A marriage is defined as a legal contract or a social union between persons who gives rise to families or relationships. It is also an association where sexual and intimate affairs are accepted in various ways; depending on the cultures, it is found. People marry for a number of reasons, which may include social and emotional.
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They might also include arranged marriages, libidinal or a forced into the marriage through forced marriages. Marriage usually creates legal commitments between the people involved. In some cultures, marriages can be broken or ended through divorce.
To the state and to an extent the religious group a marriage is a contract. In different societies, the governing authorities hold civil marriage as the official or legal concept of marriages. This is regardless of what the religious authorities or personal prejudices may be.
What are the particular issues related to marriage and the dynamics associated with it?
Marriages like any other type of relationship be it friendship or work faces many problems. Some of these problems might be minor but at times, the problems become a major source of stress, which may lead to dire consequences such as divorce. Problems that face many marriages include but are not limited to money, children, daily stress, poor communication, bad habits, blended family issues, affairs and many more.
Fighting and stress brought about by money has been cited as the most common source of conflict in marriage. A fight over money is symbolic and represents power struggles in the family or difference in values that each couple holds.
In hard economic times, issues about money become a source of stress and may sometimes manifest itself in general stress. For example if one of the couple is stressed about money, the person becomes easily agitated and generally more stressed. The person may start picking fights with their partner about trivial things and may at times not even realize it.
The lack or presence of children in marriage has been attributed to some extent causing marital problems. In some cultures, having children is the primary driving force in marriage.
In this situations lack of children becomes a major source of stress in the relationship and this mostly affects the person seen or is suspected as the reason. Children bring joy and are a gift to married couples. They, however, can be a source and ground for many disagreements between married couples.
Caring for children asks for more responsibility and at the same time brings about changes in roles, which may place couples at opposing sides creating disagreements. Caring for the children also demands a lot of time and this consequently reduces amount of time spent by couples. This reduction in intimate time between couples strains the relationship and can cause resentment between them.
Stress from everyday chores or work may also wear down relationships. This in marriages may just like financial stress leads to arguments between couples testing their patience and optimism.
This usually leaves the couple with little to give to one another emotionally leading to resentment building up. Careers that demand lot of time from persons also leaves individuals worn out and trickles down to their marriage leading to conflicts. If couples do not work together and agree on each other responsibilities may find this straining their marriage.
Every relationship with time disintegrates if there is no good communication. Poor communication is a major cause of failing marriages and this finds its way to any other form of arguments that occur in marriage.
Poor communication leads to misunderstandings within the marriage causing both spouses to resent each other. Individuals in the marriage start to feel unappreciated unloved and get provoked easily by the other party.
Another cause of marriage failure is extramarital affairs by one or both of the couples. When one spouse is found or admits to having an affair, it strains the marriage. One or both the couple feel betrayed, hurt, and at time are filled with hatred. In most of these cases the person who feels betrayed opts out of the marriage though at times the couple can seek professional help from a counselor.
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Discuss how the breakup of a relationship or a divorce affects the people involved.
Sometimes marriages fail to work and the best option left to the individuals is divorce. However, some of the reasons that may lead to divorce can be sorted out through counseling others are dire and divorce is the only answer.
Divorce adversely affects the people involved especially the couple and their children. Divorce is a life-changing event for the persons involved. It becomes a major source of stress and a life transition for both the children and parents.
Divorce marks a new beginning to the people involved. Many societies today have accepted and at times embrace divorce as a solution to bad marriage yet divorce, though amicable tends to tear apart the basic unit of a society. Those in strained marriages, unfulfilling marriages, mostly will not stay for the sake of the children; rather will abandon the marriage instead of working on the marriage.
The emotional stress associated with divorce takes many years to overcome. New adjustments to the new status have to be made and this may causes a crisis in one’s life. Some people adjust quickly to the new life while others simply do not. During this time a lot of changes occurs and change at this time become a way of life. Mostly, roles, economic classes, residence, sexual habits, personal behavior, and at times careers change.
Divorce leaves the lives of everyone involved affected either socially, psychologically or economically and these changes interrupt development and growth of both parent and children. While most will come out of divorce surviving major problems, every person’s life experiences setbacks. A study concluded that though this type of life change in a person may be used to foster further development and growth it should be viewed also as a life change that has the potential of leading a person’s life to regression and disorganization.
As seen divorce affects every person in the family, but it does this differently to adults and children. Effects of divorce on adults differ from each person to the next. Stress caused by divorce causes the immune system of a person to weaken. Newly divorced persons suffer from both psychological and physical problems.
The newly divorced have to deal with feelings as failures as this sometimes might lead to depression and committing suicide. In relation to married people, divorced people show higher rates of stress and depression related illnesses. Depression, which may lead to suicide, is the most serious problem facing divorced adults.
