I am a believer in Occum's Razor. The simplest and clearest explanation is often the best one.
I am seeing divorce occur among the usual married but also with traditional religious. Sometimes it is the woman who initiates the divorce. Other times, it is the man.
The desire for divorce has been said to be the effect of immorality, paganism, repression, bad male attributes, bad female attiributes, and so on. But one thing every example has in common is that the person claims authorship of their lives.
Imagine one's life is a story and the person wants to control the pen writing that story. Sounds fair and good. But no one could alter the state of their marriage in most of history.
Throughout time, arranged marriages were the norm. In fact, throughout most societies people were not the author of their lives.
Marriages tend to work when one of the couple does whatever the other wishes, or both do what someone else wishes. One may claim authorship over their lives and, often, that can lead to divorce if she (or he) decides to "get more" somewhere. If two claim authorship over their lives, then no relationship is possible.
Most men surrender to "love". They go along to get along. In long marriage couples, studies (and validated by my own parents) show that often the man does what the woman wants.
It is the modern illusion that marriage is supposed to be about happiness. Households and vast family trees used to be revered. Aristocracy protected their line very carefully but even the peasants were family centric. It was not a nuclear family, but even more. Young couples often moved in with their parents. Four generations could be under one household.
Marriage was a joining of two families and, that alone, was seen as a major effect. There was no atomization. The heritage went on. Young sons would take over family farms and businesses or become king.
The radical change has not been marriage or sexual mores but the complete abolishment of heritage. No one cares about the family line. A woman having kids from multiple fathers would never have been permitted back then. Why? It would destroy the family line.
Marriages worked because there was a family line and marriage was seen as an extension of that. Today, marriage is legally and metaphorically seen as a contract of consensus. One could describe it as people duct taped together (the duct tape being the law). People did not tolerate single mothers and whores because of the family line.
For proof of how revered the 'family line' was, consider the bastard
. In Shakespeare, the 'bastard' played most of the villians. The bastard was an outcast.
It is not a coincidence that that the abolishment of the family line has disrupted reproduction rates to below replacement levels. When the family line was intact, people had many children. The family line went on and spread.
For over a century, women have used "love" as something men to surrender so she claims authorship over her (and now his) life. Curiously, young women today are now even throwing out their charade of 'love' and expect men to obey anyway. I have tried to tell them that attacking romance will not be helpful to their longterm plans. They do not listen and wonder why they are alone.
It is important how we define a 'successful' marriage. Is a long lasting marriage a 'success'? Not if it produces little children and gives the man an early grave. A 'successful' marriage should leave the earth with more people than when the married couple was born. A 'successful' marriage should have some sort of wealth to pass down to heirs... even a poor old farm. A 'successful' marriage should create a family line.
This means the modern 'successful' marriages are bunk. There is no wealth to pass down. No children aside from a replacement or two. And no family line. So having one in the couple claim authorship of their lives does not help.
The 'successful' marriages (using the definition above) appear to neither claim authorship. They let family, religion, or something else be the author. It is this non-authorship
what is declared to be 'non-freedom'. So when a feminist or someone says she needs more 'freedom', she wants more power to be an author on her life (i.e. to do whatever she wants).
It is true that women were 'controlled' back then. But it is also true that men were 'controlled' as well. As today we may protest this non-authorship, the results cannot be denied. In non-English countries, we can see some of this still in effect. In China, the family line is so cherished that they are willing to kill their own daughters in order to have male heirs. In America, Mormonism is growing by leaps and bounds because of the reverence toward the family line. It is not a coincidence that one of the largest geneological research libraries exist in a Mormon Church.
A common modern delusion is the belief that creativity means the absence of controls, of constrictions. Rather, creativity was the opposite. Mozart's education was very controlled, very constricted, and steeped in mathematics and Humanities. But all this heat and pressure created diamonds. A good poet knows the mathematics behind music and how language is constructed. Bad poets only expel their feelings like gas. From working out, to achieving new goals, to excellent painting, poetry, or writing, it all depends on definite controls.
If someone went into a gym and said, "I will become author of my own body!" and began doing one exercise and then another with no sense, he would be thought mad. It is the same with our mind. If you read comic books, you will be stupider than someone who read Plato. In order to go anywhere in life, one must push. And to push means contrictions.
It is well documented that children prefer order to chaos. In dating and love, there is confusion because there is no system, no controls, nothing. Courtship is dead. The harder rules we impose on ourselves, the happier we become. The key to improving life is to improve your standards for yourself.
When someone acts in "who they are", they are content. A painter who paints is content. But if the painter wants money or something else and becomes a banker, he becomes unhappy despite getting what he wants. When we let "what we want" interfere with "who we are", we get bent.
In order to solve the marriage problem, we need to ask, "Whom is marriage?" instead of "What I Want in marriage". I expect everyone to disagree with this. But that is because people still believe 'relationships' happen. No. People do not even see one another. They are in a relationship with a "want" and are pursuing it. But "want"s are fickle. They change and multiply. This is why women are never satisfied. It is because they are in love with wants, not men.