Should divorce be celebrated? Some people think that it should. Los Angeles entrepreneur Christine Gallagher has established a business, “The Divorce Party Planner”, and written a book of the same name, to meet the growing demand for post-divorce celebrations.
This cannot be a good thing.
Yesterday, CNN.com ran a story by Elizabeth Bougerol which covered this growing trend. In my opinion, the trend is also troubling; not because of the celebrations per se, but because of what is being celebrated.
Gallagher is quoted in the article as saying:
[Divorce is] part of life, and yet it’s the only major event for which we have no ritual. A celebration communicates that divorce is OK — life affirming, even.
Divorce should not be a part of life. It should be avoided at all cost. That begins with the beginning. Saying “I do” should be a life-time commitment, which means that one should not stand “before God and these witnesses” with just anyone. The reason this “major event” has no celebration ritual is because it has never before been viewed as a celebratory occasion. The dissolution of what was supposed to be a life-long relationship should be mourned, not exalted like the wedding itself. The above quote reveals this age’s mood regarding divorce: “it is OK — life affirming, even.”
Actually it is neither.
What does a divorce celebration look like. According to the CNN.com article, one size doesn’t fit all. Bougerol writes the following:
“Burning is big,” says Gallagher, who’s seen everything from wedding dresses to a husband’s trophy deer head go up in flames at divorce celebrations organized by her event-planning outfit. The parties — two or three per month –serve up signature cocktails with names like the So Long and the Sucker, split themed soundtracks (“Hit the Road, Jack” and “I Will Survive” are popular) and dartboards adorned with the ex’s face.
Sounds very cathartic, but not very helpful.
Not all the celebrations are “bash the ex” carnivals, and the article refers to a “wellness counselor” who stresses the need for “emotional recovery after divorce: forgiveness, of oneself and one’s ex.”
Forgiveness is good, but why wait until after the divorce? Can there not be forgiveness and reconciliation during the marriage? There should be.
This is not a post against people who are divorced. It is a post against the cultural mindset that views divorce as just another bump along the road of life; as just another event that should be celebrated. “Hey, thanks for coming to our wedding. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be sure to invite you to the divorce soiree.”