Selfies and Divorce in the Digital Age

Selfies and Divorce in the Digital Age

“It may not be happy newlyweds, but a “happily divorced” couple that shouts out their divorce with a picture of themselves”

Divorce is one of the ugliest words in the English language. Its specter haunts countless marriages. For the divorced couple, it is often a constant source of stress and financial strain. It marks affected children the rest of their lives.

Divorce was not frequent in times past. In fact, the stigma of divorcing saved many a marriage that later worked out well.

The Evolving Face of Divorce

In 1917, the American divorce rate was about 1 in 1,000. Because it was a cause of great social scandal, this rate was maintained well into the twentieth century among the general population. This changed, however, with the introduction of no-fault divorce.

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No-fault divorce (divorce without grounds) was first introduced into the modern world in 1917. Until that time, marriage was largely seen as an indissoluble union throughout the West. The practice really gained momentum with the outbreak of the Sexual Revolution of the sixties. Many states—starting with California—adopted no-fault divorce at that time. Within two years of its introduction, divorce rates increased nearly six times over. Much of the stigma surrounding divorce was lessened by no-fault divorce. At its zenith, half of all marriages ended in divorce. For some, divorce and remarriage became like trading in a car. It became an unfortunate fact of life.

This could especially be seen in members of Generation X (those born from 1961-1981). Many of these children of the baby boomers decided to opt out of the institution entirely or cohabitate. Although among those who did stably marry, they recorded the lowest rate of divorce in almost forty years.

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This may be changing with the millennials.

“Shout Your Divorce”

Millennials comes from the age of the internet, smart gadgets, and social media. Many have found a tragic expression of the breakdown of marriage in a new trend called the divorce selfie. It is exactly what it sounds like.

When surfing the web, a person might come across a picture of a smiling couple with thick-rimmed glasses in front of a courthouse. It may not be happy newlyweds, but a “happily divorced” couple that shouts out their divorce with a picture of themselves on Facebook.

In an article on ATTN, Marie Frenette, a millennial divorcee notes, “We saw an article on BuzzFeed [a popular web site for millennials] about the divorce selfie and thought, ‘wow, what a positive and empowering way to deal with it. Not hiding, not feeling shame.’”

A Potential Threat

The article reports on over 500 Instagram posts in which couples posted their photos under the hashtag “#DivorceSelfie.” The American Psychological Association has even encourages the “divorce selfie” as a benefit to involved children since it appears to reduce the friction between the divorcees.

Far from being a harmless fad, this trend banalizes divorce and further erodes the institution of the family. Divorce becomes something to celebrate as the two former spouses “continue separately on their life’s journey.”

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Such developments are hardly surprising since it follows in the line of so many other marriage-destroying practices like contraception, abortion and similar aberrations. At the root of it all is a desire to destroy all restraint.

Resisting the Urge to Retreat


That is why it is all the more important to resist such trends and avoid the temptation to retreat in face of the latest phases of the sexual revolution. All society is engaged in a culture war and like it or not, everyone has a role to play.

Perhaps a counter-trend of posting anniversary pictures with positive commentaries on marriage would be in order. As the old saying goes, one should “fight fire with fire.”

  • scarlette6

    I’m so tired of the word “empowering”. You can usually insert “shameful” and it would be more accurate.

  • FreedoomFrank

    Very simple, divorce is a fault of hardened hearts, there is no such thing as no fault divorce, its just the legal lingo used to say what God has joined together now man will seperate. God is not pleased, infact God has a word about this behavior, WRATH! Just as with abortion, murder, fornication and on and on the celebrated sin goes. Surrender to Christ Jesus alone to be cleansed of this wickedness, to be forgiven by His blood shed and His body broken on that cross for the sins of the world. You can break God’s Law and in the end you will be broken upon His Law.

  • kcthomas

    Only real love ,that is will to sacrifice for the other, can save marriage. First one should learn what is love( read 1Cor 13) and then only utter the words “I love you”

  • Andy

    When I married in front of family, friends and most importantly, God, I pronounced those traditional marriage vows meaning every word. No crossing my fingers behind my back. I didn’t have a mindset in which I thought “I’ll give this 3 years and if it is for me, I’ll stay”. I consider myself a man of my word and will do what I said I will do. My wife has suffered from depression for the last 14 years, a real cross for all of us to bear. I’m not leaving. “…in sickness and in health…”
    She has suffered through some lean financial years. Though God provides, I felt like a failure as a breadwinner for my family. She didn’t leave me. “…for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse…”
    The “D-word” is not in my vocabulary. I look forward to sharing a life together, growing old together “…from this day forward till death do us part.”
    This is the legacy we can give to our children. To raise them in a loving, intact family. Naturally speaking, the best gift I can give my children is the selfless love I give to my wife, their mother.

