Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grounds for divorce?

My focus changed.
All of a sudden :-)
With good reason too.

This was to be the second part of a look at M3's post from JV's point of view...
But I think I have found something else to discuss.
At least, I found another angle from which to approach this topic.

To this end, I shall divorce (heh!) both M3 and JV from this post.

But the origin of this post did come from JV's second parallel to look at how a woman might get to the depths of despair that M3 describes.

Once again, just to re-iterate the point that JV was not saying that this was exactly comparable to M3's story. I hope we have firmly established that by now.

As it turns out, the story itself (that JV describes) is not required here, in this post. Just a small part of it.

Just a quick 'declaration' of sorts before I continue.

I am still as divorce-phobic as ever, no matter how much it might seem that I am now an apologetic for divorce, in this post.

But, in a flurry of maturity that I have never experienced before, I am willing to take a quick look at a deeply pertinent subject before I have to deal with it head on.

I am in some sort of race against time to clear my head of all falsehoods, inaccuracies, 'pretty lies', ugly lies, partial truths and downright porkies.

So my usual plea of 'explain it like I am a 6 year old' applies here, ever more than before :-)

In short, JV describes a woman in a marriage where the other party is addicted to pills. This renders him unable to function in all ways including, important marital way.

Well, the word 'addiction' always makes me want to flee. It's one of my 'fight or flight' words.

I occasionally have the 'pleasure' of encountering people with serious addictions, for example during the course of my work, (but not exclusively).
Believe me when I say that 'pleasure' is a measured word here.

Let's just say that from what I have noticed, these people have checked out of their own lives (leaving their friends and family to pick up the pieces) but because they haven't exactly 'left the building', people see the lights on and assume there is someone home.
No, there is no-one home.

Someone married to a person in this category is effectively single.

And so I ask myself, on what grounds is divorce justifiable?

Serious question.

For me, the reference point for a question like this would be The Church. I bet their answer (if I knew it) would be better than a secular answer.

On searching a few sites (and I cannot be sure of their authenticity), I find that The Church believes divorce to be wrong, on principle, but 'civil' divorce is acceptable under the following circumstances (with the caveat that re-marriage is still not 'allowed' because despite a 'civil' divorce, one is still spiritually married to the original spouse, and so remarriage constitutes adultery:

"The Church teaches that the separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases. The Catechism states: “If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

I don't really understand this. Anyone care to explain it in simple terms citing examples?

Perhaps looking for 'grounds for annulment' might help? Afterall, many people see annulment as the equivalent of divorce for Catholics. Not true, but there we are...

"The Catholic Church can, however, annul a marriage if there is sufficient proof that the marriage was invalid to begin with. Grounds for annulment include being forced to marry someone, not having enough information about that individual – as an example – if the party was an abuser, a convicted rapist and if the individual lied (about wanting children as one example). A marriage can also be annuled by the Catholic Church if the sexual act was not consummated."

Hm, I think I have an answer to a question I didn't really ask, but wanted to, with regard to the above scenario.

In terms of 'legal rights' and annulment, what about a crime committed during the marriage, after vows have already been taken? Can one spouse claim, 'but I didn't know he was going to turn out to be a murderer?' and win a divorce/annulment case?

I mean, of course, if one spouse killed the other, then the marriage is technically over (!)...but what if one spouse killed a third party closely related to both parties, eg. one of the kids, or the mother-in-law? Is the Church going to push for saving such a marriage??

Serious question, believe it or not.
(If you don't believe me, know that at least three of the seven sacraments are granted one by the Church after one passes a 'test' of some sort (um, with the exception of Baptism and 'Last Rites'.

I may have to prove that I know the answers to some of the above answers, otherwise, I may not be granted a certain sacrament I seek.
And I ain't talking 'Holy Orders' :-)

Extreme examples only bring out the complexities of a situation. That's the extent of their usefulness.

Here is another.

This woman speaks of a phenomenon that TPM brought to our attention.
I was stunned to realise that this woman divorced her husband because (after having been 'alpha' once), he turned into a 'lapdog'.

Not wishing to sound insensitive, I don't wish to dissect this too much...


I must say, it's a scary thought that this can happen.

As a woman myself, I know what extreme and permanent 'betatude' can do to a woman. I often describe this feeling as 'getting hives', but I can well imagine that it is even worse for other women, and I have heard of this phenomenon inducing an extreme kind of 'nausea' in a woman, followed by a revulsion which engulfs her until she is rid of the source of this 'maladie'.

This must be a painful experience for all concerned.
Especially if one is married to said source of maladie.
So much so, that a man might find himself 'friendzoned' after he has said 'I do'.

