Welcome to the divorce fair

An interesting story caught my attention this week - a reflection of the times we live in. The article was headlined ‘Italy hosts its first divorce fair’. The organisers of the event claim they want to help divorced people start a new life.

The significance is that divorce has long been taboo in Italy, probably one of the most Catholic of countries around. Everyone knows about it, everyone knows someone who’s been divorced, but no one talks about it. For Italy to openly host a divorce fair, is quite a strong message that the ‘until death do us part’ view of marriage might need to be re-thought. In case you didn’t know, a Catholic annulment is only granted under exceptional circumstances, and it can take a lifetime to achieve.

According to the article, a growing number of Italian couples file for divorce every year. More than 130 000 couples split or got divorced in Italy in 2007, up more than 3 percent from the previous year, ISTAT (the Italian Statistics Agency) said. On the other side, the number of marriages nearly halved since 1972 to around 246 000 in 2008.

I think it would be fair to say that the situation in most other countries is probably worse. The disintegration of marriage as in institution has been brewing for a long time. The children from these marriages, as well as non-marriage relationships, represent a growing sub-culture of future adults who have either lived through and survived, or have been traumatised, or have accepted as the norm, a single-parent, or dual, but separate parental upbringing. The pros and cons of these scenarios are debateable as children can be nurtured equally well or badly in either of them.

But is this a big deal? Is single parenting, or divorced parenting such a huge deal these days that people still point fingers? As a single father myself, I can’t say that marriage is a prerequisite for being a competent and committed parent. What’s been your experience?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Do you think there’s any point in trying to save marriage as an instituation?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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