Divorce, Incentives and Family Values
There are many conservatives who think that "family values" means that people should stay together in all cases, regardless of how badly a man chooses to treat his wife. This is in contradiction to everything else that is conservatism.
Conservative logic operates around the concept of incentives. It wants to make profitable the actions that benefit the country and not profitable the actions that do not. And when there is no way for women to escape domestic violence, there is no incentive on men not to act like creeps.
The man of goodwill would not commit domestic violence; but there are many men who are not of goodwill. And from the concept of incentives - central as it is to conservatism - we read that, unless a woman can get away from a violent partner, there is no reason for the man not to be violent toward her. The only way to reduce such wrongdoing in people who are not of goodwill is to dis-incentivize it. And that means, not only making it possible for women to leave such matches but also making it possible for them to save their children from such an upbringing as well.
The central function of the institution of divorce and separation is to disincentivize asinine behavior. Unless a man who is not of goodwill gets punished for being brutal or abusive, he will continue to be brutal and abusive. There needs to be a way to control such tendencies, and the best way to do that is to make them unprofitable. It is to disincentivize such behavior. And that means, first and foremost, making it possible for women to escape such behavior and to save their children from it.
Which means that, by logic of conservatism itself, divorce and separation are important for improving people's behavior. A man who does not have to fear his partner getting away from him has no reason to be good to his partner. Only when there is a real threat of separation and divorce does he have a real reason to behave better and to raise his children in a non-abusive way.
Conservatism, if it is to be true to its logic, must be in support of women being able to get away from violent or abusive partners. There have to be incentives for men to be good to their children and their wives. Violence must be disincentivized, and loving and principled behavior must be incentivized.
Only then will "family values" as advertised be an actual reality in people's lives.