There has to be a moment in the life of every divorced person when that thought hasn't hit them with the force of a shallowly buried hysteria.
A.N. Wilson describes the invisible cost of the sexual revolution:
The divorce statistics tell another miserable story. About one third of marriages in Britain end in divorce. And because many couples do not marry at all before splitting up, the number of broken homes is even greater.
This time of year is when the painfulness of family break-up is felt most acutely. January 3 has been nicknamed ‘divorce day’ by lawyers. In a moving article in the Mail recently, Lowri Turner, a twice-divorced mother of three children, wrote about the pain of waking up on Christmas morning without her children. She looks at the presents under the tree, with no children to open them, and thinks: ‘This isn’t the way things are supposed to be.’
Every parent who has been through the often self-inflicted hell of divorce will know what she means.
So will the thousands of children this Christmas who spent the day with only one parent — and often with that parent’s new ‘partner’ whom they hate.
I hold up my hands. I have been divorced. Although I was labelled a Young Fogey in my youth, I imbibed all the liberationist sexual mores of the Sixties as far as sexual morality was concerned.
I made myself and dozens of people extremely unhappy — including, of course, my children and other people’s children. I am absolutely certain that my parents, by contrast, who married in 1939 and stayed together for more than 40 years until my father died, never strayed from the marriage bed.
There were long periods when they found marriage extremely tough, but having lived through years of aching irritation and frustration, they grew to be Darby and Joan, deeply dependent upon one another in old age, and in an imperfect but recognisable way, an object lesson in the meaning of the word ‘love’.
In 1957, 52 per cent said they were ‘very happy’. By 2005, the same set of questions found only 36 per cent were ‘very happy’, and the figures are falling.Back in the Fifties, GfK National Opinon Poll conducted a survey asking how happy people felt on a sliding scale — from very happy to very unhappy.
More than half of those questioned in the GfK’s most recent survey said that it was a stable relationship which made them happy. Half those who were married said they were ‘very happy’, compared with only a quarter of singles.
The truth is that the Sexual Revolution had the power to alter our way of life, but it could not alter our essential nature; it could not alter the reality of who and what we are as human beings.