Divorce is one of the contemporary issues that are being debated by many people, church and different institutions in the world. It is defined as an action that terminates the marriage relationship between the married couples before the death of one partner. In the society, divorce is brought about by many factors. Some of causes include communication problems between the partners especially when they fail to make some aspects clear in their marriage. Secondly, the financial disagreements may lead to divorce. For instance, the married people may disagree on the hidden financial aspects, responsibility sharing, poor money spending and lack of support to either of the partners. Thirdly, divorce may arise due to incompatibility of the partners i.e. where the partners do not possess a common interest on some important matters such as sex, emotions and education status. Fourthly, sexual; problems leads to divorce especially when one of the partners cannot be able to participate effectively in sex due to physical or biological problems. Various forms of abuse such as sexual, emotional and drug may lead to divorces. Finally, divorce can be caused by the marital infidelity especially where the principal of mutual exclusiveness does not exist between the married partners. Divorce has many negative effects to the families and the society which include financial, career and emotional disruptions. This paper discus the various perspectives of the Christians and non-Christians towards divorce as one of the family policy issues.
Secular or non-Christian perspectives
Secular views on divorce cannot be summed up as one as it can be done for Christian views. Literature review reveals a wide range of views that are aired by the secular world on the issue of divorce. It should be noted though that one thing which comes out clearly is that the secular world advocates for personal gratification. It does not hold that a partner should suffer on behalf of another person. According to powers (2008) on the issue of how the secular world views divorce, "divorce is acceptable and in some cases, it is demanded" (p. 146). The author went ahead to explain how to explain why this is so among the secular world. Power gave an example of a woman who divorced her husband so that she could be happy. The views of this woman represent in a significant way the view of the secular world on the issue of divorce. As power as claimed the secular world puts first the happiness of a person at a priority before marriage. The author very carefully used the term "in some cases it is demanded" (p. 146). I tend to think the author might have been referring to an abusive marriage whereby there is no mutual benefit in the relationship.
Koenig (1998) collected information on the views of secular psychiatrists. The author presented a slightly different view from what has been reviewed above.
Divorce, however, is considered by secular psychiatrists to be stressful event because it causes major life disruptions, some positive and some negative, as well as engendering very strong emotions such as loss, frustration, guilt, anger, and abandonment. (Koenig 312)
Secular psychiatrists as depicted by Koenig (2010) have the view that divorce ought not to take place. Koenig (2010) has shown that the secular psychiatrists have the views that divorce should be avoided in order to save the parties involved from stressful situations. In some areas it has been shown that the secular views on divorce are inclined to the environment around. For instance, according to Fogg (2010) this is the case for the secular Zionists:
Left secular Zionist attitudes towards the family and divorce seen as schizoid, torn between feminism and orthodoxy, the role of the Islamic view considered as potential commonality between secular Jews and Palestinians. However, in practice, in secular Israel society, I suspect, the secular Jews whether men or women, who want divorces get divorces even if they have to go to say Cypus in order to get them. (Fogg 148)
It is pointed out that the secular views borrow from other views. The views borrowed are only those which are viewed to favour the secular stand. For instance, it has been pointed out that that the secular left wing Zionist finds it pathetic that women are denied the right to divorce. The view of these secular Zionists which favours divorce is close to the Islamic Sharia law (Fogg, 148).
The Christian perspectives
Throughout their existence, the Christians have had a strong opposition against the divorce which is among the family policy issues. The Christian church is ensuring that the divorce is not common in the societies. The Christians accept that marriages have got a lot of problems but they maintain that the problems are not supposed to result to divorces as the involved parties/couples are supposed to seek guidance from God. The Christians claim that marriage is an everlasting commitment. On the support of their views on the issue of divorce, the Christians derive the basis of their arguments from the holy bible. For instance, they make use of the gospel of Matthew, mark, Luke and the Paul's epistles. Matthew 19:9-12 says that, " And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery. " the disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." But he said to them," Not all men can receive this saying, but only those whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it." (House W & Laney C. 1990) and Mark 10:9 says that, "No human being must separate what God has joined together" (Feeney Jim).
The Christians however have some reasons that lead to the breakdown of marriage relationships. In respect to this, they put into considerations in cases where the marriages turns to be destructive for example when there is abuse in the relationship and when the marriage relationship is not in the interest of the parties/spouses involved for its continuity. The Roman Catholic Christians do not advocate for the termination of the religious marriage, but they in some circumstances the spouses are allowed to have a legal separation which results due to reasons such as the nullification of the marriage in case one partner was forced to get married, the marriage does not have the required sexual relationship, the people involved are not the legitimate catholic/baptized by the catholic church and in the case where one or all the partners do not possess the relevant marriage requirements (House W & Laney C. 1990).
These Christians further believes that man is not supposed to separate anything that has been put together by God. The scriptures from the holy bible say that family marriage was instituted by God and it is supposed to be permanent until the death separates the people. Because of this, the Christians perceive divorce as an adultery sin (House W & Laney C. 1990). They claim that marriage is not mans but a divine idea and since it was created by God through Adam and Eve, man has no obligations to break it through divorce. Also, the people who have accepted to be involved in a marriage relationship are supposed to remain determined in all life situations no matter how worse and better the situations are. They should bear in their minds that nobody is perfect and avoid divorce at all times. The Christians are thought to love and accept all people irrespective of their failures thus the married people should love each in all situations thus preventing the emergence of divorces (Corbett A).
The protestants are apparent on the discourse on family policy issues such s divorce. They perceive a home as an institution of morality and faith for the society And God and therefore e their leaders try to foster the ethics of affectionate marriages. One of the leaders said, "If we rebuild our nation, we must first strengthen our homes and make sure they are Christ centered." (Wilcox B)
Conclusively it should be noted that secular views cannot specified as they vary depending on the situation at hand. It should however be noted that secular views tend to advocate for both divorce and against it depending on the situation at hand. The underlying factor is that secular views advocate for divorce if the status quo is stressful to the parties involved. But if by divorcing there will be some element of stress being introduced then the views are against it. Secular perspective on divorce can be said to be one that both favors and is against divorce depending on the outcome. Throughout their existence, the Christians have had a strong opposition against the divorce and their arguments are always based on the scriptures from the holy bible some of which maintains that marriage is God's institution that should not be terminated by man. Therefore, divorce is regarded as a sin by the Christians.