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[P]
Starter Marriages?

By skim123 in Op-Ed
Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:34:38 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

So there's this article over at ABCNews.com about "Starter Marraiges," which are supposedly short "practice" marraiges that many Generation Xers are experiencing nowadays. These marraiges typically start in the early 20s and usually last less than two or three years, often without children.

Call me an old fart, or one who pines for the olden days, but as a "Gen Xer" in his "early 20s" this sounds like a pile of no responbility-taking horseshit.


Let me quote from the article:
In her book The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony (read an excerpt) author Pamela Paul defines starter marriages as first-time marriages that last five years or less and do not yield children. Obviously, no one thinks that they are embarking on a brief marriage on the way in, but Paul, an editor at American Demographics magazine, asserts that this type of marriage is a growing trend among Gen Xers. The government doesn't track "starter marriages," but Paul cites Census Bureau statistics showing that in 1998 there were more than 3 million divorced 18- to 29-year-olds. There were 253,000 divorces among 25- to 29-year-olds in 1962. ... Paul says that most young couples who divorce early rush into marriage for one of two reasons: either they have finished school and are living with their parents and want someone else to cling to, or they are very successful power couples who feel that they need a great marriage to complement their fabulous careers and looks. (emphasis mine)
It's a sad commentary on our society when people are getting married because they need someone to cling to or, even worse, because they have this notion of what they are supposed to do, so they just blindly go out and do it. Haven't any of these folks heard of moving out and living on your own, or being successful and single, so when you spend 80 hours a week at work you're not neglecting other important things, such as your family?

Thankfully, as the stats have shown, these "starter marraiges" rarely result in children (thank God for contraception and legalized abortion). Obviously many of those embarking on these short marraiges are doing so wthout thinking things through, without really knowing the person they're marrying, and without giving a second thought to the consequences borne from such actions, such as:

  • Children, and
  • Combined assets
both of which must be split up when the divorce papers are signed just a few hundred days after the marraige ceremony. Again, to quote the article:
"When people go into their starter marriages, their eyes are focused on the wedding day, and they don't give much thought what is going to happen in the next 50 years," Paul said.
I've often asked myself how, as a society, we've becomed so fixated on the here and now, on the materialism, and on prizing looks over substance. Studies have shown that Gen Xer women, if given the choice between being financially secure but having to appear as if they were on a budget vs. having no savings, but appearing as if they were well off, preferred the latter. I can just imagine these women and men thinking of the wedding day, of their jealous friends, of the reception, of the honeymoon; sure, the somewhat unpleasant thought of, "But wait, I really don't love this person," must creep into their skulls every now and then, but those thoughts are easily subdued by thinking of the wedding gown, or the coming bachelor's party.

Interestingly, according to Paul's studies, these starter marraiges most often occur in first-born children of couples who have been divorced. Perhaps these first-borns feel that they must embark on the classic American dream path for middle-class white folks: go to college, meet someone, get a job, get married. Again, thankfully they're leaving out the "have a family" in those Rockwellesque plans of theirs.

If the reasons as to why these marraiges start and why they end perplex you as they do me, you may wish to read the excerpt from The Starter Marriage, which details Isabel's reasons for getting married when she, admittedly, knew that it would not work. Sadly, Isabel wanted to get married for all the wrong reasons. From her own words: "My friends were starting to get married, and they had had their boyfriends for years before. ... You're expected to get married, buy a house, have two kids. I think everybody gets caught up in that, and I definitely did." The signs of a bad marraige were plainly there: "I don't think we had any respect for each other. I didn't feel comfortable with him. I knew, pretty much right away, that something was definitely not right." However, Isabel quelled those thoughts, instead concentrating on her friends, many of whom also were getting engaged: "It's like this snowball effect. Once one person gets engaged, everybody has to get engaged. And then you get so wrapped up in whose ring is bigger and who's getting married where and how much everything costs." Isabel's starter marraige lasted a year.

I feel only pity for Isabel; she only hurt herself and her temporary husband. I feel anger toward those who go down the same path as Isabel - making irresponsible decisions, thinking of the moment instead of the commitment and the life after wedding, etc. - but manage to have a child before the marraige is over.

Worth checking out is the community discussion linked to from the article. Some of the choice comments include:

These Kids Do Not Understand the meaning of the word commitment. Unless, they can do that, they really should not bother getting married. Commitment means that neither spouse runs back home to Mommy and Daddy when they can't communicate intelligently with each other. It means that they work together to have a meaningful life together. It is work. If you don't like work, don't bother.
Nasr uddenHodja

Forget the starter marriage. Instead live together for at least three years (as if you were married) before getting even engaged, or until both persons reach the age of 28; whichever comes first. First of all, most people do not fully mature into their true selves until their late twenties at best. Second, the age of 28 gives both persons time to enjoy their youthful twenties and still have time to have children. Third, by forgetting the stupid idea of starter marriages, you'll save the cost of an engagement ring, a wedding, and divorce lawyers, which can make for a big house down payment in a later mature and successful marriage. Fourth, if you intentionally attempt a starter marriage, and then accidently have a baby...well now you're screwed. Fifth, most friends/relatives may be willing to travel cross country to attend your starter marriage wedding, but probably not your second marriage wedding. Sixth, if one of the partners has or acquires a lot of money or assets, say good-bye to 50% after the end of the starter marriage.
Cook ieMonster000198

These two comments typify my feelings on the matter pretty well. One interesting comment discusses the future of matrimony:
Matrimony has no future Young people today, more and more, are happily accepting that people have sex, live together, buy homes together, start families, commit to one another, and are accepted by their god without getting married. That wise attitude will be passed onto the next generation further freeing them to live as they choose. As future generations free themselves from the *moral* reasons to be married, they will soon free themselves of the *legal* reasons to be married also. They will ask their governments (which they are a part of) to simplify itself and remove the *legality* of marriage by eliminating tax breaks and insurance incentives to be married. With the moral and legal reasons for marriage eliminated the incentives and benefits to be married disappear also, which leaves the institution of marriage without a purpose or need.
x1x8 2
The article does end on a positive note. Those who have gone through starter marraiges have "the tools and experience needed to make the second trip down the aisle more lasting and rewarding." Of course, statistically speaking, those who have gotten divorced once are more likely to get divorced again, but hopefully these Gen Exers actually are learning from their mistakes and accepting fault, as opposed to blaming others and not taking responsiblity.

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Poll
How many times have you been married?
o Not yet 56%
o Once 27%
o Twice 1%
o Thrice 0%
o Will never get married 13%

Votes: 208
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o article over at ABCNews.com
o read an excerpt
o excerpt
o community discussion
o Nasr uddenHodja
o Cook ieMonster000198
o x1x8 2
o Also by skim123


Display: Sort:
Starter Marriages? | 236 comments (224 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Divorce has become too easy (3.20 / 10) (#6)
by barzok on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:03:49 PM EST

There are certainly legitimate grounds for ending a marriage. However, with so many states allowing "irreconcilable differences" as a reason, it's just too easy to get a divorce. That was a fine reason to use while begging mom & dad to get your own room away from your bratty younger sibling, but not when you're supposed to be a mature adult.

With Hollywood couples that younger people look up to (Tom Green & Drew Barrymore, for example) going splitsville after only a couple months, it just reinforces in them that it's OK to get married "for the hell of it."

It should be more work to get married and divorced. With a required number of counseling sessions/hours at each end. Help people who want to get married be sure they really should get married, and the same for divorces.

Another idea... (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by skim123 on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:15:18 PM EST

It should be more work to get married and divorced. With a required number of counseling sessions/hours at each end. Help people who want to get married be sure they really should get married, and the same for divorces

While this may be a good idea in theory, it of course would cost tax payers money, unless of course you had the proposed bride and groom pay for it. Of course liberals would have a field day with this, saying that it would be penalizing the lower class. While I am all for letting people do what they want, making their own mistakes, etc., is is disappointing to see these marraiges, especially when they culminate in the birth of a child.

