Gallup’s annual Values and Benefits survey asked more than 1,500 Americans to rate the moral acceptability of 20 behaviors, including affairs, divorces, gay marriage, doctor-assisted suicide and unmarried women having babies.
Cheating was the No. 1 morally unacceptable behavior, according to 91 percent of respondents. Divorce was the most acceptable act, with 68 percent of those surveyed deeming it so.
The findings may provide some affirmation for people who are experiencing the pain of divorce. Historically, religious and social beliefs made the notion of divorce taboo – even if infidelity was the source of the breakup. That taboo continues in many churches and cultures throughout the world, leaving some who rely on their faith and friends to feel lost when divorce happens.
As cliché as it sounds, the times have changed. Where it was once seen as morally reprehensible to leave a marriage, American culture has for the most part recognized that divorce is not a sacrilege. But it usually doesn’t feel that way to people going through divorce, even if they have the most liberal views about marriage.
If you’re thinking about ending your marriage, remember this: It is increasingly common for women to be the household breadwinners, and the number of stay-at-home dads is growing.
So times do change, and often more quickly than you might expect. If you are contemplating a divorce but are worried about the social repercussions, try to base your decisions on what is morally acceptable to you – not to your family, community or those polled by Gallup. But on the darkest days, it doesn’t hurt to remember that overall, people think divorce is acceptable – and that this too shall pass.
The Wake County family law attorneys of Charles R. Ullman & Associates guide people through divorce in North Carolina with compassion and understanding. Please contact us online or call us toll-free if you would like to schedule a consultation.