2003-08-08 13:57:51 UTC
August 3, 2003
by Art Lemasters
We know that with other things being equal, more children have healthier
lives if they have both mothers and fathers in intact families. We have
learned that with the high divorce rate, something needs to be done to
train fathers to stay with their families and that far too many fathers
abandon their wives and children, unwilling to abide by their
responsibilities… We’ve been on the wrong track.
Wives have been filing for divorce at about twice the rate (more, in
some places) of husbands. See the study report, “These Boots are Made
for Walking: Why Wives File for Divorce” (Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas
W. Allen, 2000, The American Law and Economics Association) in which an
enormous number of divorce certificates from four U.S. states were analyzed.
Why have so many supposedly conservative ministers and socio-political
writers sermonized exclusively on the problem of husbands abandoning or
being “absent” from their wives and children? Are we really doing women
any good service by refusing to truthfully define the problems
instigating the high rate of divorce in order to make it lower? Are we
doing the potential children of divorce any good by the same?
So how can we assure that fewer children will suffer from the ill
effects of divorce? According to the Brinig and Allen report, no-fault
divorce and “who gets the children” are the predominant motivations—not
“cruelty” (“6%,” with all forms of cruelty, including adultery). We have
allowed the saturation of our media and government with subjective
feminist propaganda, full of exaggerations, to divert our attention from
the prevalent causes of divorce. We need to know more about those
prevalent causes before we can take effective action to lower the
Who’s teaching the women? We know that many socially conservative
organizations are now teaching men to be good fathers. Think about it.
Women are learning about issues of marriage and dealing with husbands
through Women’s Studies courses (feminist and humanist propaganda),
local “battered women’s shelters” (which disseminate more of the same in
each community) and many other kinds of organizations that teach women
to be independent—independent from husbands. Women are also taught by
such organizations to know the incentives to divorce (propaganda and
tactics that make divorce an easy lifestyle option for them). Most
conservative organizations have been recipients of some of the same
liberal, anti-family propaganda—many without knowing it.
The Brinig and Allen report should be sufficient to dispell the common
myth that fathers, more often than mothers, abandon their families, but
there are other sources of fact on the same issue. Two more references
are “Who Divorced Whom: Methodological and Theoretical Issues” [Sanford
L. Braver, Marnie Whitley and Christine Ng. Journal of Divorce &
Remarriage Vol 20(1/2) 1993, p.1.] and the May 21, 1991 National Center
for Health Statistics, Monthly Vital Statistics Report [Vol. 38, No. 12
Many conservative organizations and organizations of faith are teaching
men to be good fathers and husbands. That may solve part of the problem,
and it is a good effort. Who will teach women to be good wives and mothers?
[Adapted from first publication to the Family Operations forum on
February the 1st, 2001.]
Art Lemasters lives in the Rocky Mountains of the USA. He enjoys
snowboarding, hiking, four-wheeling and building projects with family.
Art has been an active family and fatherhood advocate since the World
Wide Web was new.