In Chile, Where Remarrying Your Ex Is A Thing

Less than two decades after divorce was legalized, Chileans have a relatively high rate of retying the knot with their exes.

A (first-time) bride in Chile
A (first-time) bride in Chile

SANTIAGO — More than a few unhappy couples gave a sigh of relief when, in 2004, Chile finally began allowing divorce. But not everyone who took advantage of the newfound freedom to move on from their marriage managed to stay the course.

Indeed, in the nearly 15 years since Chilean husbands and wives were first allowed to formally split, more than 3,000 divorcees have decided to remarry their ex-spouse, the Santiago-based El Mercurio reports. And in at least five cases, couples have gone through all of the administrative (and emotional) load of divorcing, reconciling and remarrying each other more than once, according to data provided by the country's Registro Civil (Civil Registry).

Psychologist María Ignacia Veas of the Universidad de Santiago says that while it's fairly commonplace for couples to break up and get back together again, it's surprising that people would go through all of the hassle, stress and expense to do so in a legal sense.

"I think it has to do with the fact that non-married couples aren't as well protected in society, particularly when it comes to property, inheritance and healthcare," she told the Chilean news source.

Veas also thinks that in some of those cases, couples are influenced by traditional concepts about marriage and an "ideal family." They feel morally obliged, in other words, to make it work with their original spouse — come what may.

The strong influence of the Catholic Church had much to do with why Chile was one of the last countries in the world to allow divorce. But while a solid majority of Chileans continue to identify themselves as Catholic, plenty of husbands and wives have exercised their right over the past decade and a half to legally boot their respective spouses.

Government data suggests that since May 2004, when divorce was legalized, roughly 888,000 couples have gotten married in Chile. During that same period, about 520,000 couples officially called it quits. About one in four of those people went on to remarry, in some cases more than once, or twice, or three times even. In fact, 56 Chileans have married five times, and six a record six times, Registro Civil numbers show.

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Iran To Offer Master's And PhD In Morality Enforcement

For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.

Properly dressed in the holy city of Qom.

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

A woman in Tehran walks past a mural of an Iranian flag

The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes

Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZUMA

New academic discipline

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

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