Cost of Divorce: Far More Than $112 Billion+ Per Year

15 April 2008

Fox News reports that a Georgia State University economist has found that divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing is costing U.S. taxpayers over $112 billion [yes, with a "b"] per year. As a child of divorce I recognize that, while there is a financial cost to society, the greater (and less quantifiable) cost is in the damage it does to the children in those situations.

The most significant part of that damage is stunting of spiritual and personal growth of the children who do not have both parents in the home modeling proper man-woman, husband-wife, father-child, mother-child relationships. Granted, even in homes where both parents are present, there is not always proper modeling of those relationships but the complete absence of one parent or the other makes it especially difficult for the remaining parent.

Children need to know the firm but loving discipline of a father who bears his responsibility with patience. Children need to know the loving warmth of a mother who is free to be lovingly warm and does not have to be both father and mother to her children. They need to see their father meet his family responsibilities with honor. They need to see their mother honor and respect her husband and their father respect and honor his wife. Modeling proper sex-specific relationships is critical to the proper development of children's understanding of who they themselves are and who they are to become.

When fathers neglect their familial responsibilities it establishes a pattern that young boys to all too often follow themselves as adults: self-absorbed, self-gratifying, impatient, and undisciplined.

When mothers enter into casual sexual relationships with multiple men it establishes a pattern that young girls all too often follow themselves as adults: consumed with feelings that they are unworthy of honor and valueless other than as objects of sexual desire.

The pattern of living that we model for our children is very often the pattern they follow as adults. How often do we find ourselves saying the things our parents said and doing the things our parents did [much to our chagrin]?  Without an unchanging and proper model to base our behaviors upon (i.e. Scripture) we are limited to the constantly shifting patterns the world provides as examples.

Yes, the financial cost is $112+ billion but ultimately the cost to society is the destruction of the foundation on which society is built. When that happens... how long will that society stand?

Torah Portion




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