My song today is ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E.’ This American country music song was written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman. It was made famous by Tammy Wynette. This single was from the album of the same name and was a number one country hit in 1968 and earned Tammy a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance’.
Recorded in 1968, ‘D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ is a woman's perspective on the impending collapse of her marriage. The lyrics indicate that the soon-to-be-divorcee spells out words such as ‘ divorce, ‘Joe’ (the name of the woman's four-year-old son), ‘ hell; and ’custody’ to shield the young, carefree boy from the cruel, harsh realities of the world and the ultimate breakup of his mother and father.
Country music historian, Bill Malone wrote that Wynette's own tumultuous life (five marriages) "encompassed the jagged reality so many women have faced." Wolff, meanwhile, hailed the song as "tear-jerking as any country song before or since. It approaches parody but stops just short thanks to the sincerity of Tammy's quivering voice."
"D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was released in May 1968 and was one of Wynette's fastest-climbing songs to that time. It reached Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot Country Singles’ and was also a minor hit, stopping at Number 63 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart. In 1975, the song reached Number 12 on the British pop chart while her other song, ‘Stand by Your Man’ made the Number 1 spot.
Everyone who enters marriage, does it in good faith, and with both the intention and the hope that the relationship will be happy and lifelong. Nobody contemplates getting divorced as they approach marriage but unfortunately it happens all too often today.
Here are a few important statistics (the latest available figures, 2017):
42% of marriages end in divorce.
45-49 is the most common age bracket for divorce.
62% of divorces are on the petition of the wife.
In 59% of divorces, it was the first divorce for both partners.
In 18% of cases, one party had been divorced previously.
In 8% of cases, both parties had been divorced previously.
Fewer than 40% of marriages ever reach their twenty-years wedding anniversary.
Like many people, I too have experienced divorce and it is a horrible experience for all concerned, especially for wronged and innocent parties, and any children of the marriage union. There are more reasons for marriage breakdowns than statisticians can count, but I have always felt that poor communication: unrealistic expectations: marrying too young: lack of equality in the relationship: lack of commitment: inability to compromise on opposing viewpoints and principles: lack of sensitivity: a reluctance to apologise when wrong: an unwillingness to forgive and forget: not maintaining necessary politeness by saying ‘goodnight’ and ‘good morning’ to each other daily: mutual respect: never going to bed on an argument: and maintaining tactile comfort and contact such as cuddling and holding hands to be an important foundation of faith in the relationship and a cornerstone of its strength.
Although the above list is not exclusive, I do genuinely believe that all the aspects mentioned are far more important than how much money the couple has to spend as a family unit, what type of house they live in, what kind of jobs they have, or how sexually satisfying their bedroom relationship is?
Today’s song does remind me of that old parenting trick of spelling out words that mothers and fathers hope their young children will not understand or are not yet able to spell or comprehend the word's meaning. This is a common method that parents frequently resort to whenever they want to ‘speak behind their young child’s back’ while continuing to remain in their full view!
Not only did I used that trick on my very young children as a parent, but I have also used it on inanimate objects such as our smart-home ‘Alexa’ device which carries out all manner of robotic functions like turning on one’s favourite radio channel, or playing a song of one’s choice, besides providing all manner of information like the weather forecast or the precise time of day, and giving explanation and answers to all types of queries on verbal command.
My wife Sheila has installed this system in most rooms of the house, and, for the most part, I find ‘Alexa’ extremely helpful and energy saving. The device sometimes, however, takes on a life of its own and will ‘pick up a word’ in one of our conversations, and instantly anticipate a command it then proceeds to act upon. For example, were I to say to Sheila, “Where did you get that Humpy Dumpy figure?”, ‘Alexa’ may interrupt our conversation and start reciting the Humpty Dumpy nursery rhyme (just like a child might rudely interrupt its parent’s private discussion). ‘Alexa’ can get it wrong also as the device acts on 'phonic verbal commands' only. For example, were I to say to Sheila or a house guest “ We should do that 'whether' they come today or not”, ‘Alexa’ might pick up on the phonic sound of the word ‘whether’, and presuming it to be the word ‘weather’ proceed to give me the weather forecast for today! This leads me to occasionally spell out ‘important words’ to prevent the infernal machine butting into my conversation with others. “What do you think about that, Alexa?”
The best laugh I ever had though was when a real live person made a house visit to see me who was called ‘Alexa’ and I had to switch off the damn device after ten minutes as it would not let us converse without constant interruption every time it heard its name.
Love and peace Bill xxx