But anyway, nobody pretends that, apart from egregious, addiction-rife or abusive situations, divorce is actually good for the children. So why, then, do so many adults end up doing it?
Here's a novel idea: maybe divorce is contagious:
(CNN) -- Divorce is contagious in social networks, a new study says. The idea is based on the theory of social contagion, or the spread of behavior or emotion through a group. In this case, the heated feelings and actions of one person's divorce can be transferred like a virus, causing others to divorce, according to the study.
Not only can the risk of divorce spread from one couple to their friends or family, it can also affect relationships at least two degrees of separation away from the original couple splitting up, said James H. Fowler, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego.
Your decision to split from your spouse can influence whether your friend gets divorced. It also can sway your friend's friend, according to preliminary findings by Fowler and fellow researchers from Harvard and Brown Universities.
Some therapists offer anecdotal reports of the divorce influence on friends.
Jay Slupesky, a California marriage counselor, said he's seen women separate from their husbands because they were inspired by their divorced female friends. Slupesky is working with several couples who are empty nesters in their 40s.
"It makes total sense," said Slupesky.
"Let's say the wife has a friend who is getting divorced -- it may give her a little more courage to pursue it."
Marriage therapist Gerry Lane in Georgia said he agrees divorce can be contagious. He said his clients' friends have triggered their desires for a divorce -- even among previously happily married couples.
"The people you associate with have a powerful influence over you," he said. "It's never just coming from inside the person."
Hmmm. Sometimes I have a hard time buying this one.
Couple A is getting a divorce. Couple B are happily married, but when Mrs. A, Mrs. B's best friend, tells her all about the divorce, Mrs. B becomes thoughtful. "Maybe I should get one of those," she thinks. "After all, I bought the same purse that A has, and I decorated my living room in the same colors..."
I'd guess that what really happens is that like-minded couples tend to be friends, and that families also tend to be composed of at least some like-minded people. Thus, a Catholic couple who takes their wedding vows very, very seriously and would never consider divorce is unlikely to be affected by divorces in the Protestant extended family of one of the spouses; a Protestant couple who believes in "covenant marriage" and seeks ways to work out conflict that don't involve the divorce courts is unlikely to be thrown into divorce-planning by a friend who is unhappy in his or her marriage, etc.
But these days, few people take marriage as seriously as my hypothetical Catholic and covenanted-marriage Protestant couple do. A lot of people focus in so intently on the wedding (Starring: The Bride! In "Her Special Day!" etc.) that they forget to consider what marriage is all about--or if they do, they think vaguely that of course they love each other and will be happy forever and ever, but if things don't work out...
I bet that this study could be reworked to show that some people think marriages ought to be permanent, others think it can be temporary, and that there aren't as many close friendships between these two groups as one might think. Thus, the divorces in the second group only remind others in that same group that they never really expected the marriage to last, and maybe it's time they explored other options...
Divorce, then, isn't really contagious. But the cultural rot formed by the sexual revolution has bred stagnant pools of spiritual corruption from which infection is freely drunk by plenty of people who see only glittering water, and are oblivious to the rotting sewage which drifts in mortiferous gobs to spread its pestilence abroad.