Exploring how the zephyr of divorce has rocked the West, leading to a breakdown in moral sanctity.
Author’s Note: This post was authored by Jack, with input from NovaSeeker.
Length: 3,350 words
Reading Time: 12 minutes
I want to thank everyone who shared their personal stories about divorce under Parental Divorce Ruins Daughters’ Future Marital Commitment and Confidence (2021 February 24).
It seems like the majority of commenters (and probably many other lurking readers) have been exposed to divorce in some way. Sharing our stories helps us gain some context (at least for me).
The prevalence of divorce has been a societal zephyr that first hit the Boomers in large numbers. This zephyr has cast a shadow over Gen Xers, and this shadow has stretched over the successive generations on down. This post contains my personal testimony about my own experience of parental divorce, some related comments, and other musings.
It is not helpful for this to become an exercise in blame, self-pity, or to form a narrative of victimization, but nevertheless it is important to understand how things happened and the present consequences of the modeled behaviors of prior generations. The purpose is for us to grieve over the losses and come to terms with the present maladies.
This song from Pink Floyd came out while I was in high school (1988). I believe it has a prophetic message that we can only now comprehend.
I remember when I was in middle school (early 80s), there was a lot of talk about the new generation. People couldn’t figure out what to call our generation. We had no defining stereotypical features of a generation (at that time). We all felt lost, fearful, aimless, and many felt hopeless. But as naïve, energetic adolescents, we weren’t very well aware of this. Older folks (mostly Boomers) thought we were a mystery, so we carelessly got stuck with the generic label, Generation X. Over time, we accepted this moniker.
Looking back on life, I see that the advent of divorce and “latch-key parenting” during our childhood (70s and 80s) was a significant contributor to this spiritual malaise – much more than anyone could imagine at that time.
The previous generation of the Nomad type (according to the Strauss Howe Generational Theory) was called “The Lost Generation”. This generation, born between 1883-1900, came of age during World War I, the first mechanized steam punk war before modern medicine — that was in many ways, the worst war ever. Many felt “that ‘the flower of youth’ and the ‘best of the nation’ had been destroyed. The Lost Generation was literally lost due to war, but Generation X was lost in a more figurative sense — cast into existentialism because of the parental divorce epidemic.
The Shadow Over X was Cast by Zephyr D
Last year, Scott told us a memorable story, How I discovered that I wanted to be married (2020 April 27). In this post, he describes the peace and joy surrounding a happily married couple, and how this home environment transcended the eternal. I also had glimpses of this during my childhood (and I assume many readers did as well). One of my closest friends was my pastor’s son, and I experienced this whenever I visited his home. But overall, it always seemed like a phenomenon that hit me at odd, unpredictable moments. I had no idea what it was, nor why I experienced this peace. I know I am not alone in being clueless. To many of us, a story like Scott’s seems surreal, as though it were a dream. Only after I was nearing 30 did I realize that this was the presence and glory of God — a blessing over the home of a spiritually obedient husband and wife. I was confused about this because, this is not unique to Christians. Scott states that the couple he knew were not Christians, and I grew up in a Christian home, but I never experienced this.
Realizing this made me very angry. I had the impression that all of life is a carnival of pleasures for those who had gained an inner sense of security from growing up in a home like this. But for some reason unknown to me, I was utterly excluded from this joy. Worse, I had no idea how I might achieve this for myself, and all my prayers and Bible reading did nothing to budge my spiritual position.
I am 49 years old today. Only within the past couple years have I come to understand that the peace and joy which I’ve always been missing is the result of a Headship marital structure between two good-willed people who have shared values. It is too late for me to seek after this abundance now. All I can do is insist on as much Headship as my wife is willing to accept, trusting God that she’ll eventually “get it”. Every day, I have to brace myself for the possibility that she won’t, and that I may very well go through another divorce if she digs in her heels. I feel sad that my children must endure this same vacuum of joy and insecurity that I had to endure. The only positive aspect is that I am now in a position to give them some insights and forewarnings about the generational curse of divorce, based on my own experiences.
The Children of Divorce Feel Unloved
We have the nebulous assumption that the transformation of the SMP is a result of the Sexual Revolution. This is obviously true, but if I were to put a finger on the one factor that perpetuates the “Free Love” attitude of the Sexual Revolution, I would say it is because the shadow of divorce leaves the young generations in the dark. It cut them off from the blessings of obedience, and created a “hole in the soul” which led them to search for love and meaning through sexual liaisons.
