Ask The Good Enough Guys:
Is “Until Death” Too Long To Be Married?
Marriage. A lifelong commitment to the one you love. Today’s marriages are still starting with hopes of forever, but forever isn’t lasting as long as it used to. And thus, this article was born. It raises the question of whether we as a society should take into account the new statistics of divorce and prepare for, to paraphrase, the marriage’s demise by giving it a definitive end date; a contract of 20 years and that’s it. I wanted to find out what our Good Enough Guys thought about a contract instead of a promise of forever. So here it is in their own words…
TREY BURLEY (Daddy Mojo): A contract is good for businesses, things that you don’t have full confidence in or that you want security against. Marriage is about trust, growing together, allowing space apart, living and dying; it’s a lifetime commitment.
Plus, all of the classic music that has the concept of being married forever would become tired and dated. I was listening to this song today and the lyrics at 2:20 caught my ear. Yep, spend your whole life with me, that’s the deal.
WILL JONES: NO! I think the very idea of this is ridiculous.
KENT CHAPLINE: Here’s the thing: marriage is hard work. But it’s worth it. I’ve gotten married once. It’s lasted 19 years so far. It has been a rough road at times, and I wasn’t always sure we would make it even this far. But when we stood at the altar in front of God and everybody we knew, I promised to stick with her and I meant it. I think a lot of people today say the vows but don’t mean it. They treat marriage as something disposable, like a shirt or a set of tires. But human relationships aren’t like that. You get out of them what you put into them. If you’re willing to do the work of marriage, the rewards are immeasurable. And I think even if the contract were shorter people would still end it early.
MARK ANDROVICH: No. Adding a contract term to marriages will neither improve divorce rates nor decrease the harm to children.
At first glance, this seems like a decent idea. After all, no other contracted decisions in life from buying a car or a house to accepting a job offer have a term of “until death.” Even the most important decision of all, bringing a child into the world, has a “contract term” that ends at 18 years, as after that time parents are no longer legally responsible for their offspring.
If the government and churches disappeared tomorrow, would people choose to live together and raise children, even absent a license? Of course. So, what exactly is the purpose of a marriage contract? It serves to outline the responsibilities of the people getting married. If marriages are failing more often than succeeding, perhaps it is due to unrealistic expectations of the participants. Such people are going to end up divorced whether the marriage term is 7, 10, or 20 years. In fact, a marriage contract with an end date will probably increase divorce rates, as couples will be acutely aware of the date their term “expires” and will not have any legal disincentives to separate.
CODY WILLIAMS: Then they should come up with a new name for it. Not ‘shacking.’ That one has been used. Or ‘hooking up.’ Too contemporary. How about ‘bouncing.’ Just plan on landing there for a little while, but not too long.
DAVE MANOUCHERI (Our Story Begins): Okay, I get the point that Richtel makes; marriage today fails so much so we should give it an expiration date. He’s wrong. I was married 18 years – to the day! I would have gladly taken 18 more. The problem isn’t marriage, or the contract, or who gets married. It’s why you get married. Love isn’t enough, friendship, honor, respect, those are vital. Like the person you come home to and you handle the kids and work and you find time for each other.
The mere fact that it’s seen as so flexible today – or worse if his 20 year contract actually happened – then there’s no incentive to work. Marry your best friend, the one who you call when things go right and who comforts you when they’re wrong. Marry the woman who you want to defend when things go wrong. If there’s an out you’ll never fight or work for it. Marriage is work and today too few people want to put the work into it. A contract is just sad, not a solution.
So there we have it. Our guys have spoken on what they think of cutting out the “’til death” clause, but what about you? Do you feel marriages with an end date would be a good idea? And none of the guys mentioned it, but couldn’t we just renew the contract every 20 years or so as with renewing the vows? Tell us what you think.
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