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Tuesday , 29 September 2020

LAPOINTE: The Broken Home fallacy

Divorce.

An unpleasant topic with a much larger place amongst the collective lexicon of our country than in days past.

The statistics can be surprising. For example, did you know that today the average age for someone to get their first divorce is 30 years old? Or that 38% of marriages in Canada have ended in divorce.

Could that have to do with our religious institutions having less influence over our daily lives? Nah, it’s definitely millennials being millennials. They can’t even hold down a job for more than five years much less make a marriage work – a veritable quote from someone over 50 (probably).

And you know what often goes hand in hand with divorce? Property, houses, credit card debt…oh yeah, there’s also kids and what to do with them.

Divorce sucks and talking about it usually isn’t any more enjoyable — misery loves company after all, but here’s a question to muse over — why is that when two people with kids split up the default response is “oh, what a bad thing”?

I’ll tell you what, living in two houses means you get two of everything — Christmases, birthdays, allowances. It’s the dream! And you never run into a situation where you ask your dad about something, only for him to say “go ask your mom” because they hate each other.

So why do we call it “a broken home,” especially when the Canadian Building Code states that foundations must be made of concrete? It must be one hell of a court proceeding to crack something like that.

(I don’t actually know if that’s part of the Building Code, so be lenient on me).

But in all seriousness, it’s a bit insulting to refer to such a situation as “broken” because it insinuates that those involved have been damaged by what’s happened, and like a broken plate ought to be put back together to function properly.

You know what fixed my home when my parents couldn’t stop arguing about how blue the sky was? A divorce.

Yet nearly 18 long years after the fact, people still get a pitiful look on their face when they find out my folks split up.

“It must have been hard for you to go through that at such a young age.”

“Do you ever wish they would have tried to work things out?”

“You must miss the feeling of being a family.”

No! Wrong, all wrong.

I barely remember a time when my parents were together when they weren’t bickering back and forth. Heck, my little sister can’t even remember them being married period, so what’s there to miss?

And work things out?

Puh-lease, my folks couldn’t be more opposite if they tried! One was a Canadiens fan and the other cheered for the Leafs — that’s just a recipe for disaster.

Feeling like a family?

That’s just downright rude because it doesn’t just refer to divorced families, but families with tragic or unfortunate circumstances. I have a great relationship with both my parents and step-father, and have never felt disconnected from either side of my family because of divorce.

What good was it doing me living in a single house filled with perpetual conflict versus two homes where two of the most important people in my life could co-exist from a distance? What kind of view would that give me of how a marriage is supposed to look and function?

I can see why passionate people use terms like “broken home” or are concerned by these trends — divorces do suck and problems will inevitably arise from them.

Millennials (read: young people that older people don’t like) get dragged through the mud over trivial manners plenty of times, but here I think the nail’s getting hit on the head. Too often a couple of young newlyweds hit a roadblock and the first instinct is to jump ship.

Divorce should be an option to remedy a bad situation, but not the first, and we should be careful of treating divorce like it’s “just a break up.” It really isn’t.

When my parents decided to bite the bullet and get lawyers involved, decide who got the house, make their grievances public, t and realize that, yes, I probably am letting my parents down, it was easily one of the most selfless, loving things they could have done for myself and my siblings.

Divorce is messy, unpleasant, and taxing, but it’s not an automatic tragedy that’s going to screw up the kids caught in the middle. Yes, there’s going to be problems somewhere along the way, but just because things may not be great doesn’t mean they’re terrible.

Today, my folks get together usually once or twice a year. Most times they’re friendly with each other, and I’ll admit it’s nice to see them get along. But what makes it nice is that it’s not fake or forced like it would be if they had decided to stick it out for our sake.

No kid wants to be the cause of their parents’ misery — they can see to that themselves.

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.