Do you still believe in marriage? I can’t decide and am in two minds about this.
This is my bitter and twisted divorcee approach to life whereby I think marriage is a fucking travesty and what is the fucking point? (It swears a lot, this piece of my mind). You put all your energy and trust into building a life with one person and they let you down, big time. So why bother? Why not just live together so that you can walk away if and when you need to without having to divide anything more than a few books, a few pets, a few children and a couple of pictures when you leave. That way your finances are not entirely fucked forever because you can both keep your own accounts and understand that it’s not a good idea to rely on one of the parties to bring in the bacon. You can remain independent despite the overall lack of security for everyone concerned. Much easier right?
This is another area of my brain that still believes that romantic love is something worth committing to and fighting for. In this part of my brain the idea of traditional marriage and longterm commitment is still relevant, especially if you have children.
So what is the answer for modern day life, now that we are all living so much longer than when the marriage contract was brought into existence for mainly financial reasons? Is the “forever” marriage contract even relevant any more? Apparently 25% of 18-25 year old’s think marriage should be a temporary contract with opportunities to renegotiate or cancel the contract over time, sort of like a phone contract. Does that mean that the remaining 75% of the same age group still believe in the permanent contract?
Is the institution of marriage facing a total breakdown so that over time the traditional marriage contract and subsequent nuclear family will become obsolete?
It certainly makes sense to review the current archaic laws now that society is changing and there is much debate about the reform of our divorce laws and a general move towards the liberalisation of the laws. However, I’m not convinced that dropping the notion of “fault” from divorce proceedings is the answer. Surely that just makes it very easy to walk away from the responsibility agreed in the “till death do us part” vows and all that. Weakening the institution of marriage across the board means that either party can end it for whatever reason whenever they want. Of course at the moment, this happens anyway with around 43% of marriages, because if you want to get divorced you can just make up a list of reasons as to why your partner has become unreasonable and impossible to live with, but currently it all takes time and a huge amount of money.
Perhaps we should just have more options. The law has recently changed so that mixed sex couples can also choose a civil partnerships instead of marriage, offering the option of greater security, or you could come up with your own, potentially shorter contract offering a less formal commitment. But if you both agree to the forever, in for a penny in for a pound, leap into the dark, instead of introducing a “no fault” divorce, I think it would be better to simply make it faster and fairer to divide the money and the assets. There is always going to fault on one side or the other, it’s rare that both parties will be in agreement with a separation and the main issue facing divorcing couples at the moment is the incredibly long, drawn out and horrifically expensive process we currently face in the courts.