The marriage and divorce divide

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By April Wilson, Contributor

After only 72 days, celebutante Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from basketball star Kris Humphries. In a recent AP article, Kardashian said, “when you know so deep in your heart that you just have to listen to your intuition, and follow your heart, there’s no right or wrong thing to do.” The shockingly brief marriage is not unique in our society, but it does represent the lack of value people place on marriage today.

Recently, an elderly Iowa couple, married for 72 years, made national news for dying an hour apart while holding hands. This use to be the goal for married people: to die together after a life spent living and loving well with the same person you married when you were young.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to happen anymore. Half of all first marriages end in divorce. The statistics increase to 65 percent with second marriages and have even higher rates for every additional marriage, according to divorceguide.com.

As an almost-27-year-old on my second marriage, I can tell you that there are several issues that lead to these increasing statisticss; specifically, that people often get married too young. And when a relationship is no longer easy and requires effort, people often leave.

I married at 20, and by 23 I was divorced. What I didn’t realize was that I lacked the maturity and self-awareness necessary to be in any kind of serious relationship. I think this is common for many who marry young.

Some may marry so young because they have a child or other extenuating circumstances, but many are just eager to start their adult lives. What is more adult than marriage?  What they fail to realize is that life is not like the movies. The first year of marriage can be wonderful, but also challenging even in the best made matches.

It’s scary and hard to adjust to living with another person, and at 18 or 20 years old you shouldn’t have to worry about a relationship for the rest of your life because you barely know who you are yet.

Beyond marrying too young, the biggest contributing factor to the divorce rate is that people no longer seem to have the ability to work through their conflicts.

Like Kim Kardashian, they attribute the ending of their relationships to intuition and following their heart. They don’t attempt to work on it or get counseling. 72 days is not enough time to even give much of an effort.

Relationships of any kind are hard work. People’s goals and opinions are often different, resulting in conflict. The thing that most fail to realize is that, while conflict is never pleasant, it’s always an opportunity for growth. Kim Kardashian never even gave her marriage an opportunity to thrive. When it got too hard, she got out.

Marriages are meant to last forever. It may be an overly romantic idea, but there are many people that make it to 30, 40 or 50 years of marriage and still like each other. These marriages are built on solid foundations of friendship and respect, and above all good communication. It’s hard work, but well worth it.

Kim Kardashian’s story is a sad one. The lesson we can glean from it is that marriage is not only hard work, but evidently it’s not for everyone either. If you can’t work at it, don’t do it.

Divorce (especially after such a short time) not only causes intense emotional pain for all involved, but it cheapens something that is meant to be lasting and beautiful.

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