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Marriage - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Sep. 13th, 2005

12:16 am - Marriage

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Date:September 14th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC)
I definitely would be in favour of fixed term contracts for marriage. I'm surprised you haven't seen me suggest it, but that's probably because I've never bothered to get into an argument about Marriage Equality in my own journal :)

My belief is that one of the main reasons why so many people get divorced is that they enter into marriage "for life" without really thinking about how much they and their partner might change during the average lifespan. The idea of marriage "until death do us part" was set up many years ago when life expectancies were terrible. In medieval times, the average man lived to be about 40 years old, and one in two women would die in childbirth. People didn't live long enough to change very much. Whereas now, you enter into marriage at the age of 25 - and you can expect to still be alive 50 years later. That's a helluva long time - more than double the lifetime you've had so far.

I believe that one of the best models for marriage is the Pagan handfasting. iirc, there are 3 levels of handfasting, and you should always start at level 1, which is for 1 year. At the end of the year, if you still wish to be together, you have another ceremony and pledge to be together for a longer term - say, 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, you have another ceremony and pledge to be together for life.

I think that fixed-term contracts could work well. Initially, you pledge to be together for 5 or 10 years, and when 4 years and 11 months are up, you start renegotiating. Do you wish to remain together? Do you wish to stay married, but make a different set of promises (for example, opening up your marriage to outside partners, or having children together)? Or do you want to go your separate ways with no regrets?

One of my objections to legal marriage is that it's a contract with no fixed term - where else in the law does such a thing exist? Also, the government of the country I live in can unilaterally change the rules of my marriage without my prior consent - the government can randomly decide to change the divorce law, or say there's no such thing as rape within marriage, or some other crap I didn't agree to.

I argue that I like to not be married because I like to know that every single day, I get up and look at Richard and make a decision to stay with him. Every day, I say "Yes, I still want to be with this person", rather than being bound together by some arbitrary piece of paper that forces us to stay together. Of course, in practice we have a mortgage together, and it would be difficult for me to just walk away from the relationship - but I like the romantic idea of freedom. In practice, we will get legally married someday, when civil partnership comes in, because I'm sick of my mother being my legal next-of-kin (she has VERY different ideas with what should be done with my body after death than I do, and I am exasperated that in the UK's law, she is allowed to overrule my stated wishes). But this would really be our only reason for doing so - that, and inheritance law.
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