I honestly feel that no matter how much a man may become a 'lapdog', he should not be divorced for this.

There HAS to be a solution to this problem.
Anyone know?

'Inside' (as I call her) could not suggest any to me, on TPM's blog when I asked her.
But I am sure there must be something that can be done.

Surely if a man has been 'alpha' enough to attract a woman to the point of marriage, he can't be hopeless.
He can return to his alpha self from time to time, surely!

What can a woman do to help this process along, if like Inside's husband, he just won't do it by himself?
How to prevent her seeking the contact details of a lawyer?

If divorce is out of the question (eg. viewed as some sort of 'sin'), what can a woman do to ensure she is never going down that path?

Here's a challenge:

Let's say you know a young woman. She is as divorce-phobic as I am.
She is at a church.
The church is full.
The bells are ringing.
Groom's at the altar, wondering what her dress is going to be like.
She is at the front door of the church, on her father's arm.
Priest is approaching her, about to make the sign of the cross.

You have eaxctly two minutes to divorce-proof this imminent marriage, before it even starts.

What do you say to the blushing bride?
So that she will remember you and your words on her 30th wedding anniversary :-)

(Please don't say to her: 'don't do it', lol.
NB: You could have had a chance speaking to the groom, but he is now at the altar already, having cleared his head of the hangover from last night following his stag-do, and is hellbent on marrying this woman :-).
How can you help him avoid deep regrets twenty years down the line?
By speaking to the woman...

Is it all down to luck, or are there ways to efficiently prevent divorce?
I am prone to believe the latter... but I don't know why.

Prove me right :-)
Educate me.

And you don't have to be married to participate in this conversation.
All ideas welcome and appreciated.

How does one avoid ever seeing this piece of paper?


Inside said...

I'll read the comments with interest, I'd just like to add that my exhusband didnt start out an alpha, he started out as -less- beta than he is now, and I started out less knowing and aware how important the existance of an alpha is for me, in a man. It's not about looks or wealth or muscle for me - it's about the attitude, the dynamic in the relationsship and the man being MAN, and the woman being WOMAN.

But yes, as said, thanks for the shout out, and I'll look in now and again. :)

This Old Man said...

In a scene that occurs often enough in World War II movies the patrol is walking unknowingly through a minefield when one of the soldiers steps on the ground and it makes a click. Everyone knows that he just stepped on a mine and that, if he steps off, death and mayhem will follow. This is a dumb design for a bounding mine but, in the movies, it provides a trigger for hand-wringing tension and anguished drama.

If the groom is unsuitable, the bride in your scenario has already heard the click. No matter what anyone says or does, anguish and mayhem will follow.

The time for prophylactic action is long past. It was when first she was meeting him and deciding on whether he was boyfriend material or not. People come with a character, which is hard won, and a personality, which is innate, which are near impossible to change and cannot be disguised for very long. This is why, first γνῶθι σεαυτόν (know thyself). If you don’t know who you are, how can you possibly know what you want or what you have to offer?

Once you have some knowledge of yourself, you need to know the other person enough to ascertain that you are indeed compatible. This takes time, attention and an unclouded judgment. It may also require the assistance and advice of those nearest you who have your best interests at heart, and your willingness to listen. This is why traditional engagements are long and couples are entreated to celibacy. Sex may not “ruin everything” but it has a way of making things confused if it means anything to you and you are not already certain.

The Hollywood model of meet cute-whirlwind romance-marriage-live happily ever after with one’s soul mate is a fantasy of the highest order. Yet this is what most people seem to be searching for these days.

The variation discussed endlessly at HUS involving tingles and game and whatnot, appears to me to be only a marginal improvement. It surely must be exhausting to constantly pretend you are something you are not to fool somebody who want something other than you. If I had a wife I needed to “game” constantly to keep her from wandering, I do not understand why I would want to be yoked to such a person. If I did not have enough wisdom when we married to know that what I am, is good enough for her, and she did not know this either, we would both have been better off alone.

This is not to say that you marry and sit back on the recliner to watch the games or the soap operas. As that guy Tom might have said in another thread, if you strive throughout to be a better person and he strives every day to be a better person, at the end of thirty years you will both be married to people who are superior to the ones that were good enough for you on your wedding day. What kind of fool throws that away? This of course if you picked a man who was willing and able to do this, hence the need for judgment.

Anonymous said...

If you want to be happy; be a good, happy and feminine wife. Respect your husband. Lookup to your man when he solve problem and provide, he will try harder to impress you.

This Old Man said...

