Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

...marriage contract should be like a high-level security clearance in the military in that neither is permanent and must be revalidated and renewed every five years in order for it to remain in force
(R) The issue of "how long does it take to evaulate a marriage" is a very difficult one... 5 years may be too short - or too long!
(MB) Of course each case is different. Personally, I would advocate a shorter period of time, but my point was the marriage revalidation itself and not so much the time period involved.

(R) It seems as if the longer people stay togtehr, the more likely they are to remain that way. It would interesting to see some stats on this one in terms of when during the marriage divorce is most likely to occur...
(MB) As far as I've seen, most divorces happen early on in the marriage. This would seem to make sense since longer marriages tend to develop more complications from children, financial entanglements, etc. that make it more difficult to go about getting divorced. Also, since happy marriages must necessarily last longer, the divorce rate must decrease as the length of the marriage increases since the bad ones will already likely have split up while the happy ones likely never will. Revalidation of a happy marriage would be no problem whatsoever. In fact, many couples already perform similar ceremonies on their anniversaries.

(R) Speaking personally, the first 5 years of my marriage were the most difficult (the "adjustment" factor) and its only in the last few years that I *think* that I am starting to see what marriage can offer and what the implications are for me (others may, of course, be less stubborn and bloody-minded than me ;-).
(MB) I think most couples will know by the end of the first 5 years whether or not their marriage is one that has much hope of continuing successfully. Terminating a failed marriage when it comes up for revalidation would be little different from getting a divorce except that it could be done without involving lawyers and might well be a much less painful process for all concerned.

(R) So, the concept of a 'cut-off' period may or may not be the best thing for some people.
(MB) No solution works for everybody, but I feel that there is clearly a need for some change. A revalidation period is one option that makes sense to me, but I am wide open to alternative ideas. Marriage shouldn't be a jail sentence with no hope of parole. The longer a failed marriage lasts, the more problems will normally develop within it.

(R) I think that if people agree to this before hand, then fine, but then should maybe agree not to have children during this period... of course this is whole other "ball of wax" which you haven't attempted to go into ('good' vs 'bad' vs 'any' marriage and the effect on children *and* how having children impacts on relationships).
(MB) Even if there are children involved, things shouldn't change much. If both parties know that the marriage will be ending, there will normally be ample time to plan for it. Breaking up a family is rarely an ideal situation, but keeping a strife-ridden marriage together isn't great for the children, either. Better that the parents go their separate ways and have a better chance of forming new relationships with more amenable partners.

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