Unless you are completely oblivious to whats in the popular press, you are already aware of the backlash against Elizabeth Edwards and the uproar over Jon from Jon&Kate plus 8 having an affair with a 23 year old girl. To me, what they both share in common is a need to appear a happy couple, and not knowing how to honestly deal with problems in the marriage. While the men are responsible for their actions, I guarantee you these couple got off track for whatever reasons, and neither the husbands or the wives wanted to face up to the difficulties. And probably hoped they’d go away in time. And if we’re honest with ourselves, all couples have had moments, weeks, months, maybe years, where you either go towards the problems or face one or the other spouse entangled in something outside of the marriage. Therefore I’d like to propose marriage term limits.
I believe couples should enter marriage not till death do us part, but until one year later. So one year after the marriage you have to go before a judge, priest or legal body and re-commit to the marriage for 2 years. The short term goal would be to make to the five year mark. When you reach that, I think it is reasonable to be able to choose either1, 2, 3, 4, or5 year increments. And during each of those meetings, you can establish incentives like they do with pro-athletes. For example, you sign on to one year, but if you both go to counseling for 6 months, pay off your debts, and take one vacation, you can increase the commitment to 3 years!
Even as I write this, I love the idea. It suggests that marriage has value beyond the legal implications that come with an accumulation or dissolution of assets. It also allows couple a chance to really ask themselves if they want to be in the marriage. So couples that are on the brink of divorce can decide to go ahead with it or get help. For those who can’t be direct, go ahead, act it out by having an affair or getting drunk every night, your spouse can go on with their life knowing there is a very definitive end in site. Before you point whats wrong with idea, just try it on. Shouldn’t we place a higher priority on the “sanctity of marriage” ? Since we know so many people get married in their twenties and then divorce, why not create a way to help them become more conscious of what they are committing to by recommitting.
Since this is an idea in progress, I don’t know about the kids. I would guess the terms of any agreements made about kids would have to be a significant part of the decision to renew or not renew the marriage license. And I personally think some variation of pre-nups would be reasonable at the beginning and perhaps throughout the marriage. Again a couple that is in sync can work with this whether the money or inherited assets are in one name or the other. If
As more gay couples move towards some form of marraige, perhaps they will lead the way on new models of being together. Because as Jon&Kate and John and Elizabeth and 50% of married couples have shown us, somethings got to change.