One idea might be to force people to have to pay down a large chunk of change to get married, a deposit of sorts. Perhaps this cost could be based on their income. In any case, they couldn't get it back until they had been married for five years, or something. If they got divorced they would either loose it, or, if there were a child, it would go into a fund for them to access once they turned 18.

Of course such a proposition makes my libertarian skin crawl. I guess all we can realistically do is either accept this as a societal change or try to encourage societal norms to change where folks take this stuff more seriously.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Spouse abuse (3.25 / 4) (#18)
by Sunir on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:20:29 PM EST

Those rules are too simple. There are many legitimate reasons to end a marriage, like domestic abuse. Irreconcilable differences aren't a bad reason either, though I'm unsure if this means you don't have to go through a one year trial separation first. In any case, forcing people to be miserable for the rest of their lives because they've changed their minds doesn't make the world a better place.

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r
[ Parent ]

Divorce should be easy. (4.00 / 9) (#13)
by j1mmy on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:45:10 PM EST

It should be more work to get married and divorced. With a required number of counseling sessions/hours at each end.

No. The government should not, nor should it ever dictate who and who can't be married and divorced. It's a personal affair between individuals -- not a matter of state.

If I wake up in Vegas, hung over and married to three different strippers and a goat, I expect to be able to end those marriages the same day.

[ Parent ]
Unfortunately (4.00 / 4) (#21)
by Kalani on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:50:32 PM EST

Did you ever read the Odyssey? In one part of it, Odysseus, upon seeing that he's drawing near to the domain of the sirens, asks his crewmen to tie him to one of the masts of his ship and asks that they not untie him, no matter how much he pleads, until they have passed the sirens.

I think of divorce laws in much the same way (and I think that this is mostly why they're in place to begin with). In this case, the siren is a third party outside the marriage. Hormones prompt people to rash actions, and in the process of achieving those actions those people commit some really ridiculous rationalizations (similar to what some people do to get married in the first place).

A woman being beaten by her husband (or a husband being beaten by his wife in some cases), is obviously an intolerable situation. By "intolerable situation" here I mean that she should not even have to be in that house another day when such conditions are brought to light. On the other hand, a guy who's being nagged by his wife to take out the trash and spend some time with little Jimmy but who would rather be at the local Motel 6 banging his pretty coworker is NOT living in an intolerable situation (and there'd be two very upset people if he just up and vanished for seemingly no reason).

So if you could, theoretically, decide who could and who could not divorce, would you be so cavalier with dispensing those divorces? Well in one case you see police records of some serious abuse, and you would have no question about whether or not the woman should be let go (in fact you'd probably also call your large friend Bubba to possibly put the guy away in a dark hole for a while). In the other case, you see a seemingly functional family unit and a child whose security may be at stake. The woman claims that she has no idea why the man wants to divorce her, and the man says something like, "well I still love her but I'm just not in love with her anymore your honor." That line just screams infidelity, and you would probably do well for the sake of *everyone* involved if you "tied him to the mast" (as it were). That way, if a year or so down the line, it's still not working then you there is a lower probability that he's acting on the influence of his stupid infidelity (the hormone rush of the adulterous relationship would diminish a great deal after a year, most likely).

So I think that in the interest of social order, it is useful for the government (as a marriage-granting body) to allow or deny divorces (but I think that they should give you a time frame for reevaluation). If you don't agree, of course, just ask the lady you're "marrying" not to go through the whole official hassle. It's a small price to pay for a freedom that, in essence, the government isn't taking away from you to begin with (encouraging it through tax means is not a requirement ... you make a promise to commit to your family and in turn the government has some motivation to reward you -- since it's the gov't that would have to take care of your family if you ran after some dancer in Canada).

I hope my long ranty opinion helps.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
re: unfortunately (none / 0) (#89)
by j1mmy on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:09:47 AM EST

First off ...

Did you ever read the Odyssey? In one part of it, Odysseus, upon seeing that he's drawing near to the domain of the sirens, asks his crewmen to tie him to one of the masts of his ship and asks that they not untie him, no matter how much he pleads, until they have passed the sirens.

Your analogy is flawed. In this case, Odysseus made the decision himself to bind himself to the mast. His sailors, nor any third party, made the decision for him. It's not the government's place to lock a person into marriage -- that's something a spouse has to do for themselves, just as Odysseus bound himself to stay true to Penelope (and avoid wrecking his ship).

Granted, the interests of the spouse and children are definitely of importance. However, I don't see the legal binds of marriage being a disincentive to a husband or wife running off to a different city, state, or even country. You're not going to change attitudes and behaviour through legislation -- consider the drinking age or the war on drugs -- that's something people have to work out on their own.

If physical abuse is involved, then the abuser should definitely be locked away for a long time. If children are involved, then I'm not entirely sure keeping the unhappy couple together is the best choice (the child will likely pick up on the emotional distance between their parents, especially if the two bicker or fight constantly).

[ Parent ]
Feeding the trolls :( (none / 0) (#107)
by Kalani on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:23:54 PM EST

Your analogy is flawed. In this case, Odysseus made the decision himself to bind himself to the mast. His sailors, nor any third party, made the decision for him.

Uh, nobody forces you to get married either. I think you might have missed the point of my analogy.

It's not the government's place to lock a person into marriage -- that's something a spouse has to do for themselves, just as Odysseus bound himself to stay true to Penelope (and avoid wrecking his ship).

Except that he didn't do it himself, he asked his crewmen to do it. In the analogy, the government takes the part of the crewmen.

Granted, the interests of the spouse and children are definitely of importance. However, I don't see the legal binds of marriage being a disincentive to a husband or wife running off to a different city, state, or even country.

It raises the economic bar over which the spouse must be able to jump in order to get away with such an act. There are legal recourses for such a deadbeat even if the person runs off to another country.

You're not going to change attitudes and behaviour through legislation -- consider the drinking age or the war on drugs -- that's something people have to work out on their own.

That wasn't the point. The point was that two people will admit that they are stupid puppets of hormones to some degree. They attempt to fix themselves in a situation that will reduce the chances of those hormones playing havok with their lives. I am actually against the war on drugs (even though I think that people who use them are only hurting themselves -- drug laws should be opt-in).

If physical abuse is involved, then the abuser should definitely be locked away for a long time. If children are involved, then I'm not entirely sure keeping the unhappy couple together is the best choice (the child will likely pick up on the emotional distance between their parents, especially if the two bicker or fight constantly).

This is a bit off of the topic of my post, but I do agree on the physical abuse issue. On the topic of bickering, I don't think that a child should see two parents run from a situation that can be resolved either. If the two people loved each other once, I think that they can very likely get back to that point again. In any case, I think that a psychologist would be useful in this situation -- to attempt to figure out whether or not the pathologies of the two people are mutually destructive or not.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
even trolls have to eat! :) (none / 0) (#169)
by j1mmy on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:01:37 AM EST

Uh, nobody forces you to get married either. I think you might have missed the point of my analogy.

too much rum!

Except that he didn't do it himself, he asked his crewmen to do it. In the analogy, the government takes the part of the crewmen.

I think the analogy is woefully broken. Odysseus doesn't want to leave his marriage, but someone instigating a divorce does. Odysseus's wife certainly doesn't want to end the marriage, but she's not involved in this incident. The sirens really have no interest in Odysseys beyond killing him, whereas a Canadian dancer would probably want to keep him alive as a loyal and paying customer. Furthermore, comparing the seamen to a government that arbitrates over marriages and divorces is wholly invalid, since it's widely known that sailors frequent brothels and no government would have any need for prostitutes.

As for the rest of it, yes, there should be legal responsibility of all parties involved in a divorce. I just don't believe that barring a divorce from taking place is the right way to go about this. And counseling works best if participants are willing, but would still be useful.

