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Recently "Marvin" one of my high school friendís spouse, Julia, decided to end their life long marriage. He is not alone: Stats Canada 2012 report that 4 out of 10 (40%) of first marriages end in divorce. On average 14.5 years is the doomsday number before the couples file for divorce to rid themselves of their unwanted baggage. January is the favourite month to visit the divorce lawyer. The folks do not want to upset the Christmas spirit and tell their children that mom and dad were parting ways.

We invited Marvin over to our home to have supper with us. He seemed very lonely and completely lost with no desire to begin his new life as a single senior citizen. Marvinís adult children had the painful task of helping him move from his home into a one bedroom high rise apartment with very few amenities.

It used to be very common that we spoke of the seven year itch where young couples would pack in their marriages. Of late some of our friends in their 50's and 60's after many years of marriage have decided to call it quits.

The empty nesters after many years of mortgage payments discover that the house is free and clear of the threat of foreclosure from the bank.

The lack of money doesnít seem to be a problem with flush bank accounts and mutual funds paying decent dividends. Many couples are opting to split up & go it alone

With retirement planning your career aspirations are not a concern. Usually there is little interest in making waves and swinging for the fences to impress the neighbors.

Many professional married women wake up one day and smell the coffee and decide that they no longer need the financial/emotional support of their husbands. They look at their balding bespectacled males who are attached to their cell phones/ computers and decide that enough is enough. Living by yourself for women has advantages: there is no need to make supper or do the laundry for their partners.

Check out the fitness clubs and you will see healthy, happy women with only a faint shadow on their third finger left hand. Freedom fifty-five has arrived with little stigma of the former dreaded word divorce. For the most part they were interested in a good time not a long time commitment.

Some men knowing they will retire/die before their wives have a deja-vu moment of fear. The till death do us part in the marriage ceremony is sure scary for them.

Time is limited. The former jocks yearn for the former adulation in their past when they were captain of the football team with pretty young cheerleader cheering them on to victory.

Simple solution. Why not trade up your old, vintage, wrinkled spouse for a younger more attractive version with fewer complaints who can really appreciate you?

For some couples there is little interest in sticking it out. Perhaps, the sale of the family home in order to downsize is the time to rid oneself of your spouse. The proceeds from the home sale is usually split 50/50 allowing for the funds to help enjoy a new way of life in a condo community.

Divorce is now a viable acceptable alternative in society which is becoming more fashionable . Usually, there were no real major problems in the marriage. The relationships werenít all that bad. Many couples flee their comfortable homes because they feel they were in a rut with the same old boring/reliable partner. They follow the musical refrain: "It was good to have known you but I have got to be moving along."

After the split up most women can still have the benefit of keeping their long term friends who will usually stand by them. Most times the former husbands becomes a persona non grata, abandoned by their friends, to try and make it all on their own.

I find it admirable that we have friends/relatives who still care/stand by their loved one who have been afflicted with the dire health effects of Cancer, Parkinsonís, Multiple Sclerosis, or Alzheimer. They do not abandon their love ones in their time of need.

My friend, Brian, has stayed with his bedridden wife who has Multiple Sclerosis for the past ten years. He reminded me that: "You donít leave the table when you are dealt a bad hand". "You deal with it."

There is no guarantee that subsequent marriages/relationships are going to be successful. That is why it is wise to consider a pre-nuptial agreement before you say, " I do". The reality is that the track record of divorced couples are more vulnerable to marriage breakdown the second/third time around. Funny where ever you go you take yourself along on the journey.

Having counseled thousands of high school students I have found that for the most part divorce often times has a very negative consequences for the children. The parents once promised to be there in sickness and health, good times and bad and now they have abandon their vows. Hard to trust others when your mother and dad cut and run from their responsibilities. When the students fill in their high school registration forms showing names/addresses of their parents the non-custodian parents names are replaced with a large X.

Studentís attendance, grades and poor self-concept often times can suffer as a result of the spit up.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is not necessarily found in new relationships. Marriage is no panacea but neither is divorce.

P.S. A few weeks ago "Marvin" died suddenly without a friend/relative in attendance to give him solace. Perhaps, he had lost his will to live?

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com