Many have privately abandoned the Bible's teaching on divorce. American law has pushed them along. For many years, divorce was a tort--legally possible only if one party to the marriage contract had violated it. Ronald Reagan, as governor of California, signed a no-fault divorce bill in 1970, and within 15 years every state in the union had a similar law. The cultural conversation shifted away from marriage's mutual obligations--codified in law--and toward personal fulfillment.
The recent emphasis on the rights of individuals has even been encouraged by the current crop of evangelical preachers. Joel Osteen, the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, and Joyce Meyer, a Christian television and radio personality, have built their ministries on promoting individual development. It seems that this development can often be found in marriage, but also, for some, in divorce.