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The institution of marriage is doomed not because the system favours women in divorces but because of the destructive values most people hold today

By Nina Steele 

Newlywed CouplesWriter Peter Lloyd has vowed never to marry because of the likelihood that he may lose everything he worked hard for if the marriage ended in divorce. And most of the people who commented on his article agree with him. He gives examples of friends who have lost everything and have had to start all over again. That they were the main breadwinners and therefore the ones who built the wealth in the first place, is what irks him the most. Although I do have some sympathy with the point he makes, I cannot help thinking that he left a very important matter out of his article, and it is the fact that poor values are at the core of many dysfunctional relationships and ultimately what causes marriages to fail.

Peter Lloyd

Peter Lloyd

I am still haunted by a documentary I watched on a UK terrestrial channel some years ago. I tried to trace it a few times, unsuccessfully. It may have been on channel 4, although I am not entirely sure. The show was about couples at the end of their relationships. In one of the cases, it’s the woman who wanted out, not because the husband was a cheat, abusive or that he failed to provide for his family, she was simply bored and wanted to try something new. The man was devastated. You could feel his sorrow. And even though it wasn’t his decision to divorce, he was not only about to lose his house but also regular access to his children. I was so angry watching the wife go on about how she wanted more in life etc. How on earth can anyone try and justify inflicting this much pain on another human being? Why not learn to love that person again, since all the signs were that he was a very decent bloke, the type that sticks around for life, and are as rare as gold dust today.

That is one of the things I mean by destructive values. People’s expectations of marriages are often based on what they read in the media, as opposed to cultivating their own sets of values. Poor values today is what is causing so much pain for so many people. We are told we can have it all and some people actually believe that nonsense. No one can have it all. Get used to it or you will never have peace in your life.

Poor values is what leads some people to put more efforts into their ‘big day’ instead of focusing on the relationship itself. The cost of weddings has become completely insane. Some cost as much as £40,000, why? That’s ok if you are wealthy. Sadly, most of the people having those extravagant weddings are not. Why start your life together with so much debt? Why not have a simple and cheap wedding and then put whatever money you have left on a house? Since fighting over money is among the top reasons why people divorce, why start your life together saddled with such a huge debt?

My husband and I have been together for 17 years and married for 16 and a half. Our wedding cost no more than £500. We exchanged vows at a registrar and had a meal with our two witnesses in the evening. That was it. I don’t expect everyone to follow in our footsteps, but usually, the more expensive the wedding the shorter the marriage. That’s something for people to think about.

So to go back to Peter Lloyd, don’t blame divorce courts, blame poor values. Look around you and you will see them everywhere. Affairs have become acceptable so much so that there are now many websites that have sprung up to facilitate them. The lack of moral values is the real issue here, not the divorce courts.

Comments

  1. Very important words, thank you. It always amazes me how previously clear-thinking couples end up being coerced into the crazy romatanicised ideals of the show-stopper wedding – and remain clueless about what to do when things become more every-day.

    Because a marriage in British society today is far more likely to have less ‘pop in from your neighbours and family’ support, I have seen many people relying too much on ridiculous celeb-style ‘fun fun fun’ ideals of what marriage should be about. I have seen quite a few individuals crash and burn, after walking away what they thought had ‘become boring’.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • The irony is that some people want to recreate celebrity style weddings, knowing full well that these marriages usually do not last. It says a lot about where we are as a society today. For too many people, wedding ceremonies are all about showing off. They are more preoccupied with the appearance of being happy than actually working at really being happy.

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