There are only two kinds of people in this world, those who believe in a higher power, and those who do not. As humans the integrity of the premises for our perception of right and wrong and decision making are all based on the foundation of our beliefs. While there will always be shifts globally in the patterns of faith and marital union, there is an inevitable correlation between the two. Similarly, the foundation on which each country was established reflect the beliefs of if its founding fathers, and there for the country’s laws on marriage and divorce. “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” (Lewis, 2012, p.79).
For the purpose of this study the developed countries of Canada, The United States, and Ireland will be discussed with focus on their population, rate of divorce, average level of education, the primary belief in perspective of religion and the laws in place for a divorce to be obtained. Canada As of April 9, 2019, World Meters reported the live population of Canada to be 37,204,567, ranked 38th in world.
The Canadian Press released an article in 2010 with a report from the Vanier Institute of family stating that the overall population the divorce rate was 40%, 19th in the world with an average duration of 13.8 years before divorce. This is minimum change from previous years but the volume of couples now co-inhabiting with out marriage has greatly increased. The reasons for divorce are many and various elements need to be taken into consideration, such as socioeconomic status, prior marriages and life experiences, but the #1 reason for divorce, at 68%, is financial discrepancies. The 2nd most common divorce reason is infidelity, 3rd falling out of love and, 4th is domestic abuse (Goldhart, 2015).
Canada is not the easiest country to get a divorce in, but it is far from the hardest. Though the most common reasons for divorce are the 4 previously mentioned, there are only 3 reasons a Canadian can began the proceedings for obtaining legal divorce, the couple has lived apart for 1 year, infidelity, and mental or physical cruelty considered unforgiveable. While the reasons are limiting, the cost is not necessarily unreasonable. The fees for divorce differ based on contested and non-contested. Non-contested, meaning both are separating amicably with no substantial discrepancies, averaging from the low of $1,100 to the high of $3,000. A contested divorce is considerably more, as with most countries. Depending on the depth of dispute and financials, a contested divorce in Canada can cost from an average of at $6,600 to an average high of $87,000 per individual (Santry, 2013). The Education system of Canada does not align completely with the tertiary education experienced in the United States. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that “Canadians’ education was the nation’s greatest resource” (Hess, 2016, par 5.). Higher education in Canada is locally funded rather than federally, schooling is available at a minimal cost to the student making it more accessible to all and it is broken down into fields of study focusing on the desired career, like trade degrees in the United States. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked Canada as #1 in the top educated countries of the world in completing further schooling after high school at 56.27%. Canada is in front of Japan, Israel and Korea. (Hess, 2018).
Though comprised of and accepting of many different religious affiliations, Canada is 39% Roman Catholic, 29% Protestant, with 24% identifying as agnostic or atheist (Obernue, 2016). The United States As of April 9, 2019, World Meters reported the live population of the United States at 328,557,751, ranked 3rd in the world. Adapted from the Encyclopedia of psychology, the American Psychology Association (APA) says that by 50 years old 90% of the people living in western cultures marry and in the United States, 40 to 50% of marriages end in divorce and successive marriages have even greater divorce rates. In September 2017 Mark Machaalani, Director and Co-Founder of Unified Lawyers, released a study updated in March 2019 that solidified the divorce rates published of other countries, and listed the United States’ overall divorce rate at 46% with an average marriage lifespan of 12.2 years.
Unlike many other countries, two of which are utilized in this study, the United States does not have requirements on grounds for divorce nor does it have a waiting period. In the United States fault and no-fault termination of marriage is allowed. No fault dissolving the marriage as non-contested, placing no blame on either party. A fault divorce is based on the litany of reasons proclaimed as marital misconduct from infidelity, previously undisclosed infertility, impotency, to criminalistic behavior by one of the parties in the marriage (US Legal Inc, 2019). The average cost of divorce in the United States is a broad spectrum, averaging at $15,000 per person. However, there are other factors. A no-fault divorce can be obtained without an attorney or mediator. This is uncommon but does happen and can make the cost as little as $500 for necessary court filings. When a divorce is filed based on fault expenses greatly arise, especially when child custody, mediation and alimony are involved (Miller, 2019).
