Sunday, September 23, 2007

Marriage With an Expiration Date?

A twice divorced German politician, preparing to contest the leadership of Bavaria's governing party, next week, is proposing to make marriage contracts expire after seven years, with the option to renew for those interested in continuing their relationship.

I can only comment on this from the perspective of an American citizen familiar with the advantages our current system has to offer married couples. The welfare of the children in Germany may not hinge so much on the institution of marriage as it does in this country.

I've already addressed in one of my earlier posts my humble opinion on why I believe our current "no-fault" divorce laws fail to protect children so I won't go there again.

Having said that, I disagree with this in principle as well as in practice. If we put an expiration date on marriage, we should expire "marriage" as it will not mean anything anymore.

When two people marry, whatever their sexual orientation, they are committing themselves to each other, promising to support each other through thick and thin. The difficult times are opportunities for married couples to deepen their love for each other and to grow and mature into "better" people. Adversity forces us to shed what is often habitual or instinctual and search for what is true for ourselves and each other, therefore allowing the bond between the married couple to deepen.

Many married couples will find that what is true for them is to separate and/or divorce, but at the very least, having taken the vows, "until death do us part", gives the couple the incentive to work together and in the process live more authentic lives.


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