Talk to any elder and you will hear stories of true love and golden wedding anniversaries, it still happens. Those are the stories we love to hear, books and movies like The Notebook sell millions. We love a tale of true love against all odds that last a lifetime. The truth of the matter, this kind of love can be hard to come by, then and now. We are so used to hearing about high divorce rates these days that we think things were different in the past. And they were. In the old days, people got married for many reasons besides just love. If love was part of the formula that was a bonus. Marriages were often the result of pregnancy. Others reasons were financial, a girl needed someone who could care for her. In many cases their parents simply made them get married. In many societies, girls are betrothed to someone from birth and there is no other choice.
Divorce Rate in the Past
In previous generations, there were many factors that lead to a lower divorce rate. For one, many women felt they truly could not leave an unhappy marriage. Let’s start with stigma. Many societies frown upon divorce. Once divorced your chance of being able to pursue your dreams and find true love again were slim. You might even have to move towns or cities. Add in kids to a divorce equation and things get more difficult. A lunchroom table could be a lonely place for a child of a divorce in the “olden” days. Moms did not want to put their kids through that. They would rather live out their own lives unhappily to save their kids trauma. For many moms, it wasn’t even an option. Wives could not find work to support their kids if they did leave an unhappy marriage. Women weren’t allowed in the workforce like they are now. Societal stigmas left little decent paying jobs for women. Cooking or cleaning for someone else, taking in the laundry, renting out rooms in your house were just a few of the ways scrappy women could survive.
Today’s Divorce Rate
That leads us to today. Divorce may be at a higher rate, but that is arguably a good thing. People get to go into their own marriages with love as the main driver. They can decide how hard they want to work on the relationship and pull the plug. If someone is physical or mentally abusive they have the option to walk away. It’s not easy and their lifestyle might change but it is a viable option. There is much more support for divorcees today and one does not have to carry the scarlet letter like in the olden days. Go to any lunchroom across America and you find kids who go between different parents and enjoy it. Last but not least, women are more financially independent and can support themselves. The plight of the single mom is still not easy and especially with women making 75 cents on the dollar to what a man makes. But it is an option they did not have in the past. This generation has the ability more than ever to live life on their own terms. If something isn’t working or making them happy they can make a change and this is a good thing.