[ Parent ]
An easy enough solution (none / 0) (#82)
by dasunt on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:56:46 AM EST

Would be a one-year waiting period before getting married. Such a waiting period would weed out those unstable enough not to stay together for a year.

Then again, my engagement is lasting about 6 months or so, so I'm breaking my own advice. :) But the relationship has lasted 4 years so far. Which might be one of the things we are forgetting - its hard to make a decision of commiting to one person for 50+ years when you have only 6 - 12 months of experience with that person. Being able to see each other go through crises, and being able to work through difficulties is very important for a relationship to work, with or without marriage.



[ Parent ]
shotgun marriages (none / 0) (#201)
by j1mmy on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 06:40:10 PM EST

I'll grant that a waiting period to get into marriage isn't necessarily a bad idea, but most couples (like yourself) already do with an engagement, their own decision. My girlfriend and I haven't discussed marriage yet (she's only a figment of my imagination, after all), but when we do, I'll definitely want to have a good long engagement. I think it's also good to move in together before marraige, to make sure you can actually stand living with your lover.

Unless children are involved, people that run off and get married on a whim and divorce out of boredom are only hurting themselves. More power to them. It's not the government's place to fill in for a couple's lack of common sense.

[ Parent ]
Hollywood couples... (3.33 / 3) (#52)
by ttfkam on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:30:26 AM EST

...are most certainly NOT representative of general society. In fact, very little regarding Hollywood has anything to do with general society.

You bring up Tom Green and Drew Barrymore. I could just as easily retort with Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. How about Elizabeth Taylor and her many husbands over the years?

And while we're talking about marriages and "irreconcilable differences," are people worried about these failed marriages for the couple's welfare or their own?

Whether there's a child involved is actually irrelevent if you stop and think. Is that child somehow better adjusted because the parents were never married in the first place, fight, and break up than if they were married, fight, and break up? How about if they're married, fight, and manage to stay together even when they make each other miserable? The inclusion of children in this argument is specious in this case. While an important topic, it is a different issue from whether or not the parents can get along, provide a nurturing environment, etc., and a different argument from the topic of this discussion, short term relationships typically without kids.

And in the cases of these so called "starter marriages," what business is it of your's? If they stay together, what business is it of your's? Are you and skim123 actually hurt by either decision or does it really just boil down to aesthetics? It doesn't look good to have that many divorces even though the couples are the only ones helping or hurting each other? God's will maybe? The sanctity of marriage, and all of that?

Now you want to set up some more "rules" so that people can better fit your definition of a potentially prosperous marriage or justifiable divorce? Who in the hell are you or anyone else to decide that for them? Should we just ban all marriages in Vegas outright?

And to echo the other "Gen-X" folks out there, other generations need to quit blaming us for everything they see wrong with society today. Remember the movie about divorce, "Kramer Vs. Kramer"? It won five academy awards that year including best picture. It seems that divorce was relevant to a lot of people at the time. Guess there were other folks going through the same thing and it touched a nerve. But not me or the other "Gen-X"ers out there. Personally, I hadn't given divorce much thought at all since I was only five years old.

Let's get something straight; the title of "Gen-X" did not come about because we in our generation didn't understand ourselves. We got dubbed "Gen-X" because other generations couldn't understand or relate to us. And rather than try to figure us out or, even better, let us be, a whole culture was formed to better alienate those kids who "watched that damned MTV all day" and "don't understand the value of an honest day's work" and "are dumber than we were" and "not as politically active and aware as we were" and on and on and on.

I heard a TV pundit say with a straight face that the inflated stock prices during the dot-com bubble were due to the "Gen-X"ers making all of those ill-advised trades.

Get a life and quit trying to mess with our lives.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Unworkable (none / 0) (#161)
by pyramid termite on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:44:09 PM EST

It should be more work to get married and divorced. With a required number of counseling sessions/hours at each end.

At least where divorce is concerned - there's nothing, short of house arrest, you can do to prevent someone from moving out and getting an apartment. Then what? "You two still have to attend 10 sessions before you can file for divorce?" Just think of how a vindictative spouse could use this to keep the other from being free.

Come to think of it, it's not such a great idea to require sessions for marriage. The end result may be that more people just shack up.

Of course, counseling's a good idea, but don't hold your breath waiting for people to adopt good ideas ...
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Just Gen-X (4.33 / 12) (#10)
by ucblockhead on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:26:37 PM EST

Is this really just a "Gen X" problem, or is this just a continuation of a trend that started in the late sixties with the baby-boomers? Divorce rates have been high for decades now.

Is this another "kids these days" article with baby-boomers complaining about the "Gen X" generation doing exactly what they did?

Oh, I dug up some real stats. That link doesn't have it, but the divorce rate today is currently 4.2 per 1000. That's down a bit, it peaked a bit at 5.1 around 1980.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

both.. (none / 0) (#63)
by lucid on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:00:16 AM EST

I'm not sure why this made front page...

[ Parent ]
The divirce trend (none / 0) (#77)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:48:59 AM EST

There was a show a a year or so ago on PBS about the statistics of the US population in, IIRC, 1900 vs 2000. Much more interesting than it sounds, btw. It pointed out that divorce rates began climbing in the 1920's, interrupted only by the Depression and WW2.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Preview is my friend... (none / 0) (#79)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:50:05 AM EST

"divirce". Ye Gods. Should be "divorce".

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Hmm... #237 (2.66 / 9) (#12)
by xriso on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:40:12 PM EST

I think that governments are blatantly violating the principle of Seperation of Marriage and State. This institutionalising of weddings is completely against the a-married people. Additionally, it is seen as completely okay to discriminate against people based on their marital status (there are so many forms that ask you for this information!).

I propose that we allow people to marry on their own rules. And furthermore, the government is heavily intervening in the freedom of family. For example, it is no longer allowed for one to heavily beat their children as an improvement encouragement technique. When will people learn that children are property of their parents? If we can make 'em, we can kill 'em. If they manage to run away and get a citizenship, then they survive!

Anyway, I bet all the "marry" types would want to have some laws just in case they decide to divorce. That's what contracts are for!
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Institution (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by John Thompson on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:26:53 PM EST

xriso wote:

I think that governments are blatantly violating the principle of Seperation of Marriage and State. This institutionalising of weddings is completely against the a-married people.

It cuts both ways, you know. Especially in this recession job market, employers are looking at getting more work out of fewer employees and if that means you need to stay past your 9-to-5, well that's way it is, bucko. Too bad if your kid has an orchestra concert tonight or soccer practice or help with their math homework or whatever. Make the choice: job or family, you can't have both. And if you made the choice back when the economy looked better, it's too late now: kids don't come with a money-back return policy.

Additionally, it is seen as completely okay to discriminate against people based on their marital status (there are so many forms that ask you for this information!).

The social institution of marriage can be seen as a formal recognition of commitment to each other and your family. That society should recognize this as a benefit seems reasonable to me, as emotionally and physically healthy children are essential to the continuation of society.

That said, I do not think that this formal commitment should be taken lightly. It is hard work staying married and raising a family. There are many times you feel you are in a no-win situation: if you do what your job demands, your family suffers, if you do what your family needs, your jobs suffers. It is not a picnic, xriso.

My wife and I lived together for 7 years before we finally decided to get married and have children. This was a conscious decision as we were unwilling to commit to raising a family until we felt we could live together well. We've been married for almost 17 years now and believe me, there is no preparation for raising a family short of actually raising a family. There are great rewards, but you are "on-call" for your family 24hx7d until your children leave home and can fend for themselves.

Finally, for the record, I fully support gay and lesbian marriages. I have known many such couples over the years and found them to be as productive and supportive of their families as any "straight" couple. As far as I'm concerned, marriage should be a social contract, and any religion that has a problem with a loving couple of any gender marrying isn't worth the dogma they stand on.



