No Divorce Day
You know something is up in Iran when a national holiday traditionally celebrated for years as Marriage Day has been renamed No Divorce Day. This year authorities in that country have renamed the holiday in response to a rising divorce rate that some are claiming is a national threat on the same level as drug addiction and prostitution.
The alarm comes from the fact that marriages in Iran are slowing down to the point where 30 divorces occur for every one marriage. Marriages in Iran are also failing early with 30% of divorces occurring in the first year of marriage and 50% occurring within the first five years. Conservative Muslims are blaming the non-religious youth and the corrupting influence of modern media for the phenomenon. Others think it is good that women are taking advantage of their right to divorce. As more women are able to earn their own incomes, marriage is no longer absolutely necessary for their survival in that nation.
Expectations for marriage are obviously changing among women in Iran. They no longer have to endure hardships in marriage and their expectations are rising to a level of equality in marital relationships, even if it means getting a divorce. Although Iran does not have nearly as many divorces per capita as the United States, the concern of Iranian conservatives’ stems from the disproportional rate that divorces are increasing compared the number of marriages. In 2010 divorces in Iran grew over 15% while marriages increased only 1%.
Whether or not the stigma surrounding divorce in Iran will change remains to be seen. No Divorce Day might be effective at preventing divorce as much as it helps to preserve marriages in that nation, if only for a day. For the time being, No Divorce Day is a hopeful trend in a theocratic country where arranged marriages are still all too common.