Driving the Divorce Rate: Who’s Teaching the Women?


by Art Lemasters | Men's News Daily | August 3, 2003

We know that with other things being equal, more children have healthier lives if they have both mothers and fathers in intact families. We have learned that with the high divorce rate, something needs to be done to train fathers to stay with their families and that far too many fathers abandon their wives and children, unwilling to abide by their responsibilities… We’ve been on the wrong track.

Wives have been filing for divorce at about TWICE the rate (more, in some places) of husbands. See the study report, “These Boots are Made for Walking: Why Wives File for Divorce” (Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas W. Allen, 2000, The American Law and Economics Association) in which an enormous number of divorce certificates from four U.S. states were analyzed.

Why have so many supposedly conservative ministers and socio-political writers sermonized exclusively on the problem of husbands abandoning or being “absent” from their wives and children? Are we really doing women any good service by refusing to truthfully define the problems instigating the high rate of divorce in order to make it lower? Are we doing the potential children of divorce any good by the same?

So how can we assure that fewer children will suffer from the ill effects of divorce? According to the Brinig and Allen report, no-fault divorce and “who gets the children” are the predominant motivations—not “cruelty” (“6%,” with all forms of cruelty, including adultery). We have allowed the saturation of our media and government with subjective feminist propaganda, full of exaggerations, to divert our attention from the prevalent causes of divorce. We need to know more about those prevalent causes before we can take effective action to lower the divorce rate.

Who’s teaching the women? We know that many socially conservative organizations are now teaching men to be good fathers. Think about it. Women are learning about issues of marriage and dealing with husbands through Women’s Studies courses (feminist and humanist propaganda), local “battered women’s shelters” (which disseminate more of the same in each community) and many other kinds of organizations that teach women to be independent—independent from husbands. Women are also taught by such organizations to know the incentives to divorce (propaganda and tactics that make divorce an easy lifestyle option for them). Most conservative organizations have been recipients of some of the same liberal, anti-family propaganda—many without knowing it.

The Brinig and Allen report should be sufficient to dispel the common myth that fathers, more often than mothers, abandon their families, but there are other sources of fact on the same issue. Two more references are “Who Divorced Whom: Methodological and Theoretical Issues” [Sanford L. Braver, Marnie Whitley and Christine Ng. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage Vol. 20(1/2) 1993, p.1.] and the May 21, 1991 National Center for Health Statistics, Monthly Vital Statistics Report [Vol. 38, No. 12 (S) 2].

Many conservative organizations and organizations of faith are teaching men to be good fathers and husbands. That may solve part of the problem, and it is a good effort. Who will teach women to be good wives and mothers?

[Adapted from first publication to the Family Operations forum on February the 1st, 2001.]

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