"If you break little promises you'll break big ones." -- The Road, Cormac McCarthy, p. 34
There may be perhaps no bigger promise in civil society than the vows of marriage. Yet people break that big promise all the time. If that wasn't true, I'd have a lot less work to do as a family law attorney. The truth is, it's sad that so many people divorce, since at its simplest root it represents people breaking their promise to one another.
If I could give advice to people on the front-end of their relationships, rather than at the tail-end of their marriages, it would probably include the quote above. Take good care to see if your partner breaks little promises; if so, then it makes you wonder about the big ones . . .
Yet we live in a selfish, do-what-ya-gotta-do society. Marriage requires less self-centeredness and more other-centeredness. But if a person is prone to selfishness -- because that's who they are or that's how they were raised or that's what society values and thus taught them to be -- then shouldn't it make perfect sense as to why divorce rates are so high = people are keeping their promise to themselves, but breaking their promise to one another. But it also explains why less people are getting married = whether subconsciously or not, many people don't want to make a promise that they know they cannot or will not keep.
So let's step back even farther. If there are more divorces (that is, more people breaking promises to each other) and less marriages in the first place (that is, less people making a promise to each other in the first place), then what does that say about our society's ability to make and keep promises??? In one word, what is happening to our integrity?
How do we fix this? What do we do? How do we move from a selfish culture to one that is more faithful (to God, to each other)?
And speaking of promises, we make one every time we're in Court. You've heard of the oath, right? "Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" Yet there are people who have no qualms lying in Court, even seconds after taking the oath. Again, where is our integrity? A person lies when their objective to get the result that they want is more important than their own reputation. In other words, selfishness. So we're back to the same negative analysis of society: selfish and results-oriented. The ends justify the means, no matter if one has to lie, cheat, or steal, or even kill. Is this the new American way?
Again, how do we fix this? How can we foster more integrity in our culture, among each other and especially with our youth? When will a promise mean something again in our society? Word is bond, right, or is that just a hip slang phrase and nothing more? Actions speak louder than words, yes, but does that necessarily have to mean that words have no value?