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Most people have heard of the word nuclear as in nuclear weapons, nuclear bomb, nuclear energy and nuclear physics, to mention a few examples. The expression nuclear family seems less familiar to many, especially the younger generation.
First of all, what does nuclear mean? As far as the examples above are concerned, nuclear means pertaining to, involving, or powered by atomic energy. It also means pertaining to, or forming a nucleus. A nucleus is a central part about which other parts are grouped.
The nucleus of the nuclear family consists of a mum and dad, about whom the children are grouped.
An ideal nuclear family requires a couple to be married. And getting married involves a groom and bride putting their signatures to a legal document which reinforces the pledges the couple have made to each other.
As for most things we want to do in life certain criteria have to be met and this also applies to a couple that wants to get married. These criteria are one man, one woman, and for life. It is obvious that only a man and a woman can produce children. The children have biological parents, real brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. For some years now, more and more people are searching for their family tree, and this is possible only when the children have biological parents.
For a man and a woman who love each other for the right reasons, the pledge to stay together for life is much easier. To stay together creates a stable environment for the children in which to grow up. They will definitely have their ups and downs but their genuine love for each other and their love for their children will make it easier to climb mountains and to get themselves out of the valleys.
It is unfortunate that not all couples stay together. There are many reasons for this and the no fault divorce law, which was introduced in Australia in the 1970s, is definitely one of them. This law allows one partner to surprise the other with the declaration that the marriage is over without having to give reasons or undertake any negotiations on how fault will be acknowledged.
Unless we go back to the natural family, many people will be hurt, especially the children.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 25 No 9 (October 2012), p. 15
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