[ Parent ]
Sign of the times (3.42 / 14) (#14)
by jabber on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 09:58:48 PM EST

Starter Marriages are convenient. Life-Long commitments are outmoded traditions. Why not keep the old as long as it's good, but take the new as soon as it's better? It's the greedy algorithm, applied to matrimony.. So what?

Why lease a car? Why ask for stock options or signing bonuses when taking a new job? Why even consider a prenuptual agreement? Why take fertility drugs if the old-fashioned method doesn't work?

If you're opposed to starter marriages, don't have one. Counsel your friends if they consider one if you must, but really, whose business is it how someone chooses to live their life?

Putting down people who choose to make a lifestyle decision, such as getting into a 'starter marriage' is really no different than passing any sort of moral judgement. "Look at those two faggots, living in sin like that.. Shameful!!"

Starter Marriages are an adaptation made by the people who grew up in the 80's and 90's.. We saw our parents, lifers at big companies, get the shaft just before retirement.. We saw Jingoism and grew up under the shadow of the mushroom cloud. We came to terms that nothing, not even the Evil Empire or the marriages of most of our friends parents, can last.

We adapted this into our world view and now presume that it just won't last. We only half-jokingly look for a future ex-girlfriend, and wonder if we want our future children to spend every other weekend with 'that guy'.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

hmm, not quite the same (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by Kalani on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:31:46 PM EST

A relationship between two homosexual men harms noone. If a "starter marriage" harmed noone (and in many cases this is true), I personally wouldn't have a problem with it (nor would I have any business having a problem with it). The person who really gets hurt by this sort of thing is the child who is produced by it (if any children are produced). Raising a child requires a long-term commitment, and unfortunately birth is the time that some in these starter marriages finally see the commitment binding them to another person for a very very long time. Those who decide to leave at this point do a lot of damage to the new child.

So to sum it up, I think that "starter marriages" are great as a way to learn about relationships and how you fit into them (hell you have to learn it somewhere), but I think they're horrible places for childen to emerge from.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Harm shmarm... (3.50 / 4) (#25)
by jabber on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:00:16 PM EST

Whatever doesn't kill them, makes them more likely to have an attachment disorder and trouble with intimacy.. At first glance this may seem like a bad thing, but in a way, it's a bonus. By being unable to trust people, they'll be less likely to be hurt by them. By having trouble with intimacy, they'll be less likely to catch some disease.. Really, raising children in a broken home, especially these days, is the best thing parents can do for their children... Well, short of helping them build strong characters through regular beatings.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Go have a starter marriage, just don't procreate (3.50 / 2) (#26)
by skim123 on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:05:50 PM EST

In my piece I said that I pity those who do starter marriages, but it's their lives, they can do what they want. What I don't like is when someone goes half-hearted into child rearing, an endeavor that should never be half-hearted.

Of course, as another poster mentioned, the definition of a starter marriage, per the book I referred to, is one that produces no children, so perhaps this entire conversation is moot. (Although I assumed starter marriages, while rarely producing children, could still produce them and be considered "starters.")

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Who consciously chooses this? (4.57 / 7) (#37)
by DangerGrrl on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:53:19 AM EST

You missed an important point of the article that this story refers too.
In her book The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony author Pamela Paul defines starter marriages as first-time marriages that last five years or less and do not yield children. Obviously, no one thinks that they are embarking on a brief marriage on the way in, but Paul, an editor at American Demographics magazine, asserts that this type of marriage is a growing trend among Gen Xers.
Those that this article refers to still had the idea of "happily ever after" planted in their head from early childhood. The late 70's - Early 80's did not carry the social acceptablility of divorce, and this is the time span in which Gen-Xers and later were forming thier moral structure in childhood.
Again, from the article:
Starter marriages also often involve the first children of the divorced generation, Paul said. Though their parents got divorced, this group believes that they will not, though at the same time they realize it is a viable option
Yes, I am sure someone could rationally, coldly and calculatingly go into a marriage knowing in their hearts that it was just a spousal lease. Seems to work for many celebriaties who have money to burn. But the population entering these "starter marriages" does not have this kind of liquid capital to evaporate. Never mind the wedding costs, the hassle of a divorce and the money needed to get one is enough to promote better awareness of why marriages of this kind fail.
With their eyes fixed on the prize -- the wedding day and the reception -- they somehow miss the long-term commitment that is supposed to follow the walk down the aisle.
And I admit, I have often times fallen into this mentality. I wanted to marry one person so I could get health insurance, even though it didn't seem like he was the "forever" type of guy. Then I realized the insanity of marrying someone with the idea of "well if I find someone better, I can always get a divorce."

Since then I have familiarized myself with Alternatives to Marriage. I'm all for domestic partnership... now if only companies would allow them for hetero couples as well.

I have also come up with a few guidelines based on statistical research and personal observation as to when I can even consider marrying and starting a family with someone:
  1. We must be strong as individuals in order to be unbreakable as a team.
  2. We must be living together (not just dating), relativly happily, for 5 years.
  3. We must be able to communicate.
  4. We must be able to tell each other everything, even the painful stuff.
  5. We must be open to the possibilities of changing tastes.
  6. The sex should still be good, if not fantastic, after 5 years.
  7. We must be in love.
Yes, Love is last on the list. You can love someone and still be really crappy for each other. Contrary to popular fiction, love is not enough to keep a foundation from crumbling.
Now if only someone told this to us when we were 3 years old...

[ Parent ]
Insanity of it? (3.75 / 4) (#109)
by jabber on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:29:57 PM EST

There's nothing insane about a starter marriage, provided the people involved are in agreement that that is what it is. Or, you can try for forever, but then come to the agreement that it simply isn't working. Ending what isn't working, once you come to terms with that fact, is simply sane; it is insane to persist at a dead end. (The Holy Grail plague scene, and the Norwegian Parrot come to mind, don't they?)

As other posters pointed out, it fucks up the kids, but hey, really.. Isn't that sentiment also a manifestation of traditional values? Why not question those as well? Very many people I know are products of broken homes. The status quo calls this 'unfortunate' and says that these kids are 'damaged' by the expereince.. But really, are they?

I know, screaming "Darwinism" in any room where people actually believe in their opinions is a sure way to become a crispy critter.. Oh well. It's been my personal experience, that the people who grew up sans parent(s), in a difficult social situation, or in some other 'abnormal' context, have turned out stronger for the expereince - albeit they are exponentially more angstful than their 'well adjusted' peers.

Anyhow, children aside, a starter marriage is a perfectly acceptable thing. Even if you do not go into it with a short term end in mind. People buy starter homes all the time. They get starter jobs, sometimes expecting them to be careers. A marriage is an experience, and if it doesn't work out, you lick your wounds, sign your papers and part ways.

There is something implicit in your post.. That you expect and intend for marriage to last forever. But you have no guarantee whatsoever that it will, can or should. Accepting the concept of a starter marriage as a valid choice is a step towards openning your eyes to the possibility of it not working out. A starter marriage, as an idea, may not be right for you, and that's fine.. But digging in your heels until you are 'sure' it will work, only to find out that it doesn't, is a lot more painful.

Personally, the more I think of it, the more I like the concept of handfasting. You swear to a year and a day, and if you like it, you rinse, lather and repeat till death do us part, and all that.. And if you don't, you don't. And if you really don't, you leave whenever you feel that it is absolutely necessary to do so (as in the case of abuse).

I'm not arguing that starter marriages are necessarily good, or that everyone should have one as a proof of concept. Not at all. I am saying though that the phenomenon (I love how all changes in traditional trends and values are called phenomena) is clearly the result of the "Me First" generation that grew up in the 70's and 80's. All those displaced, 'disenfranchised' latch-key kids that resulted from those times are now doing the best they can. They're fully used to uncertainty, and can more easily accept change on the level of baseline values.

