REPLY #6 TO
"LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his 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
(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
(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
(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.