Situational Ethics


by Jen Green

You know your culture is in trouble when the “conservative” news sites are offering guides to fiscally responsible divorces . . . for people over 50.

Seems in the last 10 years, divorces among the over 50 crowd are increasing. That data appears plausible in the light that divorces among all age groups are increasing, but I digress. Focusing specifically on a study out of Bowling Green State University called the “Gray Divorce Revolution,” the Fox Business Network sees a need and fills a need—helping grandma and grandpa get divorced in the least messy way possible.

In “The Boomer’s Guide to Divorce,” the flippant way they treat the ending of the covenant of a marriage is breathtaking (but really not surprising). Marriages are simply viewed as “a business deal. When they’re ready, they just cash out.” The fact that couples over 50 don’t have to deal with custody issues is portrayed as a “plus,” but the long, intertwined financial “complexities” are “difficult” and “unfortunate.”

I understand, it’s the Fox Business Network. They focus on the money. But the mere fact that marriage–once a covenantal bedrock of society–has been reduced to pre-nups and spreadsheets in a user-friendly “how to destroy it” guide is indicative of a society that has reached a breaking point.

And the reasons they give for these “gray” divorces are merely symptoms of a much larger problem. They point out situational issues, such as folks getting married later in life, so they are older when their children are grown. The implication being that marriage is something to be kept intact while children are young, but not necessarily when they are old enough to be independent. Says one divorce attorney, “If they are marrying at 35 and divorcing once the kids are almost out of the house, that means a divorce at 50. When people were getting married in their 20s, it used to mean a divorce at 35 or 40.”

The Internet is also blamed for being a portal into the “greener” grass on the other side. It’s not very hard, the article points out, to find out if that old flame of yours has a “single” status on Facebook, or if there might be someone more suited to you at one of the ubiquitous online dating sites. We’re all easy prey–regardless of our age.

But age and technological advances are simply situational. They are certainly not the cause of the underlying moral decay that is eating away at our foundation. Divorces don’t happen because of “situations.” They happen because of sinful human nature.

Maybe “conservatives” need a refresher course on why marriage is so important to a culture. I know I do. Every day.

Marriage is more than a business deal and even more than a social contract. It was meant, from the beginning of time, as a covenant,  a solemn and binding relationship that is meant to last a lifetime. A covenant means trust, security, honesty, and integrity–all the hallmarks of a strong culture.

And that covenant is made before a Holy God.

A society that keeps its word to a Holy God will be blessed by Him; one that breaks its covenant will suffer the consequences. What we see in our culture–no fault divorce, same-sex marriage, mandatory contraception and “reproductive rights specialists” are all consequences of generations forgetting to keep our word to God.

Please understand, I write this for me as much as for anyone else. I wish I could say divorce has never impacted my family, but it has. I’m not casting stones, but I certainly am digging in my heels as we careen toward the cliff.

The “Gray Revolution” should be a generation of grandma’s and grandpa’s passing on the secrets of a long and abundant life and marriage to their kids and grandkids. That’s the kind of revolution we need in our society.

Please, Lord, let it start with my family.