To some people, marriage is a legal contract, with certain terms. If those terms are not honored, or the partnership has outgrown its usefulness, it is dissolved. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. It tweaks people's morality and conventions, but hey, all's fair in Love, War and Business. If people want to be DINKS, fine! Who are we to tell others how they should live their lives?

There's nothing 'insane' about making rational choices. There is nothing 'insane' about realizing the pragmatic value of the married legal status. And you are right, Love should come last. People who marry for Love are setting themselves up for failure. Marriage is a strategic maneuver, not an empassioned proof of devotion.

You do not even have to like, or even see, the person you are married to. Hell, used to be that marriage was little more than a guarantee of a land deal or military alliance, for those who could afford such things. That and a means of propagating one's line of inheritance in a way that was acceptable to Big Brother Church. We've evolved.

In today's world, with open relationships, medical insurance, expensive child care, complex tax laws, expensive homes, and many other modern conveniences, marriage is more of a pragmatic assurance of legal recourse than anything else.

I posit that those who go through the motions of a starter marriage, intentionally or as a learning experience, are better equipped for life in the modern world than those who hold out past their 'marketable years' (past which they have to settle or be alone - in the marrital sense) or hang on tooth an nail to a failed marriage because of some promise they made to their imaginary friend.

At present, I see Marriage in very much the same terms as I see Citizenship. It's a legal status change what opens certain possibilities. As a Citizen, I can own a handgun and vote.. If neither of these are important to me, why become a Citizen? I can marry someone who will agree with me that marriage is nothing more than a legal state, and we go on living separate, 'single' lives, but file jointly..

Or I can marry because everyone else is jumping off that bridge as well, and only afterwards realize that it really isn't for me. Reason and contemplate as I might, I really can't know for sure how it will be until I do it. I can suppose, I can project, I can research my friends lives, but I won't know until I do it.. And if it really isn't right, it ends. Hence your 'Starter Marriage'.

Now, what "it really isn't right" means is wholly subjective. For children of "Me First" parents, that line is much more banal than for others.. Can you blame them?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

The tangental ravings of a lunatic mind. (none / 0) (#166)
by DangerGrrl on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:15:58 PM EST

Amazing how you can repeat what I just said in trying to disagree with it. It would seem to me that you don't know what to think on this issue.

What you suggest, that a "starter marriage" is ok as long as all paries agree that it is a "starter marriage" is NOT a "starter marriage" as defined by the article. That would be a personalized social contract between two people, and would need a prenuptual agreement so that one party is not taken to the cleaners by the other. And even that isn't an assurance. Divorce costs money... Alimony can last longer than a marriage, just ask some people who have gone through it and have to pay 1/4th of their paycheck to someone who wants nothing to do with them.

And to further the point of semantics: There is no vow of "Till death do us part" in a handfasting. The closest to that is a vow of "For as long as the love shall last." (Which can actually be more difficult to break from than the "death" thing.) If they swore "till death do us part" there would be no need for a 'lather, rince, repeat' every year and a day.

[ Parent ]
Oy vey! (none / 0) (#168)
by jabber on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:27:09 PM EST

I thought I had made it sufficiently clear in my post that a starter marriage was of value as a learning experience regardless of whether someone entered into it recognizing it for what it is, or believing it to be 'for ever' and then walking away with a valuable learning experience.

Yes, divorce costs money. Yes, alimony payments can drag on for years if one does not have a good enough lawyer in the divorce proceedings. What does that have to do with the experience gained in having been married? It's a separate issue altogether.

As for the bit about "till death do us part", I'm well aware that it isn't part of handfasting, if it were, I would have put it in quotes when I made mention of it. I did not, to illustrate the ongoing, renewable, and opportunistically convenient nature of the ritual. The triviality of an annually renewable 'commitment' is precisely what 'rinse, lather, repeat' was intended to mock.

Sounds like you're cruising for an argument for reasons completely unrelated to the topic of this discussion. Thank you for playing though.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

if the decision were rational.. (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by ChannelX on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:59:11 PM EST

I might agree with what you've said. If, however, people are going into marriages for the reasons the author quoted said they were that is not rational, real-life thought.

I've been married almost four years now. In the beginning I had no idea how hard it would be and I lived with my wife for two years before we were married. Apparently the people involved in these 'starter marriages' are thinking that marriage is some fairy tale thing. It isn't. It is a *lot* of hard work that becomes even more so if you have children involved. I'd be curious to know the length of former relationships these folks had prior to their 'starter marriage'. It really takes a long-term relationship before being married to have any clue as to just how hard marriage can be.

I make no moral judgements about anyone involved in a starter marriage. I *do* make a judgement that people need to really stop acting like marriage is easy and stop reacting to what everyone else is doing. Getting married because your friends are getting married is just plain stupidity. It is not a valid reason.

[ Parent ]

sigheh... (3.40 / 5) (#15)
by core10k on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:10:59 PM EST

Congrats. You've only just discovered something that's a a few hundred years (or is it thousand?) old. http://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/tmpmrig.htm (skim123, the tone of your entire article is meant to make the reader assume that this is something new, which couldn't be more wrong.)



Oh dear... (4.00 / 6) (#16)
by br284 on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:15:21 PM EST

... I fit all of the criteria for someone who is going to have a starter marriage. My parents are divorced and remarried (my mother twice), and I (hopefully) will become one of thise high-powered Gen-Xers once I graduate. Hmm. Adding further fuel to the fire is the fact that I don't want to be much older than thirty once I start raising a family. Oh dear...

However, I do wonder one thing. My parents had me back in the 1970's. My father barely finished high school, and my mother barely finished 9th grade. I've been a child of a bad marriage and I have been keeping notes since I've been around five about all the things that I'll do right that my parents did wrong. I guess that's one of the reasons that that I find the prospect of raising a family to be attractive -- at least once in my life, I'll belong to a "normal" family unit. I also find the prospect of coming home and spending the weekends and evenings alone after work to be an empty existance.

Should I worry? I have no idea. On one hand, I think that I have seen enough to know how to pick a compatible person and deal with a family once one rolls around. On the other hand, I've seen so many unions split, how am I sure that I really know? :-P Thinking about this stuff is such a pain in the ass, but better thinking than not, right?

-Chris

PS. I find the whole prospect of starter marriages atrocious. (Nice article, BTW.)

Sounds like you're thinking about it (none / 0) (#40)
by sgp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:19:00 AM EST

which is more than I suspect many of these "starter-marriers" do.
I think we all make notes on what our parents did wrong, and swear to not make the same mistakes ourselves - in their relationship, and in their parenting. Murphy's Law tells us that even if we succeed in avoiding our parents' mistakes, however, we're guaranteed to make our own mistakes.
I think the key is to be self-aware, able to realistically evaluate a situation, and ourselves. I've not met anybody capable of doing that, of course, but this is one instance where it's not succeeding which matters, but trying.

Thinking about this stuff is such a pain in the ass, but better thinking than not, right?
I think so ...

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

nonsense (4.00 / 3) (#117)
by ChannelX on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:11:15 PM EST

I've been a child of a bad marriage and I have been keeping notes since I've been around five about all the things that I'll do right that my parents did wrong.
Stop right there. Throw out the lists. If you're going to try that hard to avoid what you're parents did you're most likely just going to repeat exactly what they did or worse. The best bet is to go it on your own without your lists and try to do what you think is right....not just what you think is the opposite of what your parents did that was wrong.
I guess that's one of the reasons that that I find the prospect of raising a family to be attractive -- at least once in my life, I'll belong to a "normal" family unit.
Also nonsense. Forget about anything normal...even with quotes. It doesn't exist. This is one of the huge mindfucks of society....that there is some norm that we can all live up to. Every family is dysfunctional in some way. If there is anything such as a norm that is it. Trying to be "normal" is what causes lots of problems in people's lives. Trying being yourself first.
I also find the prospect of coming home and spending the weekends and evenings alone after work to be an empty existance.
For God's sake then don't get married. Not until you've worked that issue out at least. That is not a reason to get married. Better to get out and get active socially in whatever way you see fit. Marriage is not some cure-all for these types of things. People are social animals. If you find that what you said is true then you have a lot of work ahead of you. Get busy....don't get married. It will not solve that problem.
Thinking about this stuff is such a pain in the ass, but better thinking than not, right?
Not necessarily.

