours, the direction of our relationship took a 180. Since then our marriage has steadily improved to where I can truly say that we are flourishing together. We both agree that the only way we can explain what happened us is that our hearts were changed by the Holy Spirit.

      • Phoenix1977

        “I think many people would agree with your perspective, however statistics show divorce rates are much higher with second (third, etc.) marriages.”
        No surprise there. People keep looking for that one true love, that fairy tale, their knight in shining armor (or a princess or some people even prefer frogs, I guess). People no longer settle for what they have, like they did in the past. And what is the saying again? “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”.

        • Scott

          That’s a good point. “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”. I don’t know how many times I used this with my kids. : – )

          “Settle” is an iterating word… People grow apart when they place their own perceived needs above their partner, forgetting the reasons they were drawn together in the first place. I believe (and my experience would back this up) that “One flesh” has less to do with the physical acts of love and more to do with all the relational aspects of love in marriage. If both partners intentionally put their focus on serving the other (in Christ for us Christians), the love that relationship grows into so much more than what it started as.

          • Phoenix1977

            “If both partners intentionally put their focus on serving the other (in Christ for us Christians), the love that relationship grows into so much more than what it started as.”
            I think you are quite the romantic. But I put my ex before myself and he still became my ex, simply because, in the end, it wasn’t meant to be.
            Mankind are primates and primates don’t mate for life; they mate for the minute. Our entire biology is opposed to a lifelong monogamous relationship. The church used fear and seduction in making people deny their biology for the better part of 2000 years. But the church does not have that power anymore and it shows. People are simply becoming what nature made us again, nothing more.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Given what nature is capable of, that’s a terrifying thought.

          • Phoenix1977

            No argument there.
            However, considering what Christians are capable of (or people from any other religion) I’m not feeling too safe there either.

          • Scott

            From the pharos of Egypt (who did their best to convince their subjects that they themselves were gods) to Kim Jong-un, we can find many non-religious examples of people who threaten humanity.

          • Phoenix1977

            Except the Pharos in Egypt were gods, according to their religion.

          • Scott

            The self made god. Sounds eerily close to the American notion of the “self made man.” : – ) Sorry, terrible joke.

          • Phoenix1977

            “The self made god”
            Not much different than a few popes during the course of history.

          • Scott

            “”The self made god”
            Not much different than a few popes during the course of history.”

            There are not too many similarities between the Egyptian pharaohs and the Catholic popes.

          • Phoenix1977

            Ever heard about Pope Alexander VI, formerly known as Rodrigo Borgia, nephew of Pope Callixtus III, formerly known as Alfonso Borgia? Compared with the corruption under these two popes the Pharos of Egypt were child’s play.

          • Scott

            “I think you are quite the romantic.”

            Maybe. : – ) But this would be the only part of your statement that I might agree with… and my life stands a real world example of the exact opposite of what you claim.

          • Scott

            “meant to be.” I’m curious as to how you define this phrase?

          • Phoenix1977

            Quite simple. Apparently my ex and me weren’t meant to be spending the rest of our lives together. Can’t define it any clearer than that.

          • Scott

            But when you say “meant to be,” it suggests meaning outside of either you or your partner… meant by who?