"The Church teaches that the separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases. The Catechism states: “If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

This one is easy.

“You may live apart, and you may reach whatever legal arrangements you think you need. They don’t matter to us and we don’t care. As far as we are concerned, you are still married.”

just visiting said...

Not sure which one to tackle first. Addiction or alpha/beta.

In the case of addiction, I put it up there with the three A's. Adultery, abuse, and addiction. Either could be deal breakers in a marriage. For good reason.

I think that this is especially hard in an established marriage. They say marijuana is a gateway drug. I'd be inclined to say that prescription drugs are the new gateway drug. But I also think that certain personalities are more prone to abusing them. Hubby thought he was invincible, and that the guide lines were ok for everyone else. He, of course, wasn't "everyone else."

Arrogance mixed with higher than normal risk taking and a certain sense of invincibility paid off for him in many areas of life. It also brought him down hard when it came to substance abuse. We survived the period that you discussed. The marriage couldn't survive the events of a second and more serious addiction.

As for alpha beta in a marriage....
there are going to be ebbs and flows. Part of this is adjusting to what's expected during a marriage. More beta is required in maintaining family life and children than dating. Hormones change. Sometimes complacency and comfort creeps in. Sometimes it can be a life altering event like losing a business which can leave a man shaken confidence wise.

For the most part, a man can bring a lot of beta as long as he maintains more alpha.

The thing is, beta traits are just nurturing traits. I don;t subscribe to the idea that being mealy mouthed, two faced,cowardly or supplicating are beta. Those are character traits. And I've seen them show up in men considered to be alphas too. Alpha is not reliant on character.

Ceer said...

@ ST

It's my understanding the passage you quoted from the catechism essentially means that a civil divorce for secular reasons is morally valid, but as far as the church is concerned, any such divorce is the same as a an informal separation. There is no right to remarry unless an annulment is decided.


Your conclusion is similar to a lot of people. As with any long term self-improvement project, the actions become ingrained as habits.

Ceer said...

Sorry about the late comment. I thought I pressed the submit button and went on to other pursuits. When I came back, I pressed it without refreshing.

just visiting said...

The challenge of divorce proofing a marriage by talking to the bride ......

1) Sex. Lot's of sex,lol. Starfish doesn't count. Being tired and not in the mood doesn't count. Enthusiasm counts, and it's possible to to put yourself in that place.

2) Nagging doesn't accomplish anything. Except resentment and emasculation. If you have married a man who was brought up with a nagging mother and a doormat're in trouble. Inspiring their help is almost as useless as nagging. You'll have to have a frank conversation (with out whining)stating plainly that you are not their mother. The best course for a man is to notice what needs to be done without being asked, or to respond to a request. Ignoring and hoping someone else will deal with it is (ie. wife) puts the husband in child mode. If the husband feels too much is being requested, he needs to state as much.

Children derive power from playing one parent against the other. They can't help themselves. A united front. Always. Any disagreement in child rearing is not to be discussed in front of the children. Bad mouthing or complaining about the spouse to the children is a no go.

Don't complain about the spouse to friends or family. You made a vow to "honor". Talk to a priest, minister,therapist or someone who doesn't know the spouse.

Be supportive. If your husband is acting in an unmanly manner a gentle reminder that women act in such a manner should be enough. Wouldn't hurt to have a snack on hand to soften the reproach. Tone of voice counts. No sharp edges and no whining.

If you expect a high level of masculinity bring a high level of femininity.

Be patient. There will be times when you yourself are unsexy, wearing mom jeans, losing baby weight and looking less than wonderful from sleepless nights. There will be times when hubby is less than alpha wonderful too.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Inside,

I welcome you to The Sanctuary! Your linked post over at TPM scared the living daylights out of me. (In a good way, inasmuchas it made me think). I had honestly never considered the possibility of a husband losing all his masculine allure the way your husband did. Much as I like to be 'spontaneous' in life, I now recognise that it is sometimes better to be warned about certain situations, before they happen. This is definitely one of them. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

Forresten, er du norsk??

@ TOM,

"If the groom is unsuitable, the bride in your scenario has already heard the click."

I concur. Many men are totally blindsided when something goes wrong in their marriage. Not so with women, usually. I think you are right, women usually know what's up with a man they are about to marry, or have married. It is a question of ignoring it, or feeling confident they can put up with whatever the problem is. Occasionally, though, there is a true surprise...

This 'time to prepare' you speak is often 'donated' to the relationship by the man :-)
I think most women will want to be married within 6 months of meeting a man they are keen on, but the'resistance' of men means that this is often not achieved...although there is the odd occasion, like my colleague who met and married his wife in 3 weeks, much to the chagrin of his parents who were not even told of the wedding until after it was over...