The United States is on the OEDC’s list of citizens per country completing upper level education at 45.7%. The US Census reported 33% of the 45.7% were bachelor’s degrees. The site Divorce Writer cites a 2014 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the anticipated fall of the divorce rate in the United States due to younger generations waiting longer to get married than previous due to the focus on completing higher education first. This delay allows potential marriage candidates to make it through the transition from Identity vs Role Confusion to Intimacy vs Isolation in Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages of Development. In getting older marriage candidates know themselves better and what it is they are looking for in a spouse. The time spent in higher education prior to marriage is beneficial to both parties. The United States is often referred to as the melting pot of the world in cultural assimilation, and yet that is not necessarily the case when referring to the religious make up. The Protestant faith accounts for 48.9% of the population, 23% identify as Catholic, 2.1% Jewish, 1.8% Mormon, 0.8% Muslim and 2.5% other non-Christian religions. Ultimately 20.9% of the United States population do not have belief in a higher power and only 30% of those that do, felt that religion plays an important role in their lives (Newport, 2017) Ireland As of April 9, 2019, World Meters reported the population of Ireland at 4,837,122, ranking them at 125th in world population. Their overall population is substantially less than Canada and the United States as is their divorce rate. However, it is for very different reason. When the Irish Constitution was adopted in 1937 the country had banned divorce. It was not until 1995 that the Divorce Referendum was added to the Irish Constitution that divorce became legal. Until this time, Ireland was the only country where divorce was still illegal in all of Europe (Egan, 2018). Since the referendum legalizing divorce was official in 1996, 100,000 citizens have been granted divorce and still today Ireland has the lowest divorce rate in all of Europe even after a peek in 2007 (Meagher, 2015).
Initial conclusions could be drawn over the commitment to staying married being greater amongst the Irish, the cost of divorce averaging from $13,500 to $23,000 being too costly to pursue, or that the 4 years of separation time required of married couples before becoming eligible for divorce, as too daunting to pursue. The divorce rate of Ireland is 13% placing them 60th in the world and it is anticipated to rise as the continued years since the referendum and waiting periods pass. Yet there is one overwhelming and gleaming factor most prevalent in their culture, more than 45% of the community of divorcees believe they are stigmatized and shamed in the Irish society. (Meagher, 2015). Divorce is the scarlet letter of Ireland. Ireland is often sought when citizens of other countries are looking to study abroad. Though the rate of Irish leaving for study abroad programs has dropped, their average level of education has not.
Out of the population 45.7% have completed some form of tertiary education. Initially founded on the principles of Roman Catholicism, there has not been much diversification in the religion preferences and beliefs in the community of Ireland. Still predominantly Roman Catholic 78.8%. More people have no religion 10.1%, or are Atheist 7%, than the population of minority religions combined: Orthodox Christian 1.8%, Islam 1.3% and Church of Ireland 2.6% (Chepkemoi, 2017). Bella DePaulo Ph.D., of Psychology today and University of California at Irvine sociologist Cheng-Tong Lir Wang evaluated 40 years of data on the divorce rates around the world. Their conclusions reflected that the divorce rate has more than doubled. Developed communities with a larger portion of higher gross incomes and tertiary educations, like Canada and the United States, are much of the increased divorce rate. Another interesting correlation that they unveiled was that the larger the country’s volume of citizens practicing the Roman Catholic faith, like Ireland, the lower divorce rates (DePaulo, 2019). “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” (Lewis, 2012). The global aspect of divorce is no different. In areas where God is less present, religion is often high. In areas where God is present, religion is less apparent. The greater focus on the financial means, the harder it is on marriage. The extreme pressure that can be exhibited by strict traditional religion and the laws that were established on it, the harder it is on not only the human, but the marriage. The problem is in the middle ground.
There is not one. Divorce is either given freely, practically freely, or made almost impossible to obtain. Perhaps in our mentality as humans, there are only two kinds of humans, or the perception that there is only one way, my way or your way, we have missed a crucial step. We are losing our compassion for each other and passion for marriage. Marriage needs to go back to being a gift in the union it creates when it is made of God, for God, by God.
The financial gain needs to be less important, we are here to live and be prosperous, not fight for metals or papers of the Earth. If we are to worry it needs to be about how to help others or in the aspect of self-betterment. For the rates of things like divorce, substance abuse, mental health, to dissipate or even begin to decrease each country needs better resources available, and our world will have to become about “We”, not “Me”. The ground between the two kinds of people, The Golden Rule, has become tarnished.
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