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:

  1. I don’t believe that the human race has evolved to a man/ women relationship lasting for 60 plus years.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.



  1. Natalie

    January 26, 2015 at 1:29 am

    This is so true, sounds wonderful, typically 20 century. In a world progressively changing roles as the woman moreso becomes the breadwinner, a fact indeed is created for one to look upon the spouse and see him as the lessor role played, less respect is a given, less need is required.

    Speaking from a twice divorcee, highly independent, children out the house and married, i dont need to clean up after any man, wake up on demand for sexual favours, continually be victimised as a step mother, all the whilst becoming unstable, emotionally and physically drained. The man always seems to be the beneficiary, whilst the woman walks away with critical submissive behaviours.

    My parents were married for 40+ years before my father passed on. I watched my mother play the roles of a mother, father, nurturer, care giver, breadwinner and an executive home maker. It was when my father passed on, did my mother finally have the room to grow as a person.

    Coming back to your article, its all in the contract. I dont see the need to be institutionalised for an unlimited period. Im worth so much more.

    1. Cogitator

      February 14, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Wow. Thanks Natz for your note. I haven’t checked my blog for a while so apologies for the late response. I hope that my marriage number 2 lasts, but also grown up enough to realise we morph. I am not turning out to be a “good” stepmother but at the same time, don’t think that any woman can claim that success. I are not their mother and they are not my children. I have my own. Your words show insight I expect … hope… to get to: there is no institution that can limit me. Really enjoyed your views – you are ahead of me but think I can tap into your hindsight. Feel honoured.

      1. Anonymous

        February 14, 2015 at 9:40 pm

        Dont beat yourself up, realise your worth. Not all woman are meant to be step mothers, i know im not. I tried and tried, even broke my own spirit trying, but failed, not in my eyes, failed in his, as a 12 year old boy, i failed by not being exactly like his biological mother, but being me, being different. So i left, i left my home, my partner, in hopes he would reconcile with his father, it too failed him, as now they more apart than before.

        So you see, its really not you, its not about being step at all, its them, trying to fit into two worlds so familiar yet so strange.

        Dont be a step mom, just be a friend, it will be easier for both of you. I wish you love and peace

      2. Cogitator

        March 4, 2015 at 7:08 pm

        Thank you, what an awesome response. I hope I can be a friend – perhaps not now, but later. And I do need to realise my worth … I think as women we tend to lessen this worth in our own minds. Thanks again for taking the time to share your story.

  2. Nan

    October 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Unusual thought, untraditional thinking, wonder how the man would feel about this temporary marriage. For me, traditional has worked, has always made me feel safe, secure and utterly loved that someone would devote their whole life to me. Different for others , I know, but temporary sounds so……temporary!

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