[ Parent ]
kids (3.25 / 8) (#22)
by turmeric on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:56:46 PM EST

ahhh, what can you do? they come they go, they think they know what love is, but they dont. they make promises, they break them, they mean well, they hurt each other, what can you do? hold them tight love them wipe their tears away kiss their forehead give them a hug. let them know it will be ok.

Maybe it's your lack of experience. (3.92 / 13) (#23)
by jungleboogie on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:57:57 PM EST

I would guess that many of the people here posting self-righteous messages about the sanctity of marriage and how it is a complete union that is forever have little or no experience in actual long-term relationships. I think many people make the mistake of getting married too soon, without understanding what they want out of the relationship. Many more get into relationships, don't marry, and get out safely. You see, people build ideas about what THEY think a relationship is about, and about what THEY ultimately expect from their partner. The first major relationship that we have tends to completely reshape our ideas about what we expect from our partner and what we are really after. Complete transformation. Some people make the mistake of having this transformation as their first marriage, which is almost always a bad idea. Sorry, it just doesn't work out like it should, folks, but don't blame the divorcees. It is all about growing into a mature adult. When you are 19, or 22, or even 25, you may have no idea what you are after. You may be in a complete illusion about what you think a marriage is. Wake up white people, this is Daniel Carver, P O Box 466 Oakwood Georgia 30566!!

Eh? (none / 0) (#41)
by sgp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:24:57 AM EST

Sorry, it just doesn't work out like it should, folks, but don't blame the divorcees. It is all about growing into a mature adult. When you are 19, or 22, or even 25, you may have no idea what you are after.

But the divorcees are the ones who have walked into something when they had no idea what they were after... Who are you saying we should blame (if blame must be laid)?

Personally, I'm of the opinion that if people with no idea are going into it, it's up to those around them who care for them to help them avoid going into a wrong marriage.
If you're not saying that (which you don't explicitly say, anyway), what are you saying?

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

No blame. (none / 0) (#135)
by jungleboogie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:39:39 PM EST

I am saying there is no reason to blame anyone. This is a social problem. If the people around you can't (or won't) help, then so be it. This is the way we have come to live.

[ Parent ]
Although... (none / 0) (#232)
by sgp on Tue Feb 05, 2002 at 09:25:35 PM EST

We can't just lie down and say, "This is screwing up peoples' lives, but that's the way things are these days" - what ideas do people have to improve this situation?

For example, is the "Traditional" approach better than the modern way? I suspect that it forces people into marriages they've not thought out...

Is living together better? I feel that it's pretend-responsiblity where the participants learn little about what they may be getting into, and offer each other no security.
Of course, the word "better" is highly subjective and emotive - which is why I've used it, of course :-)

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Isn't there a tautology here somewhere? (3.00 / 7) (#24)
by chungyc on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 10:58:25 PM EST

defines starter marriages as first-time marriages that last five years or less and do not yield children
as the stats have shown, these "starter marraiges" rarely result in children

I'm really confused here. Don't starter marriages by definition result in no children? A reference which shows that first time marriages which ends in divorce within five years usually result in no children would be nice, even if it's just mentioning that it's something from the book.

As a side note, you should consider the possibility that it is precisely because these so-called "starter marriages" yield no children that they end in early divorces ...



Children (2.00 / 2) (#30)
by askani on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:19:52 AM EST

So in your opinon (re: Side Note) is that having children would make a marriage successful? That if the parents are having problems making a comitment to each other, that having a further comitment, a child, will help the situation?

[ Parent ]
I have no opinion (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by chungyc on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:25:20 AM EST

No. It's just that the article offers no evidence whatsoever on which way the causal chain goes: does the starter marriage attitude result in no children, or does no children result in a starter marriage? In fact, there's not even any support for the assertion that there are no children in almost all short-lived first-time marriages...



[ Parent ]
Three step marriages (3.50 / 8) (#27)
by lucidvein on Sun Jan 27, 2002 at 11:19:07 PM EST

Around ten years ago I recall reading about an organized three step marriage system. The point was to allow for the changes in relationships while still continuing care for children and community standing.

The first step was the matching of a sexually active youth with an adult of the community. Now by youth they weren't strictly going by American standards of 18 year old and above consent, but any mentally and mature young adult. This first bond provided the adult with a young, physically active mate. The adult woman in her sexual prime was able to teach and enjoy the pleasures of her partner's libido. The adult male had a fertile partner which could offer him offspring. The youth in return was enabled to move out of their childhood home, into a stable household where they could become equal members.

The second step was the same but reversed. Having been involved for a decade or so with an older partner the young adult, now matured and capable within their own family, found a suitable younger partner with whom to begin a new cycle.

The third stage was the unification of elder partners moving into an equal relationship with someone of their generation. Having spent a few decades raising children or having them, maintaining a household and career, the extended family could be considered whole and a more personal marriage of intellects was sought.

There were several other psychological factors to the system, but that is the basic idea... As I reread, it sounds very sex based, but then I guess that is still a very significant factor isn't it? At least until we are picking out the color of our children's eyes down at the clinic...

I Had a Similar Idea (4.00 / 1) (#205)
by snowlion on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 06:53:28 AM EST

Slightly different:

When boys/girls are somewhere around 14 or 15, they can get involved in a romance with an older woman or man around the age of 30, who may or may not be married, provided all parties consent. The older person teaches the younger person about relationships, the working world, and life in general. These relationships would be active for about 10 years.

Where did you read that idea?

I came up with it by observing a girl who did it, and it was very good for her; She was changed very positively by the experience, and continued her relationship with the man even after she started looking for a new boyfriend, and even after she hooked up with a new boyfriend. Everyone seems to be fine with it, and its worked out well for everyone. Everyone benefited.


--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Some news rag (none / 0) (#213)
by lucidvein on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 12:20:39 AM EST

Don't recall exactly what paper it was in, but some weekly or monthly paper back in 1990 or so... Might have been an early edition of the Stranger before it went tabloid or the possibly UW Daily. Too bad there are no online archives from that far back. Definately read like someone's psychology paper turned into an op/ed piece, but the idea always stuck with me. I even remember where I was eating when I read it, but don't recall anything else but the gist of the story. Funny thing memory...

I've also just seen many atypical relationships and extended family systems work because people really just have to deal with each other's kids. They make it work.

On a broad view of things, I suppose it would make sense that older partners have a lot to teach someone younger. But it really isn't as reliable as we'd like to believe. Experience leads to maturity, not just age. So my personal belief is that even though a structured marriage system might work for some, it wouldn't have any great effect on the success of interpersonal relationships. We're better off just teaching people how to handle conflict in relationships and how to address personal desires and committments.

[ Parent ]
I've *almost* been there before (4.37 / 8) (#28)
by willie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:07:23 AM EST

I've been engaged once already and I'm very serious with my present girlfriend. I love her like crazy, but only recently have I realised that there's no way I'm going to marry her for at least 5 years.

I see these starter marriages happen all around me too, it's a pattern that people get in to. The simple answer is naivity. If you can convince yourself that you love someone enough, then marriage is just the next step. It's fun to 'play grown-ups', and people in their early 20's are the most likely to do it. I got engaged not just because I was in love, but because I was in love with the idea of being in love.

I was in love, and people telling me to wait only made me want to get married to prove them wrong. You can't force people to grow up, and that's the real problem.

