THE TRUTH ABOUT DIVORCE.
In January Psychic and Occult Views and Reviews the editor, M.T.C. Wing, presents a view of "Wives and Work" which is anything but an occult view of the subject. He evidently still clings to the old notion that man was made for the family, and not the family for man. He inveighs against George D. Herron and Elbert Hubbard et al because they permitted themselves to be separated from their wives. Apparently he thinks the chief end of man is to tote some woman around on a chip, and the fact that in his callow youth man picked out (or was picked out by) the wrong woman, cuts no figure in the matter. Man must keep on toting her even if he has to give up his life work by which he has been enabled to supply the chip, not to mention the other things the woman demands.
All of which is the very superficial view of the world at large, and has no place among new thought, "occult" teachings. It is entirely too obvious--to the old-fashioned sentimentalist, who is blind to the real facts in cases of separation.
The sentimentalist gets just two views of the family, and draws his hasty conclusions therefrom. He sees first a happy family, a charming, clinging little simpleton of a wife, with half a dozen or so infants clinging to her skirts and bosom, and her round eyes lifted in adorable helplessness to the face of that great, strong lord and master, her husband. In his second view of the family he beholds this strong man turn his back upon this adoring family and walk deliberately forth to self-gratification, leaving them to perish from hunger and grief. Fired with these pretty and entirely fanciful pictures the superficial observer burns with indignation and calls down anathema upon the head of the deserter.
The fact is that no man ever deserts a family under such conditions. There is always a long period of disintegration before any family goes to pieces--a period of which both man and wife are well aware. When a separation comes it is really a relief to both parties. The only real pain in such cases comes from the spirit of revenge, or a desire on the part of one or the other to pose as injured innocence, that she or he may rake in the sympathy and fire the indignation of just such uninformed friends as M.T.C. Wing.
I have known a lot of people who separated--known them intimately and observed them well. In not one of these cases did the deserted party claim to love the deserter. In all there was a real relief when it was all over. In every case the one thing which had held them together so long was fear of disgrace. "Oh, what will people think of me?"--is the first cry of everybody--especially women. It was that which made the deserted one unhappy and resentful. It is that which makes many women pose as injured innocents and rate the deserter as a villain. And all the time in secret they are glad, glad that they are relieved of the burden of living with an uncongenial husband or wife.
Of course there are other reasons why women hate to be left by their husbands. One is that their support is apt to go with the deserter.
Public opinion keeps many a family in the same house years after it really knows it is separated widely as the poles.
The dread of having to take care of herself keeps many a woman hanging like grim death to a man she knows she does not love, and who despises her.
The fear of public opinion and the love, not of money, but of ease, holds together under one roof tens of thousands of families who have been occultly and really separated for years.
A man is held by the same sentimental notion that M.T.C. Wing has--that he must "protect" the woman. So he stays in hell to do it. He has to stay in hell until she gets out.
In almost every one of these separation cases it is the woman and not the man, who gives the signal. In George D. Herron's case the wife offered to take a certain sum of money and release him from supporting her. He met her conditions--and bore all the odium like a man. To her credit be it said she did not pose as an injured woman. I know nothing about Elbert Hubbard's case, but I venture to say that if he and his wife are separated that she was the one who did the leaving act.
We hear a lot about the "Biblical reason" for divorce; but I say unto you that infidelity is no reason at all for divorce. The one just cause for separation is incompatibility of temper.
A man is an Individual; a woman is another Individual; and neither can make himself or herself over to please the other.
When two people from lack of similar ideals and aims cannot pull together the quicker they pull apart the better it will be for them--and the children, too.
I know well a couple who lived together long enough to have grown children. For nearly a score of years they pulled like a pair of balky horses--what time they were not doing the monkey and parrot act. The husband stayed out nights and tippled. The wife sat at home and felt virtuous. Finally the woman worked up spunk enough to do what she had been dying to do for years. She packed up and left. Now she is happily married to a man she can pull with, And he is married to another woman who pulls with him. She has quit feeling virtuous and he has quit tippling. They are both prospering financially. The children have two pleasant homes, and more educational and other advantages than they ever dared hope for. Everyone of the family is glad of that separation.
The family is an institution of man's own making. It is a good and glorious thing so long as it serves to increase the happiness and health of its members. But whenever the family institution has to be maintained at the expense of the life, liberty or happiness of its members it is time to lay that particular institution on the shelf.
What God does not hold together by LOVE let not man try to paste together by law.
One great cause of the increase of divorces is the financial emancipation of woman. Women can now get out and take care of themselves, where a few years ago they had to grin and bear it; or bear it without grinning.
If the new thought means anything, Brother Wing, it means that every individual man or woman, has the RIGHT to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness wherever and with whom he chooses to seek it, so long as he or she does not attempt to abridge the same rights for others. It means that a woman is as much an Individual as a man, and must stand or fall, hold her husband or lose him, on her own merits. The new thought deals with Individuals regardless of sex.
Marriage is a partnership, subject in the eyes of Justice to the same rules which govern other partnerships. Let us be just to the deserter, be he man or woman, before we are sentimentally generous to the deserted.
And don't let us be too sure that we know all the facts in these separation cases. It is human nature to fix up outward appearances for the benefit of the passer-by.
Seek rather to understand. Condemn not.
Has any one told you it is lucky to be married?
I hasten to inform you it is just as lucky to be divorced, and I know it.