A temporary marriage
Have you heard of a Temporary Marriage? I am considering it. It makes sense. I may need to go to Mexico to get one; or ask a clever lawyer to construct something legally binding in my country of residence. It’s a marriage contract but with a stipulated end date, at which time the split-up clauses kick in and the marriage dissolves. Unless my partner and I decide to renew the contract or enter into an Until Death Do Us Part Marriage. I like the idea for these reasons:
- I don’t believe that the human race has evolved to a man/ women relationship lasting for 60 plus years.
- I have had my babies and able to financially look after myself. I no longer feel like I need to keep an artificial hold on my partner to secure my own or my children’s future.
- I will still need a contract: there are assets and kids to consider. You can’t contract emotions or expectations, but you can forward plan the division of assets and children for when things go wrong.
The Christian-based marriage was a workable arrangement in the millennium 1870 to 1970. When the economic agreement between man and wife was simple and based on clear roles. When we died by the age of 60.
But marriage was a very different institution before this time, and has become a very different institution since. It’s tough for those of us who were born on the cusp of this change – I’m a 1970s baby, which means my value system was shaped by the clear-cut family structures of the 50s. I also hit post-school education and the workplace in the 1990s and didn’t have to think twice about being a girl when I took on the world.
And then you get married. And have babies. And suddenly the traditional value system kicks in… Mom as the primary care-giver, with an apparent natural instinct for child-rearing. Dad brings in the fodder and protects the vulnerable. And we thrive in these roles. But for my husband and I, we didn’t. We brought different things to the table but we still expected of each other the traditional roles we had seen our parents play out. He got depressed, I got depressed, we got divorced.
So what shapes the modern marriage?
We will die by the age of 90+. This means that we have to fund a longer retirement period and two people working instead of one during the productive years starts to make sense. This also means that women hang around for longer after their cubs have forgotten who she is and we have the time and wisdom to wonder: what next? Did I really sign up with this person for 60 years?!
We can orchestrate baby-making. Women can control when they have kids, if any, and with whom. Sperm donors are an option. Infertility is on the rise. Same sex couples can conceive or adopt. The impact is dramatic – partners are asking the same questions: what’s Family Pty (Ltd)’s business model, what’s my role, who do I report to, what are my key result areas, what is my development path?
Women sell their non-mothering skills. In a demand driven global growth spurt and as the capitalist powerhouses open up, women want to be significant beyond their home structures. And there is a growing expectation for women to contribute financially to Family Pty (Ltd).
A women’s expectation of marriage has changed. She wants mutual growth; emotional, mental and physical partnership. She wants a confidant, a co-provider, a lover. I sense from his side it’s a little simpler: it’s time to settle down and to pass down his DNA in a legitimate structure. Simply put, she wants more, and is able to tap into an economic and legal system which allows her to walk out.
My experience, and I have seen it in my social circle, is that women around the 40 mark look at the man sleeping next to her and either thinks ‘this is a good transaction, we can keep growing together and I can keep working on loving this man’, or she thinks ‘WTF’? Women initiate divorce 68% of the time.
Back to the Temporary Marriage – I think I will consult with my divorce lawyer and get a draft together to stick under the nose of Mr Grey.