Me Too .... (none / 0) (#39)
by sgp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:03:20 AM EST

I was with one girl for 3 years, we talked occasionally about marriage, and could well have done had circumstances been different - we were both studying, had no money, were staying in different parts of the country a lot, etc....

Phew! What a save! I learned a lot about her since we split up, and she ended up having a baby, marrying the father, and being seperated before the daughter's first birthday. What happened after that, I don't know.

I met a wonderful woman, who I went out with for 18 months, and have now been married to for nearly the same amount of time.

It does sound like fuddy-duddy advice, but if it's going to work, it's worth waiting for.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Holy high-and-mighty, Batman! (4.27 / 11) (#29)
by Greyjack on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:14:50 AM EST

How many times have you been married?

Not yet - 63 %
Once - 9 %
Twice - 3 %
Thrice - 3 %
Will never get married - 21 %

Huh, 84% of y'all have never been (or aren't presently) married. If you aren't, how can you seriously comment on issues of commitment and divorce? I'm telling you, Sparky, marriage ain't like you think.

Question: If you're married, and you've realized "oh shit, this is *not* gonna work", what's the "responsible" thing to do? Stick it out anyway?

--
Here is my philosophy: Everything changes (the word "everything" has just changed as the word "change" has: it now means "no change") --Ron Padgett


Responsibility Is: (3.00 / 4) (#35)
by sgp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:48:33 AM EST

Question: If you're married, and you've realized "oh shit, this is *not* gonna work", what's the "responsible" thing to do? Stick it out anyway?

The responsible thing to do is realise that it's not going to work *before you enter into it*.

Sure, that's not easy, but it's a reasonable thing for Isabelle to have realised in the article.

Since these 20-somethings don't seem to have a realistic view of marriage, I believe that the parents and friends of these people have a huge responsibility to help them analyse what they're getting into, before it's too late.

Many Churches require the couple to go through some kind of marriage-preparation course, which can help with this. Many couples resent this "intrusion", but go through with it because they want a Church wedding.....

Here in the UK, we seem to be going into a situation where couples can get married at home, or anywhere they want. This seems to be adding to the trivialisation of marriage, though of course in some situations can be useful to couples who want a particular type of wedding.

Personally, I've been married about 18 months now, I'm 28, my wife is slightly older (but I won't be indescrete ;-), we feel that we've seen enough of life to know what we were getting ourselves into, and are happy that we did not marry younger (especially since we'd not have married each other if we had!!!)

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

84% of the readers, not writers (none / 0) (#55)
by ivk on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:06:41 AM EST

Just a statistical nitpick:

The people who read the article and answer the poll are one group. The people who write comments are another. They are not the same population.

[ Parent ]

Re: most not married (3.00 / 1) (#58)
by ttfkam on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:26:29 AM EST

If 84% of y'all have never been (or aren't presently) married, it means that the topic for this discussion is flawed and people ARE looking before they leap with regards to marriage.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Commenting on Commitment... (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by darthaggie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:36:52 AM EST

If you aren't, how can you seriously comment on issues of commitment and divorce?

So, if I read you right, you're saying people shouldn't get married unless they're already married?

Holy Cats!

However, as others have alluded, one does NOT have to be married to make a comittment. I've made a comittment to my family and my friends. Voluntarily. And sometimes that means sacrifice on my part. Or on their part. But not for me or them, but for the sake of the relationship.

But don't tell me I can't comment on such issues.


I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

You hit the nail on the head. (2.25 / 8) (#31)
by slick willie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:21:15 AM EST

pile of no responbility-taking [sic] horseshit
Thanks to the touchy-feely morally weak world that the boomers have created for us, it's acceptable. It's OK for you to move on if you "feel" unhappy. I mean, you deserve it, right?

There is a reason that marriage is institutionalized. It provides value to society, in that the familial unit is stable, and the end result is usually good citizens who respect one another, accept responsibility for their actions, and can be taken at their word.

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but we live in a society where the President of the United States received a hummer from a girl half his age, lied about it under oath and, in the end, his wife stuck up for him in public, saying he was "abused" as a child -- thereby relieving him of any culpability in the matter.

Of course, Gen X'ers, and Gen Y'ers got that message loud and clear. Do what you want to whoever you want when you want, and you don't have to take responsiblity for it. It's not your fault, it has to be your partner's fault, or your parents, or your shrink.

Another thing: Don't blame your father's company (as some poster did), for crying out loud. Just because his job didn't reward him for thirty years of commitment, doesn't in any way apply to starting a family. Work is a means to an end, and that end is your family. I'm in a job now that I moderately enjoy, and will probably carry me for thirty years, or until retirement, whichever comes first. But my crowning achievement is my family. In 30 years, the greatest compliment I hope to have is not anything from my co-workers, but I hope that one day my son will say, "Thanks to you, Dad, I learned what it means to be a man." I recently realized something about my own father, who went through a thankless 30-year service anniversary. He went to work every single day because he wanted us to be in food, clothing, and shelter. He didn't particularly like what he was doing, but he did it for us.

I took the vows, and what would it teach my son and my daughter if I left when the going got rough? It would basically say that when I said, "For better or worse," I really meant, "Well, at least until it gets bad enough that I want to leave." That's a good lesson to pass along, isn't it?

I'm rapidly approaching my 8th year of marriage, and it hasn't been an easy road. We've had problems, setbacks, and other things happen to us, but we've stuck them out, and it has made us stronger. I don't really see much of me as being myself anymore, but I am rather a part of something bigger, and more important, and that is my family.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

Sadly (3.66 / 3) (#46)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:05:35 AM EST

In 30 years, the greatest compliment I hope to have is not anything from my co-workers, but I hope that one day my son will say, "Thanks to you, Dad, I learned what it means to be a man."

How will you feel if and when he says "Stop being such a fucking martyr, and stop telling me how to live my life, Dad"?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

In that case, (4.00 / 2) (#51)
by Kalani on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:30:16 AM EST

He'd wait for the kid to grow up and meet some really demented people, like yourself Mr. Montoya, and then the kid would pull his father aside (at some large family reunion where everyone is reasonably happy), and he'd say, "Dad, I know that things weren't always perfect. Hell, after all that I've gone through with my family, I'm surprised that you didn't screw up more often. But dad, I just wanted to thank you for not letting me become an adequacy editor."

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Bwaahaahaaaaa! (none / 0) (#130)
by jabber on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:41:02 PM EST

Thanks. That is all.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Seen "The Breakfast Club" lately? (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by ttfkam on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:11:25 AM EST

"No, these kids turned on me...this is the part that wakes me up in the middle of the night; that when I get old, these kids are gonna take care of me."

"I wouldn't bet on it."

----------

Now then, on to your Clinton reference...

Let's look at things from another angle. A man got a blow job from a consenting, adult woman. That man was married.

The responsibility begins and ends with the husband, the wife, and the other woman. It is NOT the business of anyone else. Hillary Clinton had the option of divorce. Well actually, she (and Bill) always had the option, but in reference to the blow job(s), she had reason for divorce. She didn't opt for it. End of discussion. Yes, he lied about it under oath. Then again, he lied about something that he should never have been asked in the first place.

If he is remembered for doing a good job or a bad job as president, it should not be dependent on the amount of women from whom he received sexual gratification. Once again, it is the concern of the man, the woman he married, and the other woman.

For the record, had he admitted to getting a blow job in the first place, the right wing still would have tried to crucify him. Any beliefs to the contrary I attribute to naiveté.

