The Weakening Bond of Marriage
A YOUNG mother cuddled her two-month-old baby. Then, in a sudden frenzy, she dropped him on the floor. The boy died a few hours later. “I dropped him on purpose,” said the mother, “because my husband doesn’t care about his family.” Instead of talking the matter over with her husband, she vented her anger on the innocent baby.
Few mothers resort to such an extreme measure, but many share her feelings. It is becoming more and more difficult for married couples to make a success of their marriage. “When the probability of marital success is as low as it is in the United States today,” says the Journal of Marriage and the Family, “to make a strong, unqualified commitment to a marriage . . . is so hazardous that no totally rational person would do it.”
In these turbulent times, immorality, incompatibility, debts, frictions with in-laws, and selfishness all fuel domestic strife, which time and again escalates into divorce. So serious is the situation in Japan that even the Catholic Church, famous for its strong stand against divorce, has had to set up a special committee to ease matters for divorced and remarried members. An increasing number of churchgoers are being affected by divorce-related problems.
However, the number of divorces reveals only the tip of the iceberg. Research in the United States shows that it is the deteriorating quality of married life itself that is behind the increase in divorce, rather than just social trends that make divorce easier. With less effort and less commitment, married life loses its shine. Many maintain the front of being a married couple, but they do not share the bedroom, and they hardly ever talk to each other. Some feel as did the Oriental woman who bought her own separate grave, saying, ‘I refuse to be with my husband in the grave.’ Unable to divorce her husband now, she aims to have a posthumous divorce. Sadly, although such people are not divorced, married life is not a source of happiness for them.
That was the case with Isao. He had married his wife on a whim, so he felt no motivation to change his egotistical way of life. Although he had a good income as a trucker, he wasted all his earnings on eating and drinking, not taking care of his family. As a result, quarrels with his wife were never-ending. “Whenever things turned out badly for me,” recalls Isao, “I would go home and vent my anger on my family.” Like a volcano that would not quiet down, the subject of divorce erupted daily.
Many men and women are enduring a bad marriage. Whether they divorce or not, they are not finding happiness. Is there a way for them to make a success of their marriage? What can be done to strengthen their marriage bond?