Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Death of the Family

Westernisation corrupting Eastern values, or the influence of badly-needed new perspective? However you look at it, the rate of divorce in Sri Lanka is increasing.

Sri Lanka is ranked along with India as having one of the lowest divorce rates in the world - coincidentally, it also has the highest rate of female suicide - but I leave decisions on whether to correlate those bits of information to you.

Acceptance of divorce in Sri Lanka has always been an issue, with divorcees suffering from stigma and in many cases ostracism, whether or not they initiated the divorce. Fair or not, it is often the woman who bears the brunt of society's disapproval as perhaps it is felt that the onus is on her to make the marriage work. Sri Lankans, in general, are incredibly family-oriented. If you've had old aunts - I should say 'aunties', because friends of the family fall into this group too - cluck sadly over how you're too thin, too fat, too fair, too dark, not married yet, don't yet have children, etc. then you've been on the receiving end of IEFS or Interfering Extended Family Syndrome. The fact that most Sri Lankan can attest to having experienced IEFS speaks for itself. While this can be great in terms of support when you need it, it is usually from these quarters that the snide comments on divorce come as well. This considered, maybe it's a good thing that more open-minded views are beginning to prevail.

Since a marriage is essentially a commitment between the two people concerned, it seems just that the decision to dissolve it should be between them and not be judged by others. That said, marriage is still seen as a lifetime commitment, and one that shouldn't be broken lightly. Considering 'for better and for worse', it's difficult to decide at what point is the decision to walk away should be made and there have been many marriages that got through crises stronger for having been tested.

On the other hand, how right is it to condemn people to an unhappy marriage, one in which neither can live up to their potential or have a chance for happiness? If the individuals involved are unhappy, it stands to reason that forcing them together is unlikely to contribute to the collective good.

So does the increasing acceptance of (or resignation to) divorce mean the devaluation of the family unit or is it merely the evolution into a new form, where individual best interests are valued more than they were previously?


  1. eh.

    I just find it sad to see a lot of kids coming from broken families. Seems to be quite common in international schools now, even more so than when I was in school, and that was like 2 years ago!

    Stay together for the kids - blink182 :P

  2. i dunno if i echo @saintfallen.. i know a close friend who's mum stayed on for the family and its just terrible with the dad and the fights and all. sometimes i wonder if its worth it...

  3. I always thought IF you stay together for the kids, the kids end up far more scarred and bitter than if the parents were seperated.

    To witness fighting, backbiting and general hatred towards between the two people who stand as your role models is not something kids should go through. So if divorce is the solution, then be it. I think.

    Better off being loved by a single parent than live in a divided home.

  4. I've seen on many occasions that the 'aunties' are directly responsible for divorces, as in the interfere in a marriage that's pretty ok and destroy it... :/ I guess there should be more regulation on marriage so that people who don't really love each other don't end up in an unhappy marriage that obviously leads to divorce and broken families....