I often think it should be more difficult and expensive to marry and less complicated to get out of the relationship. It is my opinion that a divorce should be separated completely from questions of property and custody. Divorce itself should be simple—you want it, you’ve got it.
If you want to agree on a settlement, fine. If not, file a civil suit, but either way, you’re divorced; it’s over; you are no longer joined. I don’t suppose that would change the fighting over the property and custody which would still be jointly held after the divorce, but perhaps the mindset would be different. You would no longer be breaking up a marriage, you would be settling a business arrangement—no guilt on the part of either, just the equitable division of property and a reasonable agreement for raising one’s children.
Marriage in the first place, however, should be very hard indeed. Some states now require parenting classes to teach people who are divorcing how to deal with their children during this crucial time. Why don’t we have classes when fertile young people desire to get married, teaching them beforehand the consequences to their future children of a possible divorce?
Money is the cause of most of the problems in a marriage. Why don’t we require people who are taking out a marriage licenses to have a complete understanding of the attitude of the other toward this crucial subject? Why don’t we teach them beforehand how to work together to create a budget and how important it will be to their happiness to live within their income?
Religion is another of the many subjects married people may be at odds about. Why not a pre-marital class on tolerance and understanding?
There are so many areas of life about which young people entering into marriage are totally oblivious. Why then is it easier to get married than it is to legally drive an automobile? We require people to learn the contents of a driver’s manual to receive a driver’s license; shouldn’t we require some knowledge of the hazards of the road of married life for those who are embarking on matrimony?
Elizabeth Ruth (Inspired by J. Kelley)