After a divorce, the individual feels lost through the changes happening in their lives. Some feel a loss of identity having had their former marriage define who they are. When people divorce, they do so to end conflicts in their marriage, but usually it does not end here. This is seen in the many post divorce litigation, which takes place at times for years. One of the divorcees who feels raged usually seeks revenge does this.
Divorce is usually costly and brings about a financial crisis to both or one of the adults. The high divorce legal fees demanded by lawyers and having the assets split bring this financial crisis. The variance in finances results in increase of stress, which can make the divorcees irritable. Due to the stress caused by divorce, a person’s job performance reduces.
Time taken to attend court proceedings, personal counseling, and illnesses related to stress can have a negative impact on a person’s job performance. This inability to work or reduced performance may lead to a person being dismissed or demoted. Divorce thus does not only affect the divorce but can be seen to affect the employer when he loses money in lost productivity.
Divorce affects also the larger families who have created longtime relations. It affects parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents, and other extended family members. These people find themselves in awkward situations not knowing who to support. Also relations forged with in-laws are severed badly even despite having been close to each other.
Adult’s relationships with their offspring suffer as their (children) is divided between the two parents. Special occasions such as birthdays and holidays become reason for fight between the parents rather than celebrations.
Divorce also not only lead to changes in the relationships within the larger family, their social networks also changes dramatically and the divorcing couples become alienated from mutual friends. Often both the wife and husband will lose the support systems of their friends they need to cope with the new challenges.
As much as the society accepts divorce in the society, many people are mostly find themselves at cross roads when their friends divorce and do not know how to handle it.
When parents divorce, the children are also affected. The children are profoundly affected and for long. Although these children might grow up to be better than children from intact families the divorce affects them for the rest of their lives. Once the divorce process is done, children must become accustomed to new surroundings and relationships.
This have to do mostly on their own as the parents are often busy trying to rebuild their own lives. This period presents a major challenge to their growth and development as they lack nurturing and guidance of their parents.
Children whose parents have divorced suffer from loss in different ways; physical separation from one parent, loss of a home they knew and at times separation from other siblings. Though it is proclaimed that one parent can raise the children as well as both, the reality is the children no one parent can replace the role of the other.
An example a mother can do many things a father, can but she can never replace the children’s father. Children are likely to experience increased levels of stress and often become anxious and depressed which may lead to antisocial behavior (Cherlin 124).
The children have trouble in relating with their parents, siblings, and teachers. Adolescent girls from divorced families are prone to engaging in sex while they are younger than those from intact families. They are also likely to engage with multiple sexual partners. In comparison to children from intact families, these children are more likely to drop out if school and exhibit delinquent behavior.
These new circumstances robs of the children off their childhood as at times they have to cater for themselves and their younger siblings as the parents try to meet financial challenges that face them. When left alone these children are at greater risks of connecting with predators and face the risk of abuse than those living with both their parents. These children may face abuse from their stepfathers, mothers, and siblings if their parents decide to remarry.
After divorce, the children are faced by many challenges, as they have to contend with confusion and change that continues all through their lives. The child now finds himself or herself pulled into two different worlds. They become both insiders and outsider of their parent’s worlds and are forced to adapt to these changes.
They are torn between their parents and are at times placed at awkward situations when they have to choose between their parents. Sometimes the children are merely used as pawns in the fight between their parents. This affects them as the fight involves two people they care and love.
Is it possible to have a “good” divorce? What would that good divorce look like?
Divorce is frowned upon in many societies and is viewed as socially undesirable. When the word divorce is mentioned most people tend to think of the long litigation period marked by insults, hatred and resentments.
For these people divorce is a failure as none of them is free of the other and is actively involved in each other’s life but in a destructive way. This raises the question of whether there really exists a “good “divorce.
Just like there exist bad divorce that is characterized by bad things and mutual self defeat, there also exists “good” or successful divorce in which the couple has agreed on the most contentious issues leaving both parties and children in a position to adapt well in the new life.
Key to understanding good divorce is in understanding that most divorces are resolved amicably through a settlement agreement. The divorce agreement also known as the settlement agreement is taken as the marriage final task.
This agreement solves all economic issues between the parties by describing the rights and responsibilities of each parent. This agreement gives a guideline of how property will be shared, child support, and at times spousal support. If all parties agree upon the settlement agreement, it becomes the blueprint of the family’s future.
A good divorce offers emotional closure for both parties meaning that both have disengaged from the marriage and conflict. Each of the partners has the strength to move on and foster new relationships if they want. A good divorce also entails each partner feeling a sense of economic justice and none feels victimized by the other.
A good divorce should offer the family both parent and children a chance to develop and accept the new status. This shows that when informed and willing couples can work through their divorce in an amicable and fair way with neither of them resenting each other.
Cherlin, Andrew J. Public and Private Families: An Introduction. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2010.