With a divorce rate hovering around 50 percent, a figure I see very clearly in my personal life, it's easy to see why so many people think the current model of marriage is dead. Clearly, this "'til death do us part" stuff isn't working for a whole lot of people and something has to give. After all, why do so few marriages really make it over the long haul?
Writer Emma Johnson discusses this in her latest blog post on Wealthy Single Mommy. She says marriage is dead and we need a new model. In particular, we need a 10-year contract that we can either renew or discard depending on how the marriage is working.
The truth is, she is right. For some people, the old model IS dead. Actually, not just for some people. It isn't working for about half the population. That's a whole lot of people. If half the population were infected by some kind of disease, we would want to cure it, right? But what could really "cure" marriage? Is the idea of "forever" really just dead in the water?
As someone who really IS honest to God, really happily married after 10 years together, I love that this contract idea honors my commitment as much as it honors someone who is less happy.
I love our relationship and probably would say it's the best thing in my life. The shared intimacy, trust, and love I feel are amazing. That said, I think our secret formula IS what this contract implies. We are always reassessing, communicating, and throwing out what isn't working while building on what is.
Part of it may just be luck. That's what a cousin I know who is happily married once told me. Her secret to their 50-year union was simply this: "Dumb luck." The end. But we also manage it. We talk. We take our relationship seriously as the foundation of our family and we move the pieces around to keep our fit.
The truth is, I do know probably more unhappily married couples than I do happily married ones. It's possible human beings are really not meant to stay together 50 years and be totally faithful and passionate. It's possible we were all sold a bill of lies.
The old model really may be dead.
Of course, the first thing is we define our own marriages. No two marriages should look alike. We don't need a marriage "model" so much as we need to accept that our marriages won't look alike. Even now, there is no "model" I am following. I am still happy and he is still happy, so whatever we are doing, we just keep on doing it.
For other people, long-term marriage is just not the solution. They probably could never find a person they would be happy with for life. Just like some women can curl their tongues and others can't and some women can have vaginal orgasms and others can't.
Johnson's solution is a 10-year marriage contract, and the reality is, it really could save marriage. It honors everyone -- those who plan to stay married forever AND those who want to part ways amicably. Sure, there are flaws -- what happens if there is a disagreement over the resigning? But it's also the clearest idea I have ever seen that addresses the realities of marriage. Forever is not working for a lot of people.
What about you? Would you do a 10-year marriage contract?
Image via rosmary/Flickr