    • Mary Bryant

      WOW! I am impressed! I always thought women “hung in there!”
      God bless you, Andy and your family. With that kind of attitude and mind set, you will make it!

  • Jose Cisneros

    I think this is a very good article. When I got married it was till death do us part, but my wife choose to divorce me without cause, (no fault divorce). I do not see my self as having committed adultry, but am conflicted can I re-marry and not commit adultry. I think the coming of the Lord is coming soon and I do not want to lose my place in heaven and the bible is clear that adultters will not inherit the kingdom of God

    • Andy

      I am sorry for the suffering you must have gone through in your wife leaving you. Always a difficult situation. There are no winners in divorce. Normally remarriage after divorce is not possible. Perhaps there is some circumstance that invalidates your marriage. It is best to speak to a good priest or other competent moral theologian. You may have options you were unaware of. Either way, it is best to know the truth.

      • KareemAbdul

        The marriage may not have been valid. Speak to a priest about annulment but live chaste until then. In God’s eyes, you’re married.

        Go to confession if you’ve violated the 6th Commandment.

        God bless

      • Helen

        There is a winner in divorce. It is not the husband or wife. It is the lawyers. They are the winners because they make money out of it. My parents were divorced and I never want to get divorced.

        • Carmen Villalba

          Same as you, Helen. A few years ago, I was literally kind of TERRIFIED of getting married. I considered the religious life mainly because I didn’t want to get divorced and not be able to receive Communion (im now open to the religious life but also to marriage 😀 ) I thought that since half of marriages end in divorce it was out of my control. I was so wrong! I’ve since learned many things such as standards, chastity, oxitocin, NFP not birth control, etc that help us to stay in a lifelong marriage. Of course there is always abuse which I understand and the wife ( & children) should get somewhere safe, but there are other factors and rules regarding romantic relationships after. Now I’m actually pretty excited for marriage (or whatever vocation God calls me too). I’m only 15 so I got time! To all you single ladies out there, I recommend the book Written in the Sand and Stars by Anabelle Hazard. It’s a pure and true love story that fills you with hope and keeps your eyes on heaven. I recently attended a chastity talk by Jason Evert and that informed me a lot. Marriage is something beautiful, and while I don’t think stigma is what should hold your marriage together (God, love, & perseverance should), I don’t think divorces should be celebrated! I want a good, faithful man who will love me and I love him until death (no, forever – we will try our hardest to lead each other to heaven). Someone who will love me as Jesus loves the Church. Someone who will want my good over his own, and I want to will his good over my own! (Aka LOVE)
          God bless,
          Carmen

    • mememe123

      1Corintians :15 says if one is the abandoned party in a divorce, that person is free to remarry. Sounds like you were abandoned, therefore you would not be adulterous if you were to remarry. Look it up and discuss with your pastor if you like.

      • Patrick Pasqual

        I too have always believed in the marriage vows. So, when my wife after a long depression and putting my sons and I through a living nightmare decided to leave us,( She left me for another guy). I was able to obtain an annulment and re-married a wonderful women. i couldn’t be happier. I spoke to some priests and they kept asking me why i stayed married to my 1st wife for so long. So, in some cases, divorce is the only answer and can lead to a much happier life not just for myself but, for my sons as well.

        • mememe123

          Right you are….I didn’t realize this was a Catholic thread though,(I now see priest and confession all over the place!) so my biblical reference is point is misplaced! Regardless, Catholic or Baptist, you were left, which set you free! I am happy for you 🙂

          • Sean

            The Bible is never misplaced. It is Perfect Truth. God bless

      • ggonzalez435

        You are wrong in your personal translation of this verse. Please refer to the link below. Jesus cannot contradict the teaching “til death do us part” also read Ephesians. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/683-what-is-the-meaning-of-not-under-bondage-1-cor-7-15

        • mememe123

          I respectfully disagree. I have heard many respected theologians interpret this statement this way. Only Catholics do not recognize it. I did not realize this was a catholic thread when. I first commented. While I respect your right to follow Catholic teaching, I do not.

