The rise of divorce in the Jewish community, and especially the religious community has been significant of late, particularly in young twenty-something couples.
Although there is no availability of hard statistics, anecdotal data indicates that many couples are not even making it through one year of marriage, and many others are divorcing after only 2 or 3 years of marriage.
There are several factors that have been noted to contribute to this increasingly disturbing phenomenon.
What is often most significant is that couples are often getting married for the wrong reasons. They may not be ready for marriage, but there is a pressure to marry young and marry well, especially for young women who may feel that they will be overlooked once they reach a certain age. Thus, many marry without a solid sense of self, or a solid sense of what is truly needed to sustain a stable and durable marriage, such as common values, emotional connection, respect and excellent communication skills.
There is also the financial and societal pressures of “keeping up with the Cohen’s”; often couples have certain expectations of what they “must” have materialistically in order for them to be happy. This often leads to the need for instant gratification. So to, there is often a lack of understanding that a solid relationship—during dating and after marriage—requires time, commitment, emotional investment, nurturance, and a devotion to each other, not necessarily as judged by the standards of what others have.
Technology is also seen as a factor that interferes with the nurturance of young relationships. How does one connect with their spouse, if they are constantly looking elsewhere to determine what is important, cool and happening with everyone else?
Recently OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services launched Listen for a Change, a podcast series wherein people in the community converse about personal life challenges and experiences in a very candid, and insightful way,
These podcasts serve to deepen our perspectives, enhance our own lives and strengthen as us individuals, as families and as a community.
One of the podcasts is entitled, Devorah and Yonatan: The Twenty-Something Divorcee & Remarriage, and is an extremely poignant conversation between two individuals who both divorced in their twenties. Now in their thirties, they share the difficulty that led to their respective decisions of divorce, their time adapting to single-hood, reevaluating their lives and their different pathways that led them to new-found happy marriages.
Derek Saker, OHEL’s Director of Communications says, “We hope that the podcasts will further an evolving attitudinal change in the community, that sharing personal life stories, broadcast in a sensitive way, is understood as an expression of personal strength and not a sign of weakness – and where so many can gain from.”
There are understandably many causes to the increase in divorce and many approaches offered to proactively address.
Certainly increasing honest, insightful and frank discourse is one of them.
Take a listen to Listen for a Change at http://www.listenforachange.org