What Justifies Divorce?

From the Sydney Morning Herald, interviewing Orlando Bloom on his divorce from Miranda Kerr –

The 37-year-old actor told the magazine that his split from Kerr was “amicable”. He says his ex is “a very supportive and understanding woman”, but their relationship ended because they want different things “from our lives, our work”.

Whatever else one might infer from this, and assuming that there is some truth in the way he describes their decision, it appears that the things they wanted from their lives and work were more important to them than remaining faithful to their marriage vows. They made a choice, based on what they felt they preferred.

No doubt this is consistent with the way many, perhaps most, people today think about marriage. It is a way to be happy. If another way to be happy should appear that seems better, then the first may be discarded for the second.

I think this is much more than an opinion about marriage. It is a way of defining what marriage is. And it is not a concept of marriage that I have any interest in.

It’s also interesting in the context of the ‘gay marriage’ debate. So many people are so determined that gays should be able to ‘marry’. Yet this is a debate that largely ignores any more fundamental examination of what marriage really is. As important as the question of ‘gay marriage’ is to one’s view about what marriage is, I would suggest that there are other fault lines in contemporary thinking on marriage that are far less obvious, yet perhaps even more important.

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