Essentially, when sex became “free”, and No Fault Divorce put an easily revolving door on marriage, these things lost all their value. When parents reduce the value of the metaphysical qualities that are inherent in marriage and sex, and spent them on their own pleasures and conveniences, the spiritual inheritance is then passed off as worthless, leaving nothing for the children. This follows the archetype of Esau, who sold his inheritance for a bowl of lentils (Genesis 25:29-34), and was cursed as godless (Hebrews 12:15-17), and his descendants were destroyed (Jeremiah 49:10).
Divorce Defiles the Children
If you’ve been around the Manosphere for a sufficient amount of time, you will have learned that the path of defilement is how most men enter into the Red Pill world – their Blue Pill sanctified ways of life, no matter how filled with BP lies they might be, become defiled through adultery or divorce, which is prevalent in today’s culture, and they are forced to rethink everything they believe about life, sex, marriage, and women. It is only then, they realize that those BP beliefs are lies which proved to be their undoing.
This same transmogrification happens to children when they experience parental divorce. But children don’t have the life experience to give them any perspective on their metanoia. They also don’t have the social support needed to weather the storm, since it is the parents who introduced this catastrophe.
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head —Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.Ephesians 4:14-16 (NKJV)
The Bible describes this as a transgression.
17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”Galatians 2:17-21 (NKJV)
Another way to describe a transgression is when one jumps from one set of values and beliefs to another.
Divorce forces children into transgression because it introduces doubts about marriage, family, love, forgiveness, and a host of other spiritually fundamental issues.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.James 1:5-8 (NKJV)
The adult who is double-minded needs to be healed and made whole from the self-inflicted damage they have undergone. They must kill the other ungodly (false) personality that has been given influence over their thinking. Then and only then will they experience real stability and lasting change.
Children, on the other hand, have a more difficult and tortuous path towards healing, because they don’t know what went wrong, nor what they have been missing in their lives, nor what to do about it. This process is complicated by the fact that the sin is generational, and the damage is not apparent until much later in life. In the meantime, they are forced to wander in the wilderness of the world, searching for identity, love, meaning, purpose… – all the spiritual nutrients they failed to receive from the family as children. The time spent wandering is time lost in the sense that it is consumed with existential soul searching and is not used towards making any progress in life. Most never make a full recovery, while others are left to wander until they die in the wilderness.
Stumbling around in the Darkness of the Shadow
In Data on Marriage and how No Fault Divorce turned marriage into a revolving door. (2020 October 30), I discussed how No Fault Divorce legislation (ca. 1970) transformed marriage from a covenantal institution into a social transaction. It ostensibly reduced the value of marriage while it simultaneously offered the tangible benefits of financial savings, living conveniences, and the self-styled entertainment of “playing house”. Without the sense of permanency offered by a life-time commitment, marriage is essentially playing house with a revolving door.
A serious downstream effect of divorce is that the increased sexual promiscuity and divorce of previous generations has dramatically undermined the faith and confidence of younger generations, leading to yet more sexual promiscuity and divorce. This creates a cycle that essentially constitutes the dynamics of a generational curse. Previous generations have failed to “pass the torch” of maintaining the sanctification of sex, marriage, and family, thereby abandoning younger generations in the fallout effect.
I know what this spiritual confusion and purposelessness is like from experience. To put it into my own words, I’ll describe it like this. A person’s relationship with one’s father is an archetype of one’s relationship with God. A person’s relationship with one’s mother is an archetype of one’s relationship with humanity. When mother and father divorce, then it splits the soul, rendering the psychological separation of God and human life. God cannot then be experienced through social interactions, and social interactions have no spiritual significance. Hence, the double-mindedness.
The transgressions that result from the spiritual confusion and double-mindedness of enduring parental divorce are evident. My youngest sister was a model straight A student up until the time my parents divorced when she was 14 years old, which I’ll add, is the worst time of any to experience parental divorce. As soon as the zephyr’s shadow fell, she started smoking and drinking, and then plunged into a lifestyle of casual drug use and promiscuity. She barely graduated from high school. Now on her third marriage, she has sworn off ever having children.
I was 22 at that time, and already on my own. But it still had the effect of throwing me into an episode of depression which lasted over a year, and insomnia which continues to this day. I gave up on the idea of pressing towards my long held hope of marriage for a time, which was a time when I should have been capitalizing on the opportunities that college offered in this arena of life.
The Continuation of the Family is Lost
Feeriker gives us a description of how parents have not supported and guided their children towards life in the spirit.
“I remember Scott having posted something a couple of years or so ago, I believe it was on Dalrock’s blog, to the effect that he and Mychael would be very willing to give assistance to any God-fearing, hardworking, motivated young son-in-law who married his daughter, or to one of his sons and his bride, to help them get on their feet and get economically viable as a family. This clearly is recognition of the fact that economic self-sufficiency for the young is much harder to obtain today than it was in the past due to the changes (or more accurately, corruption) in our modern economy and that if young family formation IAW God’s ideal is the goal, then it’s going to mean that the young couple’s entire family will have to contribute as a family to help make it happen (gosh, imagine that: families nurturing and caring for their own. Who came up with that heinous idea? /S).