About Hollywood films, they really should come with a warning, you know, like cigarettes...
I'll be the first to admit that as a child, I was hopelessly sucked in by the 'romance' notion. Still am, to a large extent, but this is measured now, to fit in a bit with reality, lol.

@ TOM and Ceer,

I see. Thanks for your explanations of the catechism concerning marriage and divorce.

The reason it was not clear for me was somehow connected to the notion that infidelity (for example) should be on the list, and it is not! But of course, The Church is never going to justify divorce on the grounds of that case, almost everyone will be divorced. Perhaps this is a secular notion that I had accepted as 'Church-approved' but it is indeed not.

I agree with JV though that addiction and physical abuse (both of which COULD lead to danger (of death) for the other spouse are accepted by the Church as grounds for separation, civil divorce and separation. This comes under the heading 'legal rights'.

@ Anonymous,

Super advice, thank you :-)
Now I might get kicked in the teeth for saying this, but a ot of women (now in their 60s and 70s) complain that they have been wives like this and still got 'traded in' for the younger model...
Am I right to suspect that there was something they missed out and are either unaware of it, or that they just don't think it counts for much? Holly Petraeus may be a perfect wife. But everyone knows why her husband cheated on her...just by looking at her and the mistress. Unfair but true...

Spacetraveller said...


Thanks for your advice to our hypothetical bride!

May I ask: what is a 'starfish'? Is this an Americanism? Never heard it before...

"There will be times when hubby is less than alpha wonderful too."

Inside's problem was that this went on for years...

Every woman (or most at least)likes a bit of 'beta heaven' in a man who was once alpha or at least... not beta when first encountered.
But this should not last too long, of course.
JV, what should a woman do if this happens as in Inside's case? Just grin and bear it for years? Is this feasible? (Of course a wife cannot tell her husband to 'be a man', because if she has to tell him this, things are pretty waht can she do, to um...'encourage' him?)
Inside and Stingray already answered this question on TPM's site, but I wasn't sure they felt there was anything a woman could do in this situation...unless I am mistaken.

How do you feel about this?

just visiting said...


Starfish is pretty much ...well...looking like a starfish and not doing much else.

The beta for a long time issue:

Do you remember the post on Look Who's Coming For Dinner? In the comments section we mentioned how young Joanna was, and that a husband marrying someone like that would have to combine fatherly and husbandly traits. I think that women are facing something similar with men who weren't trained to be men.

Sometimes it takes dynamite. Addiction induced impotence was not cool. Though, to be fair to beta's, I won't label it as such.

Can you roll your own alpha? I think that you can encourage it. How far it takes root is up to him. I also think that age has to be taken into consideration. The younger the man, the easier to encourage.

The thing is, it's not a natural thing for a woman to take the lead in order to train a man to take the lead. Her limbec system is going to be wanting to shit test like there's no tomorrow. It's probably necessary to bring the man in on the plan,so to speak.

just visiting said...

Scratch that. No probably about it. The man would have to also conciously be making efforts. Though, is it fair to expect someone who is beta going in to the marriage to change? I feel kind of...funny about that.

Ceer said...

I think that only so much of human nature is changeable. Some people really are good at heart. Perhaps roll your own alpha is a good way for a woman to remain faithful, stay safe, AND have her tingles. On a rational level, you're aware of it, yes...but is your subconscious? That's a feminine nature question...what do you think?

JV, you're right. Addiction imposed impotence isn't alpha or's just straight looser.

lifeuniverse42 said...

@ST I'm the previous anonymous

I'm not a man of that age yet so I can't answer for them. I can only project why. Being offered by pretty woman easy sexual access without commitment is a powerful offer, few man can resist. But I guess I should have added another part to what I said previously :

Keep his balls drained and is stomach full. Remain the prettiest you can be while doing so. If he is satisfied at home it will be harder and less interesting for him to cheat if he's already well drained.

A practical example : Why do you think Michelle Obama want her husband home most night? Maybe to for him to be a great father for his girl, but probably more to keep him in her bed. The female swing set would poach her man if one of them got any chance to do so. She would soon learn about it via the media. A new Bill and Monica scandal.

metak said...

One way to efficiently prevent divorce would be, to shift your focus from "How to prevent divorce?" to "Holly shit! There's infinity for us to explore and enjoy within the confines of our marriage! 20 years? Are you kidding me! :-)". It's amazing how everything changes when you start looking at life in another way.

