Divorce and Personal Happiness
News is now out that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are splitting up. We don’t need to know the details as to why they are ending their 25 year marriage. But it is part of a bigger trend in the Baby Boomer Generation. This morning I read this article on CNN which digs deeper into why Baby Boomers are getting divorced after many years of marriage. In the article, Amy Wilson lists different reasons as to why this happens but the theme throughout is that Baby Boomers are leaving long marriages to find their personal happiness. Wilson writes:
What gives? Are we a nation now of Howzabouta Second Chancers, even for those who seem to have gotten a pretty good ride the first time around?
Truth is, they can’t help their birth years. There is a national predilection of boomers to demand midlife happiness, even if it means they chuck a good portion of the first part of their sort-of eternally vowed adulthood.
Marriages built on personal happiness will fail in the end. True love is rooted in self-less love. The hard part is that we are each inherently selfish and need to work daily on seeking the good of others, not ourselves. From a Christian worldview, the only way we can truly combat our own selfishness is by allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us and empower us to love others.
It saddens me that marriages that have endured for 20 or more years end with one partner wanting their own personal happiness. I am saddened for the children in that marriage. I am saddened for the grandchildren.
Books like Eat Pray Love anger me. They feed this desire to look for personal happiness. Searching for personal happiness will end in despair. In the wake will be a path of broken and severed relationships.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when divorce is necessary. But divorcing your spouse to go out and look for your own personal happiness is not a good option.
The Church needs to be a place where we are equipping couples with the tools and resources to develop this self-less love. We also need to be providing places of honest sharing where couples can discuss and be encouraged to seek this type of love instead of seeking personal happiness.