Writer’s Name: S.F. Hardy
Title: The BIG D
“If you don’t have intentions on marrying her, there is no need for you to come around,” the disgruntled old man said to the young man who impregnated his 19 year old step-daughter. Her mother stood by her husband quietly with nothing to add. Although the young couple shared what they thought to be love, neither of them was ready for marriage. They were an item and had been so off and on since freshman year of high school. They vowed to remain together and raise their child but marriage was out of the question.
The step-father’s staunch beliefs caused turmoil that couldn’t be overlooked. Once the child was born the father was not allowed to visit to care for the mother or the child which eventually forced the young adults to move into together. After a year of balancing college, full-time employment and parenthood in their own home the boyfriend wanted to take the relationship further. He wanted to get married. However, she did not. She was experiencing post-partum depression unbeknownst to her and she was happy with the arrangement as it was.
Unyielding pressure from her boyfriend and both sets of parents eventually led to the union of the couple. The night before the ceremony was to be performed at the Justice of The Peace, the bride to be, created various scenarios to escape the day that awaited her. She could not bring herself to do anything but relent. After all she wanted to be with the young man she loved and she didn’t want to disappoint her parents any further. She convinced herself she was doing what was best for the child.
Although she communicated her wishes to her family and boyfriend, she did not fully disclose what she was experiencing internally, nor did she seek professional help of a physician or spiritual leader. If she had, she may have been able to resist the demands placed upon her. Maybe they would have married later instead of divorcing while still in the newlywed stage of the marriage.
New communities are built with the family in mind. Why you ask? The simple answer is, communities that thrive are ones that are inclusive to the family unit. The next question that comes to mind is why then are there broken family ties within the community if strong ties lead to more collective coherent communities? The answer is simple but the concept itself is far complex—divorce.
The United States ranks in the top five when it comes to divorce. Although African-Americans rank as minorities in the US we top out when it comes to divorce. Education, economic status, and race are all scientific attributions as to why divorce is so prevalent within the African-American community; however more direct reasons are cited for assisting in the breakdown of marital unions.
Marriage is perceived as a plague or scary monster in the African-American community. And when couples do finally tie the knot, the support needed to cultivate and strengthen the marriage is virtually non-existent. Negative stereotypes, too often overshadow the positive basis for marriage; a reverse of the negativity must take place in order to grow life-long healthy marriages.
In order for any marriage to live up to its full potential both parties most put forth an equal amount of effort. When each individual considers the feelings and well being of his or her spouse, neither partner is slighted. It is unrealistic to expect that any marriage will be perfect but working together as one can definitely create marital bliss.
When marriage is undertaken with motives that are selfish and self-fulfilling in nature, divorce often times rears its ugly head. Although marriage should be promoted not all marriages are worthy and healthy for those involved. The Power of Two a curriculum created by Susan Heitler Ph.D., lists the following as justifiable undeniable reasons for divorce:
- Control: Attempts to control spouses’ behavior, friends, finances, or activities by using threats, anger, or excessive criticism (emotional abuse).
- Addiction: Persistent history of gambling, drug or alcohol use, or other behavior that harms the spouse, children, and/or family relationships.
- Repeated cheating: Repeated infidelities or an on-going affair with no willingness to change.
- Mistreatment of Children: Violence or inappropriate sexual behavior towards children, biological or not. Among reasons for divorce, this situation calls for the most immediate action. Remove yourself and the children from contact with this person right away and seek professional help!
- Unchecked mental disorder: Mental illness can challenge a relationship, but with proper treatment generally can be managed with happy results. At the same time, a spouse’s uncontrolled mental health or personality disorder can be unsafe and unhealthy.
- Physical Violence: Again, this calls for immediate action. If you are in an unsafe situation it is critical that you remove yourself immediately. Physical violence toward anyone, especially you or your children, without commitment to get help, is a deal-breaker.
Many issues and circumstances are to blame for the break-down of the marriage. In the case above, the woman openly admits that she was not ready for marriage but nobody including her spouse wanted to accept her feelings. Communication or lack thereof albeit prior to or during the marriage is the ultimate culprit of divorce. Learning to be better communicators within our relationships will defuse a great deal of heartache and pain and hopefully eliminate the option for divorce.