I can already see my divorce... Deity in the sky, help me.. ;-)

Missus: We need to talk. Lately you've been showing too much of Beta and ignoring Alpha qualities.
Metak: Alpha..? Beta..? What are you talking about?
Missus: You know... "doggy language", pack leader and all that..
Metak: Since we're talking in "doggy language" that would also make you a bitch. ;-)

This Old Man said...

I concurr with Metak.

There are no 10 point programs to divorce proof a marriage if one has chosen poorly to begin with and searching for one is like the eternal search for the miracle diet. It does more harm than good.

Choose a mate wisely and then focus on making the best possible life instead of focusing on disaster.

One tends to attain what one focuses on and if you focus ond divorce, that is what you are heading towards.

metak said...


You're right, and experts in the field of NLP will confirm this. Subconscious mind doesn't care about "how to avoid..", what will be registered is "divorce, divorce,..." and subconscious mind will respond accordingly "divorce? I'll give you a divorce! ;-)".

Why not instead, choose different and productive approach?

There's nothing stopping anyone from using their imagination, right?
So, why not imagine your marriage as the ultimate adventure and your wedding day is the "official day" when this epic story begins!
It's a story about two explorers, waving to their families as they're leaving the village and embarking on their own adventure. Uncharted territory lies ahead of them, but they're not worried because they have each-other. Destination? Irrelevant! It's all about the journey and every day is a new adventure! They're not worried about what might happen in 10 years because they're way too busy living their life, to be doing that...

I don't know much about marriage, but when I think about it, this is how I see it...

just visiting said...

Good advice Metak

How about advising a young couple toward happy marriage instead of divorce proofing?

In which case I add gratitude as advice. Find something wonderful about the other person each day.

Spacetraveller said...

@ LifeUniverse42,

Welcome to The Sanctuary!

I like your advice (Keep his balls drained and is stomach full) although I can't tell you how much I laughed at your parlance :-)
Only a man could put it like that, lol.

But I see what you mean. Generations of women have done this successfully. I am not sure why we modern women feel the need to re-invent the wheel. Men haven't changed since Adam. They won't ever change their tastes...

@ JV,

Yes, one should accept a man as he is going into a marriage, I believe. If he was 'beta' going in, expect more of the same and live with it. If he is more on the alpha side, accept that too. In both cases, accept that his ways now will be his ways after marriage.

Inside's situation was a little different, though, it seems. Her husband seems to have changed - unexpectedly.

I always think that that is unusual. Many people say that it is women who change after marriage. In may ways I can see how this might be true.
For one, childbearing and childcare displaces her affections (which is natural to some degree) and some women just never return to seeing husband as 'king' again even after the last child no longer requires her full attention...

So whenever I hear of a man changing, it scares me, because I just don't know how to deal with that.


Yes! 'Roll your own alpha' requires incredible work from a woman. It requires her to be at her most feminine. Constantly. Given that this has been sysematically beaten out of most of us, this is hard work...
But I am sure it can be done...

@ Metak,

Your humour strikes again!

I could think of some more to add to your little scene, but in the interests of decorum...

You and TOM are right!
Yes, it is bad to focus on what could go wrong. I am asking the wrong question here...

But the reason I did ask this question (how does one divorce-proof one's marriage?) is... beleive it or not, as a result of reflecting on something Bellita once said on this blog...which is...what you resist, persists!

Divorce is so common nowadays that one can't help but say to oneself: if one gets married, what makes one so special that one won't end up with a divorce, like everyone else?
It seems like one needs a water-tight strategy to combat this ill of society...

But alas, you make me see now that this is the wrong appraoch.

One should view marriage as a long journey, no detours or rest breaks allowed.

Metak, I especially love the picture of marriage you present to us all.
May YOUR marriage one day be exactly as you describe.

(And of course the same for the rest of us who wish for the same).

metak said...

@ JV

To me, when two people decide to spend their lives together, they're married. No need to involve religion, government, contracts and all that... and the fact that there's no "recipe" for happy marriage, makes it so much more interesting! :-) Eat, f**k, love, laugh... says the crazy man watching the grass grow and still having the time of his life... :-)

@ ST

Yes, I have weird brain. I see funny stories and jokes almost everywhere.
There's a huge difference between "resist->persists" and "acknowledge it's existence->let it go".

Spacetraveller said...


"To me, when two people decide to spend their lives together, they're married. No need to involve religion, government, contracts and all that..."

Amen to that. (But I would argue that religion might be nice to keep :-)

"There's a huge difference between "resist->persists" and "acknowledge it's existence->let it go"."

Ok Sir.
You are right, of course. I tend to overthink things...