Live Discussion: Post-pandemic Divorce Wave, Deep-rooted Marriage Problems

Divorce (photo: Pixabay)
By Zoe Zhang May 13th, 2020

Recently, a marriage and family online platform called Fulian (which means Blessed Love in Chinese) conducted a live interview. Relationship experts, lawyers, and pastors were invited to conduct an in-depth discussion about the increase in divorce since the pandemic began and reflect on the deep-rooted problems in marriage.

Pastor Wu and his wife, who have rich experience in marriage and family counselling, psychological consultant expert Dr. Lai, senior lawyer Mr. Feng, who provides marriage and family legal services, and special mediator Mr. Wu from a municipal people's court participated in the discussion.

After the epidemic, there has been a wave of divorce in many parts of the country. What exactly has happened?

Dr. Lai: I think, first of all, everyone is in a bad mood. Because they can't go to work, they don't have a place to relax; they can't carry out their plans; they're worried that they or their family may get sick, and they can't even come to the cities from their hometowns. During the epidemic, all kinds of social problems have arisen; divorce is not the only one. Moreover, it reflects the poor management of the relationship between husbands and wives. The modern view of marriage is quite different from what it used to be. In the face of marital problems, people now do not intend to solve their problems with honesty.

Senior lawyer Mr. Feng:  The divorce rate itself has been very high in recent years, and it was just highlighted during the epidemic. The change in universal values is a problem in the whole human society. It’s not just a problem in China. With the rapid development of the economy, the soul cannot keep up with people’s developing pace, leading to people's selfish pursuit of "living in the moment" and "living for themselves". Couples who had wanted to divorce before the epidemic were saved by the epidemic. 5. Some Christian couples say their relationships have improved during the epidemic.

Reverend Wu: A home is a place of love, which involves the ability and willingness to love. And God is the source of love. If you are willing to come back to the source of love, you would have the motivation to solve all kinds of problems. 1. Two people in marriage should work together as one unit. But still, they are two different individuals, and these differences often lead to conflicts. Couples need to recognize and accept these differences. 2. If you are a self-centered person and want your spouse to satisfy you, problems will naturally arise. You should realize your responsibilities through the needs of your spouse.

There is data showing that, after being married for 2-7 years, the rate of divorce rate will be at the highest stage. So is there really a so-called "seven years itch"?

Senior lawyer Mr. Feng: After 2-7 years of marriage, there are a lot of divorce cases in which the couple had problems during the woman’s pregnancy or even because the man had an affair. Lots of couples did not even mention divorce. Instead, they chose to endure their marriage. Why? Considering the negative effect on their children's education, some people are reluctant to divorce, but many would choose to divorce after their children graduate from high school. Most couples will choose to endure after seven years of marriage, but many marital problems remain unresolved.

Dr. Lai: There is no scientific data to support the so-called "seven years itch", but it is true that there are more divorces after 2-7 years of marriage. In the first two years of marriage, people may try to change each other. However, some couples find that sometimes people don't really change, so they resort to divorce. What about those people whose marriages last for more than seven years? It could be that they’ve already given up their struggle. They put their time and energy into their jobs and let go of their marriages. For this reason, the divorce rate enters a relatively flat period.

Many couples are both at home during the epidemic, while they were busy with their own businesses at ordinary times. So why can't they establish a closer relationship when they have more time to accompany each other?

Reverend Wu: Marriage is a covenant. It's about love and trust. Couples trust each other when they were not together. But now, many couples cannot trust each other because of the huge external temptations. Most people spend their lives looking for flaws in their spouses, but those who know what love is really about would understand that true love means constantly trying to find the best in each other.

Is divorce an impulsive idea or a deliberate one? Does it truly mean a fresh start?

Mediator Mr. Wu: Both types exist. Some say that the reasons for divorce vary, and you can see all kinds of strange reasons. Common reasons for divorce proceedings include: 1. Insufficient understanding before marriage and communication difficulties; 2. They think that the other party fails to fulfill his/her family responsibilities, and the parents of both parties intervene too much; 3. Domestic violence, extramarital affairs, etc.

Lawyer Mr. Feng: The type of tree decides the type of fruit it bears. What we see now is only the fruit. But what we really should try to understand is what the tree is like. If the tree cannot produce good fruit, can you change the tree or not, and what can the tree do to produce good fruit?

Dr. Lai: Marital problems are not simple at all. Nowadays people have no commitment to a contract, and divorce is a form of breach of contract. 1. The view of marriage has changed greatly. In the past, we thought that divorce was unfortunate, but now people think that divorce is just a kind of personal choice. 2. Now people do not want to make even small sacrifices. If the other party doesn’t satisfy them, they resort to divorce. They do not to intend to work at their relationships. 3. As the roles of men and women change, the status of women becomes higher and higher. This change is good in itself. But if it is not well adjusted in marriage, it may lead to conflict. 4. Nowadays, people pay much attention to work efficiency and effectiveness, and seldom pay attention to a person's inner qualities, such as patience and modesty. In fact, qualities are more important than efficiency in marriage. 5, Modern people have a strong distaste for pain. They actively run away from pain. I have been married for more than 30 years. There were different kinds of pain in different stages, but we never escaped from them. Instead, we constantly reflected on our relationship and our attitudes towards each other. Then we made appropriate adjustments timely and accordingly.

Reverend Wu: We often are attracted to someone because we are unfamiliar with him/her, and our hearts are separated because we know him/her too well. Surely there are differences between two strangers. The differences between them attract each other, and makes them want to get to know each other. But the pain slowly appears as they gradually get to know each other. "How different he/she is from me. Why won't he/she listen to me? Why doesn’t he/she do what I expect he/she to do?" The traits that used to attract each other now become extremely annoying. So they try to change their spouses, but as time goes by they realize that people don’t really change. They want to love and treat their spouses well. But the only words they can get out just hurt their spouses more.

There will be problems and there will be difficulties, but if you seek God's help, and if you trust God and learn to put aside your worries and doubts, you have the ability to solve them. It’s just like learning to swim. You can float only if you are totally relaxed. It’s the same logic in marriage. If you are willing to be more committed to God, be more relaxed, and be more willing to pray and manage your marriage with the truth, your marriage life would be much more enjoyable.

The root involves the knowledge of truth and the relationship with God. Only when our lives are connected to the source of love, that is, Jesus Christ, can we produce the sweet fruit of love and bless each other. 

I hope you all can find the root of love soon. God bless you.

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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