          • KareemAbdul

            “Only Catholics”. Not sure how you intend “only” but the majority of Christians on the planet (a billion out of 7 billion people) form a larger number than all christian cults including the 35,000 protestant sects… combined.

            They need to get back to Christ’s bride, the Church.

            God bless you in discerning this. You may wish to stumble also upon Dr. Scott Hahn, Trent Horn, Peter Kreft et al.

          • Julid

            And respectfully I must say to you Mememe123, that you are a case in point! Protestants and their schism from the Catholic church 500 years ago was do to them thinking, just like you do, that you know better and that the Catholic way is just too difficult a row to hoe. They then come up with ways to justify their desire for schism. Our teachings had been successfully in place for 1500 years and had come directly from the teachings of Jesus Christ himself, it is the deposit of faith of the one and only Holy Catholic (universal) Church.

            Look what the fruits of the schism or “Protestant Reformation” have produced…..over 30,000 different denominations because someone thought THEY knew better! Then comes watered down Christianity, contraception, abortion, the breakdown of the family, unrepentant homosexuality, confused gender identity, and on it goes. A protestant Sunday service is nothing more than adult Sunday school. Where is the reverence, the liturgy, the holiness, the Eucharist?

            I have found that what most Protestants think they “know” about Catholicism is way, way off. Currently the backlash from Protestants
            goes something like, “Look at how corrupt the Catholic Church is with all the pedophilia and homosexuality”. And yes, that is true, and what would be the cause of it? A war waged on Truth by none other than the great deceiver and father of lies himself, Satan. Of course he is going to spend a good deal of his resources detracting people from Truth! The Catholic church has been intentionally infiltrated by homosexuals and communists to break it down, but they will not and cannot succeed! The Catholic church is the original Christian church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!! It has survived 2000 years of attacks and will continue to survive until Our Lord comes again!

          • mememe123

            Jesus did not start the Catholic Church. You don’t have to consult with a priest to receive the free gift of forgiveness and everlasting life- the blood of Jesus paid it all. No Hail Marys are necessary.
            As for corruption in the Catholic Church, well that’s nothing new. The papacy has been riddled with corruption for centuries!
            At my Baptist church, we pray, we sing hymns and read the King James Bible. We do have the Lords Supper (do this in MEMORY of me), but not weekly. Of course transubstantiation is not part of it. The priest does not wave his hands and turn wafers into skin and juice into blood ( thank goodness) Jesus doesn’t want us to be cannibals.
            Actually Catholic is pretty easy- do what you want all week, go to confession Saturday , Mass on Sunday, rinse and repeat. And hope you don’t die on Friday when you’ve go a week worth of sins stacked up.
            And I do know this as I was raised Catholic. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I went to Catholic Church again. I read and studied the Bible and came to the conclusion that Catholicism isn’t where it’s at. I have since been baptized by immersion, like Jesus, as a public profession of faith.
            I do wish you all the best – I’m off to Wed service now!

          • Julid

            I am sincerely sorry you had such a rotten “Catholic” upbringing. Whether it was due to your parent’s neglectful Catholicism or you just happened to be going to a very poorly Catholic Catholic parish, you’ve got it ALL wrong. Your understanding is not how it is. There is so much more than what you think you know and understand. Please find an authentically orthodox Catholic parish and priest and have a long talk about all your misunderstandings. I promise you will be so glad you did!

          • mememe123

            Thank you for the respectful discussion! I just may do that.
            And it was the 1970’s….

          • mememe123

            Hello- I have spent a lot of time the last month listening to Catholic radio and on the Catholic Answers web site. Today I went to Confession for the first time in over 35 years. I am still not in agreement of the church about , for instance evolution. I believe the literal creation from Genesis and that’s it , whereas chuch teaching allows for evolution; I am also not convinced of the perpetual virginity of Mary. I told that to the priest. He welcomed me back to the Church

          • Julid

            You don’t know how happy that makes me to hear all this!! And you are correct in your understanding of evolution! Whatever source you read or heard from about the Church’s stance is wrong. Do take the Bible literally!

