Sunday, December 24, 2006

Divorce and Homosexuality

Jeff the Baptist:

I often wonder if the prevalence of divorce is one of the reasons why homosexuality is on the rise in American culture. Geek deals with the debasement of the sanctity of marriage over at his place. And he's probably right. Once upon a time, the failure rate of homosexual relationships was a pretty good reason to oppose same-sex marriage. Now the heterosexual failure rate is also huge so that's a wash.

But I often wonder if divorce isn't promoting the homosexual lifestyle in other ways than just debasing the institution of marriage. I've heard a lot about strong correlations between gay lifestyles and poor parental figures (distant fathers or weak mothers depending on the sex of the individual). I wonder if there is also a correlation with divorce for similar reasons. It seems to me that divorce would often degrade one parent as a role model. The current high divorce rate would increase the likelihood of children growing up under those conditions.

It would be an interesting subject to study, although even correlation would not delineate causality.

I can't put any statistics behind it, but I would speculate that one of the causes of American divorce is romantic perfectionism. In world history, it's quite unusual for a society to consider love to be a prerequisite for marriage. And I've met people who considered perpetual romantic bliss (puppy love) to be essential for a marriage worth continuing. Such people are doomed to a string of failed relationships. Love is more than a feeling that overcomes us; it is a conscious decision that we make.


bob said...

John, Well said love does take work and I'm afraid that the society we live in is largely to lazy to put in that work.

Anonymous said...

Very nicely put. Too lazy, yes, to an extent. I think it's also difficult to overcome the constant barrage of messages (from advertising, movies, books, peers, music) saying that eternal blissful romance IS what it's all about, that if you have a moment of discomfort or less than total happiness, something must be wrong with you or with him or with her...

John said...

Yes, pop culture does present unrealistic expectations of marriage, and also glorifies exits from marriage. The fact that the chracters in movies like Prince of Tides and Sleepless in Seattle are considered romantic heroes instead of adulterous scumbags gives people the wrong message.

codepoke said...

In Akido, the attacker is often put on the ground by about 15 pounds of force on his wrist. The 15 pounds are exerted against the top of the hand. You see, your wrist has no strength to lift your hand up against that force, especially once it has already bent 30 degrees or more.

It's not weakness, laziness or unspirituality that is causing divorce. It's forces from our weakest points.

John, I agree with you about romantic perfectionism. Idealism causes us try to carry our marriage with a muscle to weak to bear the load. But, I would be careful, because "love is more than a feeling" easily mutates into "love is not a feeling." Love is very much a feeling, but it is also very much a decision and doctrine. It's fully mind, will and emotions.

Bob and Jockeystreet, you need to know that the wrenching of a marriage into a splintered family is the bloodiest, most hellish experience two people can make together. Your words belittle that pain inexcusably. The odds are excellent that a number of your church mates hear you speak, and seal away from you a part of their hearts forever. I doubt you want that, and I hope you will find other things to say about divorce in the future.

Sure, there are some casual divorces, but I don't know anyone personally who ever divorced casually. I know people who found, after years of tormenting themselves in every way they could imagine, that the marriage was never going to be survivable. And I know people who were abandoned by people who were hurting just like that.

Now, I have only heard one correlation that really computes and might explain why our divorce rates are so high today. In every society in which women quit being treated like property, divorce skyrockets.

If you think that all the way through, you will see that it doesn't say much for our formerly low divorce rate in America, nor for the quality of life of women - including women in good, little churches.

Quipper said...


I disagree with your points. Yes, divorce is wretched; my parents went through it when I was 13 and my brother was 10. Both parties were at fault; both parties refused to budge. That was 25 years ago. Too bad, so sad.

Fast forward to today, where the term "commitment" is an afterthought, and "romance" takes center stage. Currently, friends of our family are going through the "I just don't love you any more" version of divorce, and it's the male who is doing it. You can't tell me that female emancipation is causing this issue. That's a false lead.

Fear of and lack of commitment not only apply to marriage, but to business contracts and church flavor-of-the-day preaching as well. It's easier to acquiesce to desire than it is to stick it out during hard times.

True love is a modeled behavior between the earthly representatives of Christ and his bride, husband and wife. If you can't see that model in the marriage, then you have identified your problem.

I don't see anything romantic in the Christ/church relationship, but I am comforted by the fact that I, a poor, miserable sinner, am still saved by Christ's death and resurrection.

Merry Christmas,

John said...

Cokepoke, I'll agree with you immediately on one point: where women are no longer property, divorce rises. And that's a good thing. Our easy-divorce society thankfully permits women to escape abusive marriages.

RevJest said...

I would go farther than you have, John. I would say that marriages fail so often because people have become more and more egocentric. And the tendency to view the fires of romantic love as the way things "should be" is a part of that. Because such an attitude is all about the self. It's all about how good the other person causes them to feel. Once the romantic "high" starts to fade, they begin to disengage from the relationship as it's no longer personally satisfying.

Sad to see Jeff the Baptist referring to being gay as a "lifestyle". As it happens I can't seem to remember when it was that I chose to adopt a "heterosexual lifestyle". I guess I must be forgetful.

Anonymous said...

It would be an interesting subject to study, although even correlation would not delineate causality.

Very true and if I didn't say that in my post, then I need to.

Sad to see Jeff the Baptist referring to being gay as a "lifestyle".

I'm not seeing your point here. Can you expand on what word I should use and why "lifestyle" is a poor word choice.

Anonymous said...


I'm very intimately aware of how difficult and ugly divorce can be and wouldn't suggest that (in most cases anyway) people go into it lightly or casually. I also am very, very glad that divorce is an option, and am happy that a number of people I know (my own family included) took that option to get away from very bad situations.

To repeat myself, however, I think one of the things that contributes to high divorce rates (and all kinds of other problems, really) is a constant barrage of messages saying what we are entitled to, what we deserve, what we should have. We SHOULD have a job that is completely fulfilling at all times, we SHOULD have a spouse that excites us romantically twenty-four hours a day, we SHOULD have a house that looks like it belongs on the cover of a magazine, we SHOULD have a luxury car, we SHOULD have the money to eat out in resaurants as often as we want, etc, etc, etc. I think that culturally, when it comes to relationships or when it comes to anything at all, we are very averse to the notion of sitting with anything uncomfortable. The feeling is that if everything is not as we hoped it would be, something is WRONG and something needs to change. Unrealistic expectations predictably lead to disappointment, disappointment leads to further poor decisions, and people get farther and farther away from happiness.

I certainly apologize if something in the earlier comment belittled the experiences anyone has had of divorce. Don't know how they could have done that, they certainly weren't intended to.

codepoke said...


You can't tell me that female emancipation is causing this issue. That's a false lead.

I'm not sure your conclusion follows. He feels much less guilty leaving her than he would have were he leaving her hopeless. It is still easier for him to divorce her because women are emancipated.

I don't see anything romantic in the Christ/church relationship,

This is an overreaction. Yes, romance is played all wrong in our society. Yes, American romance is a cause of divorce. But, there is a correct romance, and it is a spiritual type of the romance of Christ for His church - or we would not be built that way. It is a part of the image of God built into man.

Still, I think I'm with your points on the whole. Divorce is bad, and it is sin that brings it. Christ's love is good, and should pattern true marriages. Praise the Lord that He saves us despite our weaknesses.

codepoke said...


I certainly apologize if something in the earlier comment belittled the experiences anyone has had of divorce. Don't know how they could have done that, they certainly weren't intended to.

Thanks for your whole comment. I'm sorry that I misunderstood you.

Lord bless, and thanks to all for the great discussion.