Ten years ago, Mark and Betty Squier's 19-year marriage appeared to be finished. They endured in what they now call a "married singles lifestyle." Mark, a police officer, had become a self-described workaholic, holding down an additional two jobs, while Betty, a full-time homemaker, devoted herself to the couple's five children. They had become virtual strangers with separate lives. Mark began an extramarital affair with a woman he met through work, and in May 1986, he filed for divorce.
In Michigan, where the Squiers live, adultery is still a felony. But, Mark says, "I was able to file for divorce because of this adulterous relationship, and had I gone through with it, I would have received no prosecution from the government for my criminal conduct and no censure from my church or the state for breaking my vows to my wife." What's more, under Michigan's no-fault divorce laws, Mark could divorce Betty against her will and walk away with half the family's wealth.
Betty, who did not want the divorce, eventually persuaded Mark to attend a Retrouvaille marriage retreat with her. An international Catholic lay ministry, Retrouvaille targets troubled marriages. Through the Retrouvaille program, the Squiers found new hope for their marriage, and Mark withdrew his divorce action.
Today, the Squiers say their marriage is stronger and happier than ever. They have become volunteer leaders with Retrouvaille, helping other couples address marriage problems. They also have joined a growing public campaign in Michigan to reform the laws that would have made it so easy to break apart their family. "It's a matter of putting justice back into the courtroom of divorce," says Mark.
NO-FAULT DEFAULT: Nearly 30 years ago, social activists argued that ...1
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