            As far as the perpetual virginity of Mary goes….do you really think that a man like holy Joseph when knowing that Mary gave birth to the son of his holy God would dare to trespass on a pure vessel, the new tabernacle, who is Mary Most Holy?? I don’t think so! He must have worshipped the ground she walked on….how could he have done anything else?

            I am so humbled that you wrote to me about your reconciliation. Thank you for this gift….you made my day!!!

      • Heistheone

        That actually comes from 1 Cor., chapter 7. But being free to remarry comes only in only two particular circumstances. The circumstance in 1 Cor. 7 allows remarriage only if the party who leaves is unbaptized. It is known as the Pauline principle, as it was proposed by St. Paul. The other circumstance is given by Jesus in the Gospels. Jesus said that a marriage can be ended in the case of pornaeia, which means a blood relationship which is too close for a lawful marriage (consanguinity). Protestants have translated “pornaeia” into “fornication” or “adultery,” neither of which Jesus actually said. In all other circumstances outside of the Pauline principle and of consanguinity, an annulment is needed before a lawful remarriage can take place.

        • mememe123

          Again- my apologies for commenting on a Catholic thread. I believe the Bible literally not the Catholic Church; however I respectfully acknowledge your right to follow church teachings. God bless all of you Catholics

          • squishee

            So illogical. So sad. It is the Church that defined the Bible 1700 years ago. She pre-exists the Bible. How can the Bible be greater than the one from whom it is issued?

          • mememe123

            No need to be condescending. There is nothing “sad” about a literal interpretation of the Bible.

          • Julid

            Catholics ‘literally’ interpret the Bible too. After all, they are the ones that wrote it and carried the deposit of the Christian faith before it was written. In fact, that is where “tradition” comes from which is also a deposit of the faith.

            Mememe123, I believe Squishee’s “so sad” comment was meant sincerely as a way of saying that you are missing out on the fullness of the Christian faith by not allowing for tradition as well as the Bible to guide you in your Christian walk. If you research and study the origins of the Christian faith this will become self evident.
            The followering of “Bible only” teaching is only about 500 years old. Before that it was only the “Catholic” Christian religion. It is the original church!

          • Heistheone

            The Catholic Church follows the literal interpretation of the Bible in regard to marriage. Non-Catholics do not.

          • mememe123

            Where in the Bible does it say fill out an annulments application and the Archdiocese will get back to you?

          • Julid

            Dear mememe123, God hates divorce. As a protestant you should know that Catholics have historically had a much lower divorce rate than protestants. There are certain grounds that allow for divorce, such as fraud and mental abnormalities. These grounds must be presented to a tribunal and considered by using canon law for an annulment to be granted, they are not automatically given. Certainly even you would not think a person would be in a valid marriage if that person were to find out that the person they thought they married had married them under fraudulent circumstances, would you?

          • mememe123

            But the Bible says divorce and remarriage is allowable when deserted or when your spouse is an adulterer. If you choose to leave your spouse under other circumstances you are to remain single.
            That’s not my opinion- that’s the Bible.

          • Julid

            That is true, but has nothing to do with my reply to you.

          • mememe123

            I did not address the tribunal and all because there is no need for the bureaucracy!

          • Julid

            There is a difference between a divorce and an annulment. They are different things given for different reasons.

    • ggonzalez435

      You can look into an annulment if you are Catholic.

    • Robert J Fritz

      Jose, I went through the same thing with my first marriage , It hurt because I felt it was directed on my failure to save the marriage. I talked to several priests who were helpful . I settled on one particular priest who was very understanding , He knew it was not my fault or intention and guided me through the annulment process . It took almost two yrs , but the annulment was finally granted . I made some nominal fee less than a hundred dollars but no payment is required if you cannot afford it. If you try and are turned down because you can not afford what they ask , persevere and rest assured the Lord understands and will guide you . Before my annulment I met a wonderful young lady , Grace , 21 yrs of age , who was as innocent and pure as new fallen snow. She understood what I had gone through and that I had a 2yr old child. Her mother was not so understanding and would not agree with any plans we had, She even threatened me if I did not break off the relationship . I told her I would never leave Grace until she said she did not love me and wanted me to leave. I treated her with utmost respect and she agreed to go to her parish priest and talk this out .. By this time her mother had ordered her out of the house and we explained that she was staying with me until we could properly get married . He said that we were doing everything we could to avoid a negative incident and relationship . He spoke to the mother as well. Her mother stayed adamant but her father was more cooperative. To make a long story short, We were married in a quiet ceremony and with in 6 months , even her mother had come to accept our marriage . That was all 45 yrs ago . We now have two additional sons together and 5 wonderful grand children . I would like to suggest 2 things , Always stay in touch with your X if there are children involved . Do what ever you can to keep your children’s life as normal as possible and resist the desire to criticize your X . Concentrate , instead , on being positive and loving . Your children , like mine , will grow up with love from both parents and an additional mother as well. And trust me , they will find out what they want to know as they mature , No one can hide from your past. And Jose , if you haven’t already started . “Get out and mingle as if you were single” , because you are . There are many places you can go to meet people and of course there is internet dating , which was not available at the time of my divorce . however . I would be very careful with internet dating . Anyway , You have a whole new life ahead of you . Choose wisely and don’t short change yourself . there is someone for everybody out there and remember , beauty is in the eye of the beholder . We are all much much more than our looks . A loving caring person is very hard to resist , I hope you find your Grace . God Bless you , Rob423 if you would care to talk or respond- e-mail at robertjfritz423@gmail.com

