Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Taking the Institution out of Marriage

So I've grown up a little in the past 5 years. My first post on the subject of marriage was entitled The Anti-Marriage Blog, and that's inaccurate, of course. First of all, it's only a post, not an entire blog.

Second and more importantly, this is not about being pro or anti marriage. This is about the issues of equality, freedom, and government.

I still support gay marriage on the federal level because it's the fastest and easiest way for gay couples to obtain all the rights and privileges (and legal covenants) that straight couples have. It would not, however, address my own personal issues with marriage as an institution.

My dad and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but one issue where we agree is the lack of informed consent to enter into this institution.

Couples may write their own vows, but they don't have the right to revise the contract. Once they sign that dotted line, once it's witnessed, there are agreements made that are never fully explained. And they usually only become an issue when you want out.

And it simply doesn't help when marriage is practically force-fed to all straight couples at an incredibly early age. I hear even Brangelina is folding at their kids' request. 

As things stand today, with no legal requirements for education on the actual contract, with standard covenants and court-mandated divorce, I believe that the divorce rate is relatively accurate.

I believe that the chance of couples actually wanting to stay together for the majority of their lives is less than 50%. The reasons are as varied as the people involved. We simply don't all adapt and change together. Some people let others down. Some people want something different.

While in some of our stories, people can understand and appreciate what lead to the divorce, in others, it's not quite so clear-cut. Yet very few of us know couples quite so intimately that we are in a position to judge. And that includes judges.

If we were able to re-imagine marriage, I think everyone would benefit.

Instead of this cookie-cutter approach, we should allow for informed consenting adults to live as they wish.

There are a myriad of decisions to be made and boxes to be checked when you're divorcing. We have to decide who will pay for the insurance, who will have the kids on weekends, who will live where. These seem to be decisions we should think about prior to saying "I do." We should talk about religion, life-long goals and bank accounts on the front end instead of making these decisions at an emotionally difficult time. We should go into these (supposedly) life-long commitments without rose-colored glasses or blinders. We should see if our heads agree with our hearts.

Marriage shouldn't be an institution. Marriage should remain a choice, but not the only choice.



3 comments:

Missy said...

April,

I agree that most enter into marriage without a realistic view of what it will mean. Even so, I'm not sure I could have understood how I and my spouse would change over time or how deeply isolated I could feel within marriage. These are issues that I had to experience to know.

I hope you're having a great week!

Mandy said...

There is only so much a couple can foresee yes, periodically intentionally and purposefully renegotiating the contract could be helpful but there would still be divorce. Maybe though, it could be more reasoned ..

.. Heard Obama came out in favor of gay marriage today ..Yay!

Roxy | No Fault Divorce Online said...

Marriage is definitely a choice and standing up by it is the challenge that a lot of people find really hard to face. Definitely once you enter married life, you have to take the necessary efforts to protect it.