This, methinks, is one major unstated reason why young family formation in in the modern “Christian” west is so rare. Parents have to be deeply involved not only in raising their children in God’s ways when they’re young, but providing biblically sound wisdom and guidance to them as they enter the world of late adolescence and adulthood, one of the most challenging and terrifying times for young adults as they face the challenges of the “real world” for the first time.
Unfortunately for these young people, this is also the time when most western (especially American) “Christian” parents, who are deeply wedded to and committed to THE CULTURE’S life script, decide that they’re done raising kids and do everything they can to eject them out of the nest and out of their lives, to sink or swim in the wider world as best they can survive it. Let them make their own way in the world and sort it out for themselves. What God wants for families (as Jack enumerates in the OP) is the farthest thing from the churchian mind. Indeed, it’s doubtful that any of them have ever even read, much less pondered or absorbed any of the relevant verses. Having to do things the Lord’s way is just too risky in terms of having to remove their best foot from the World that is their first love and involves too much work. “I raised’em from birth! Now you want me to mentor’em in adulthood? Are you NUTS?!”
This goes a long way toward explaining the state of the western “Christian” family today. God appears to have decided that if we’re determined to not do things His way, then He’s going to let us reap the bitter fruits of doing it our way.”
What Ed Hurst wrote about in his post, A Full-Blown Apocalypse (2021 February 13), and which was quoted in NovaSeeker’s last post, The Sexual Market IS the Marriage Market (2021 February 22), keeps coming back to my mind.
“By the time we have come to this understanding of faith, we would be too old for a clean first marriage that produces children. The faith community can’t get started because the members have to pass through a hellish landscape of immoral relationships first.
And that’s what they pass through when they start out in churches!”
The Church was Inefficacious, if not Deleterious
It is common for young people to fall away from the church for a time. But over the past few decades, this life phase has been augmented and extended, with fewer people ultimately returning to the church.
“The response of the church to this issue has been to look the other way.
Essentially the church, and parents, meander between (1) denying that their kids are having sex between puberty and marriage in the late 20s/early 30s and (2) accepting that they do, but minimizing the sinfulness of it, given its ubiquity in the culture, and the fact that most married couples around them fornicated themselves prior to marriage (and in almost all cases prior to fornicating with the person they married, as well). The church therefore either denies that the problem exists, or it chooses to look the other way, quietly, and not say much about what it knows is happening but refuses to discuss. That way, the “doctrine on the books” can remain the same as is, despite the de facto practice — which is looking the other way in the face of mass fornication — and things go on per our regularly scheduled programming.
The variant of “I advocate getting married at 22 instead of 27” is a fallback position, but it’s still a fantasy. Even if it were locked in stone that a child of either sex would marry by 22, which it isn’t, there’s still a LOT of fornicating going on, especially in that 18-22 period. And, in many cases, 22 quickly becomes 25 due to grad school, post-graduate internships, travel, and the other fabulousness that mid-20s Americans who are college educated tend to engage in, and the higher up the pole the merrier it gets. But either way, whether it’s 22 (rare) or 25 or 27 the issue is the same, and the difference is merely one of degree (pardon the pun). Once they’re loose in this culture, it’s game on, and everyone knows it.”
Among all these worldly distractions, the basic truths about male-female relationships, and especially how to implement them effectively, were left in the dust. Perhaps this was evident to those who grew up in an intact family, but to those who suffered under the shadow of the zephyr, it was totally non-existent. Instead, pop-psyche variations of Therapeutic Moralistic Deism sprang up to fill this void.
Overall, the church drifted from being mindful of what God is most concerned about, to focusing on our own self interests (what we are most concerned about), to chasing after the things of this world (e.g. the Feminist Life Script, individualism, materialism…). BigChurch was the trailblazer.
Upon reflection, it may be apparent to the reader by now, that when a society loosens its sexual norms, the associated “liberation” is not only depravity, but it is also the destruction of sanctity. It would be more fitting and accurate, from a Christian perspective, to rename “the Sexual Revolution” as “the Defilement Rebellion”.
- Σ Frame: Forgiveness – The biggest obstacle in overcoming my parent’s divorce (2010 March 3)
- Σ Frame: The U.S. Census Bureau sanctions Divorce (2020 January 25)
- Σ Frame: Female Divorce Lawyer Stands for Fatherhood (2020 November 24)
- The Antemodernist: Making Excuses for God (2020 December 20)