      • Julid

        Robert Fritz, Jose is NOT single if he was married in the Catholic church and does not have an annulment. You are very wrong about that. He should NOT go out and “mingle as if he were single”.

        Your experience with that priest validating your relationship and your living with Grace before you were annulled and married to Grace was also completely wrong! You can try to rationalize it any which way you want but it is still wrong. Priests have been known to give bad advice.

    • Louis

      You dont loose your place in heaven over remarrying. God knows your heart and He knows you didnt want to divorce. I think you are free to remarry. When the Bible talks about “not remarrying”, its referring to divorcing your spouse cause you dont “like” them or “feel attracted” to them and now you want someone “better”.

  • David

    “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part”

  • Castellano

    We are celebrating our 46th anniversary this year. There were some rough times in our marriage, (but never unfaithfulness), now our love for one another has grown. I pray for all couples. That their commitment to marriage will be unbreakable.

  • Lou Soileau

    Denise and I have never considered anything but life-long commitment. We have only fidelity among our parents and grandparents and beyond. Our children understand that our marriage is centered not on each other but in our Catholic Faith, in God. This is not our doing. This is God’s work and we thank Him daily.

  • Frances O’Dair

    Science discovered the bonding hormones which bind a man and woman for life. The desire for each other evolve into a deep need for each other to remain together. Sexual intimacy emits two hormones in both the male and female. This process allows for a balancing or complementing of a man’s inherent physical aspect and a woman’s feminine aspect which is inherently responsive to the emotional need of the male. Once this binding occurs, the man and woman are literally bound to each other. It is at this stage of a relationship that the in-love stage begins to evolve into a life-long process of growing in love together. When a person commits adultery, they are never truly separated from their partner. That partner will forever be present in sexual encounters or relationships. God does His part in binding a man and woman in marriage. It is left to the couple to evoke the will to truly commit our hearts, minds and souls to each other for our lifetimes, so we learn to reflect the relationship which exists in the Father and Son. Our Covenant with God, in marriage, involves a purposeful desire and need to have His blessing.

  • Louis Boo

    And most of these issues have occurred since the destruction of the Catholic church with the implementation of Vatican II. “When the shepherd is stuck the sheep are scattered”.

  • Karen

    Why in the world ANYONE would celebrate a failed marriage is beyond me…

  • Dan Holloway

    I have been “well” married since 1974 to a woman I adore because she is my bride for life, and
    because the one true God is the king of our heart, and
    because we have “raised” each other, and
    because we have shared many trials and blessing on blessing on blessing together, and
    because she is my beautiful co-worker of our mutual life, and
    because we have been given the priceless gifts of fine children and grandchildren, and
    because my parents and brothers all experienced the bitter consequences of divorces – and
    so I learned why God “hates” divorce (He wants “godly children” to come from marriages – Mal 2:10-16).

  • Phil Alcoceli

    In a world were Demonic Infantilism is celebrated, the resistance to be a committed, mature adult is celebrated and the failure that comes with it. No wonder babies are murdered in the womb. Adult babies don’t want competition or the actual babies to remind them that they need to grow up. Praise to God in the committed one man-one woman couples and the true adults they bring forth!! Now that’s a huge blessing to all humanity and all Creation!! The most true, practical and effective spiritual environmentalism!!!