Some religions label divorce a sin regardless of the circumstances. They have simplified divorce by removing all its complexity and nuance. Even the bible makes some provision for divorce. The Hebrew scriptures allowed a man to divorce a woman for any reason. The Christian scriptures were much more restrictive, limiting divorce to clear cases of adultery.
But ancient religion may not be the best metric for knowing exactly when divorce is called for. There are many situations not mentioned in the bible that might merit the dissolution of a marriage. Here are a few signs that indicate the time has come to consider divorce:
When Staying Married Does More Harm to the Children
Consenting adults are mostly free to do whatever they want in this country. You can pursue either happiness or misery in whatever proportions you like. If staying married is a part of your ethical identity, you can do so regardless of how miserable it makes you. But when children are involved, everything changes.
A bad marriage can be as damaging to a child as a broken marriage. In fact, a marriage can be broken without being dissolved. San Diego divorce attorney
Steven Bishop is one of many family lawyers who specialize in cases involving children. Even in a happy marriage, children complicate everything. In an unhappy divorce, it is always all about the children.
Whether you happen to think about divorce, your personal opinions, beliefs, and mores should never trump what is best for the children in a relationship. When it becomes clear that the marriage is damaging the children, it is time to consider divorce as a possible lesser of two evils.
When There Is Abuse
Emotional abuse is a real thing. But it is not always easy to identify. It might take a professional to distinguish between the hard negotiation of close, personal relationships and emotional abuse. Physical abuse, however, is a lot easier to identify. Physical contact should always be consensual. Not even a spouse can touch you if you do not want to be touched. It is not out of line to label as abuse any non-consensual physical contact.
There is likely quite a lot of this type of personal violation long before it turns to hitting. Recognizing the warning signs of abuse
before it becomes violent is the key to averting violence in the relationship. But you should not spend you marriage averting abuse. You should leave your marriage when averting abuse becomes necessary. This is the one thing that should be zero-tolerance, no exceptions.
When No One Is Happy
Bible-based religion generally takes no account of whether or not you are happy in your marriage. Many are counseled to soldier on and suffer through it because divorce is evil, and your happiness is irrelevant. This is certainly one way to live. Many people manage to do it. But you don’t have to be one of them.
Some marriages come to an end long before divorce ever comes up, if it ever does. At some point, the institution of marriage becomes more important than the happiness and security it is supposed to bring. When both you and your partner become so institutionalized by a bad marriage and incapable of joy, it is time to admit you made a mistake so that you can both move on.
With regard to marriage, mistakes happen quite a lot. About half of all marriages end in divorce
. When second and third marriages are factored into the equation, the number goes even higher. It is not a personal failing on your part that your marriage did not go the distance of forever. It is the state of most humans. And we have to let go of the pressure, guilt, and shame associated with having a less than perfect, divorce-worthy marriage. Are you really prepared to be unhappy for the rest of your life to save your pride?
None of this is to say that perfect marriages don’t exist and are not possible. But for most people, they will only exist in storybooks. The best of marriages is a lot of work and compromise. But in the end, it is usually worth it. But when children are harmed, abuse is present, and happiness is a casualty, then it is seriously time to start talking about divorce.