I helped a friend who had surgery this week. While sitting in the hospital waiting room, a conversation evolved between me and the other two women waiting for their own “patients.” At some point, the conversation turned to marriage. We discussed the ups & the downs and it appeared that we had the two extremes in my conversation partners. One thought she had the best marriage in the world (though her examples left two of us scratching our heads and unconvinced). The other was adamant that if she ever ended up single again, she would never again marry. “I’ll stick with this one, but I’ll never do it again.”
Then my pessimist shocked us both when she asked “What would happen if marriage licenses had to be renewed just like a dog license?” After our moment of shock, we all started laughing at the possibilities.
Think about it. How many spouses would behave BETTER if they knew they might not get renewed? Would it be like professional sports and people would try and perform at their best? How many messy divorces could be avoided because the contract was coming up for renewal and both parties have agreed to go their own way. No “shock” of receiving divorce papers at work via an anonymous process server.
It would certainly change dealing with prenups. Everyone would have to have one as no one would know if the contract would last past 7 years (since the 7 year itch is shown to have evidence of it’s existence, let’s go with it for right now. Not only that, a prenup could be renegotiated every 7 years. Assets dramatically change? At the 7 year mark, everything could be reviewed & renegotiated.
Many of us still hold onto our romantic notions of marriage. I’m guilty of it. I want my forever man…still. But the fact is that more than 50% of US marriages end in divorce. With such odds against us, why not take a more practical approach?
When my mom or dad did something particularly well that affected the other (they were big foodies so it usually involved an extensive meal) they always joked “yeah, I’ll keep you on for another year.” It was a family joke, but sometimes there’s genius in humor.