By Alex Ancira
Bo Carter (moderator) said:
What about the 50 percent divorce rate in the country? Do you think they should change something up pertaining to marriage laws?
She said: I don’t think it’s a problem with the laws; I think it’s a problem with society in general and the people who marry. A lot of them go into it on the feeling of love rather than the choice of loving someone, and that feeling doesn’t last forever. So no, it’s not a problem with the law, it’s a problem with people getting married way too early.
He said: I don’t think it’s necessarily on the preface of love, but I think it’s actually more based on our society’s value system. Our society values heterosexuality, so you’re going to be forced into an environment where you’re going to be looking for that in another person. That might not work out and you’re going to try and break out of it.
Bo said: Should there be a separation of church or state mandated training for people who are about to get married as far as “are we really compatible?” Some legislatures have brought that up that would lower the divorce rate if you have to go to marriage classes before you get married.
She said: I do think there should be a little bit of marriage counseling or at least classes, so that they can understand what they’re getting into from people who have already gone through it. That will enable them to decide whether or not this marriage they’re about to embark on is a good idea.
He said: I agree with you, and I would even go a step further, and say that there should be a rule in this process where they have to have lived together for a certain amount of time. I feel like a lot of couples are coming out of high school or in the middle of college and decide to get married, have a kid in two years, and it all falls apart. Maybe people should take a little more time before they make such a lofty decision.
She said:I’m not prone to agree with you on taking it a step further because there will be exceptions. However, I agree with you on your second point. It all goes back to society—how society has been degrading all this time. Personally I believe it started in the 60s, with the big focus on sex, and it’s just gone downhill since then.
He said: Well, I just want to put it this way. I take it from a position of ‘who will this benefit more’? It doesn’t hurt them that much to wait a while, but it can definitely hurt if people jump into the pool before it’s clean. We have to be sure it affects the most people in the most positive way.
Bo said:Some states have some really old laws on the books. The man has to be 17 and the woman has to be 15 in order not to need parental consent. Would you be for raising those ages or having mandatory ages to be married without consent?
She said: If we were to raise it, I would raise it to 21, because you’re still young, you’re still trying to figure out where and who you are in the world. By raising it to 21, it gives a lot of people time to go to college if they want to go to college, or to get some experience in the workforce so they can know who they are as a person before jumping into a relationship where part of their identity is in the relationship instead of in themselves.
He said: But I think another law that goes hand in hand with this, is statutory rape. Now, you can be two years apart, say 15 and 17, and in some states that’s acceptable, but if they’re above 18 and say you’re 15 and a half that’s not all right. However, you might be able to marry. That’s a little ridiculous that someone could file a civil suit against you for that, but you could get married. So if we’re going to increase the age on that, we’d need to increase the age of 21 on other legislation.
Bo said: What would you do to lower the divorce rate or bring some stability to marriage these days?
She said: Honestly, I think the best way to steer marriage into a healthier lifestyle would start young. Love is a choice, not an emotion in a relationship, If they worked it out and they let their kids see them working it out, the kids would get that impression and they would carry those values on into the future, so they would bring that healthier mindset into their own marriages in the future.
He said: There is definitely no magical force in the world that is cracking marriage and turning it into garbage. We’re imparting on our youth that loves comes in a certain form and that loves comes in a different form than friendship does. And if you’re going to change how divorce and marriage is being looked upon, you have to change how we’re viewing love. There’s too much of a dichotomy between love and friendship and I think that’s steering us down a road where we end up dating people we might not love.
She said: And finally, on the point of divorce itself, I disagree when there are children involved. It just makes the child’s life that much harder, especially when the holidays come around because when they get older, they have to decide “Who do we visit this year, Mom or Dad?”
He said: Sometimes there are just splitting differences that you just can’t move past and putting the children through that could be more detrimental to their mental and emotional stability than the parents splitting up. I think that this idea of a nuclear family if very hurtful for children, and the more we try to force it on them, the worse things are.
She said: By waiting until there is no solution and divorce is left, it will still hurt the child, but later on you can tell the child that we tried.
He said: So don’t jump ship preemptively.
She said: Exactly.