With regards to these failed role models, is there anyone in the audience who actually believes that Reagan and the elder Bush were actually, completely in the dark about Iran-Contra? Bush was CIA director when the whole operation started. Or were they just duped by the people they should have been managing? How about the general incursions by the U.S. into Nicaragua at the time which were decried around the world as illegal and wrong. What about Oliver North who was "just following orders." Assuming that excuse is acceptable, why weren't the people who gave the orders punished? And the hostages in Iran who, while watching time run out on Carter's term, were released exactly when Reagan took office? That wouldn't have anything to do with a certain $40 million dollar contribution on the condition that they be released after Reagan took office. Or how about the 225 people in the Reagan administration who were arrested or indicted for breaking the law and/or violating the ethics code.

I apologize for the rant, but personally, I prefer the guy who gets blow jobs than the one who trades weapons and drugs in the name of patriotism. Your choice of sig and references to "moral courage" and Reagan in the same sentence struck me as ironic.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
I just realized... (5.00 / 1) (#57)
by ttfkam on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:21:18 AM EST

With the following statements in mind:
Thanks to the touchy-feely morally weak world that the boomers have created for us
Of course, Gen X'ers, and Gen Y'ers got that message loud and clear
and considering statements like the following:
In 30 years, the greatest compliment I hope to have is not anything from my co-workers, but I hope that one day my son will say, "Thanks to you, Dad, I learned what it means to be a man."
How old are you? I'm assuming early thirties. Which makes you smack dab in the middle of "Gen-X". Do you feel that you can "do what you want to whoever you want when you want, and you don't have to take responsiblity for it"? No? Then stop assuming that every other "Gen-X" feels that way as well.

Irresponsible behavior was not discovered by recent generations and nobility of spirit is certainly not monopolized by previous generations.


If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

As long as we're at it... (none / 0) (#159)
by slick willie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:30:33 PM EST

Irresponsible behavior was not discovered by recent generations and nobility of spirit is certainly not monopolized by previous generations.
Since the article itself seemed to paint in broad strokes, I didn't see any reason not to do the same.

If $DEITY didn't want us to generalize, he wouldn't have invented generalizations.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]

Again, marriage not necessary (3.00 / 1) (#71)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:12:29 AM EST

There is a reason that marriage is institutionalized. It provides value to society, in that the familial unit is stable, and the end result is usually good citizens who respect one another, accept responsibility for their actions, and can be taken at their word.

Let's examine this. You imply that marriage results in a stable "familial unit." In that you didn't specify a definition for this term, I'm going to assume you refer to the traditional, nuclear family. How exactly does marriage (a legal transaction) cause this structure to become stable? Considering the statistics I've seen and witnessed with my own eyes, I'd say this claim is untrue. Most marriages fail for one reason or another. Many involve physical and/or emotional abuse. Granted, these are marriages that should have never occurred, but they did and it didn't help matters any.

Next you imply that marriage ultimately creates good citizens. How exactly? Do the courts wave some magic wand that reduces the possibility of a married person from breaking the law?

Both of these things can be achieved without marriage. Why then get married?

[ Parent ]

Social Pressure (3.00 / 1) (#160)
by slick willie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:34:38 PM EST

Back when marriage was more sanctified, there was more pressure from outside, from society in general, to be more responsible both inside and outside your home.

I'm not a pollyanna about what went (and still goes on) behind closed doors. However, it is not the fault of marriage, in and of itself. It's about people being in bad situations. All of those things would happen without marriage.

My point is basically the same as yours -- if the marriage is just a silly government contract in your eyes -- then why bother, even with a "practice marriage." Myself, I take it seriously, as a contract not only in the eyes of the law, but as a contract with society.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]

What's society got to do with it? (none / 0) (#211)
by cyberlife on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:47:05 PM EST

Personally, I don't see why society has to be involved. If two people commit to one another (legally or otherwise) what does society have to do with it? Is the entire neighborhood hopping in bed and having a big orgy? If two people choose to spend the rest of their lives together, that's between them and them. Hopefully it will improve their short time on this planet. Society on the other hand should neither benefit nor suffer as a result.

[ Parent ]
Bah. I find this comment annoying. (4.00 / 2) (#121)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:26:09 PM EST

I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but we live in a society where the President of the United States received a hummer from a girl half his age, lied about it under oath and, in the end, his wife stuck up for him in public, saying he was "abused" as a child -- thereby relieving him of any culpability in the matter.

I dont mean to beat a conservative hypocrite, but we live in a society that tried to impeach a president because he did something that isn't illegal, and lied only to protect his private life. Now. Newt Gingrich, if he uses taxpayer's money to sell his book for profit, that's fine. I mean. Stealing money isn't immoral, right?

You know what... that whole Clinton-Lewinsky thing? The whole world was laughing at the US. Not because our president was corrupt, but because our nation looked like a seething mass of weak, puritanical, naive hypocrites.

What you really want is your son to grow up and tell you:

Thanks for making me just like you
Typically egocentric. You just want your kids to have your values. They are to be young copies of you, so you can feel immortal. When I have kids (which I would much rather be females -- they break less furniture), I want them to tell me:
Thanks for teaching me to think for myself
Part of the things that you seem to hate so much is the idea that people think so much more independantly now. They dont just do what the Bible, or the Koran, or Ronald Reagan (a man who never lied, right) tells them to. I'm annoyed by the lack of responsibility that some people take for their lives, but really, children are the responsibility here, not the silly idea of marriage. Take care of the kids. Marriage optional. Ditto for blowjobs.

[ Parent ]
What I'd want my kids to tell me... (4.00 / 1) (#148)
by Karellen on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:10:07 PM EST

...were I to have them.

Thanks for teaching me to think for myself. Having done that, and rebelled against everything else you taught me as a teenager, I've ended up just like you, having come to the same conclustions about life as you did, but completely independently.



Is that a little too introspective? :-/


[ Parent ]
It happens.. (none / 0) (#163)
by slick willie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:55:40 PM EST

...and that is exactly what happened to me!

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
Gingrich was wrong (3.00 / 1) (#162)
by slick willie on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:54:30 PM EST

Pure and simple. Don't equate being a conservative (small C) with a being a Republican, or a Christian -- all of which you seem to assume. There is certainly hypocrisy in any position in the left-to-right spectrum.
You just want your kids to have your values.
Well, duh. What's so wrong about that? Is it that you think that conservatives are generally closed-minded and intolerant? What makes your value system better than mine? Should I raise them on your value system? I arrived at my conclusions by doing my own thinking -- but I did have a foundation upon which to base it.
I'm annoyed by the lack of responsibility that some people take for their lives, but really, children are the responsibility here, not the silly idea of marriage. Take care of the kids. Marriage optional.
We're agreed to a point. Children are what is important, and I have arrived at the conclusion that a two-parent househould is going to give them the best advantage when they get out in the real world. Feminist dogma aside, having a committed man around the house is almost always a Good Thing(tm).

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
OT (sorta): Marriage and child-raising (4.00 / 1) (#188)
by glothar on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:32:26 PM EST

Well, duh. What's so wrong about that? Is it that you think that conservatives are generally closed-minded and intolerant? What makes your value system better than mine? Should I raise them on your value system? I arrived at my conclusions by doing my own thinking -- but I did have a foundation upon which to base it.

First: this has nothing to do with conservativism vs liberalism, my first point was just to show that all sorts of government officials are immoral, and many more than Bill Clinton. Second, conservatives, are by definition, less apt to change, at least in my experience. Conservatives are also more likely to support the inclusion of Christianity in the government. Not by definition, but by pattern. Most strongly Christian people tend to be conservatives.

I grew up in a very conservative place (North Dakota). I hated it there. Parents there try very hard to instill their values in their children. Stuff like "Homosexuals are less than human" and "Jews shouldn't be trusted" and "Blacks are dumb". Granted, these are the worst examples. But I know several women who are very litterally scared of having sex because their parents taught them it was evil. Not wrong, evil.

These are very old ideas. Ideas should change. Kids are natures way of letting the human race change. If I have daughters and they want to convert to Buddhism and marry some guy from Turkey, I say "cool".

As for your two parent household, I'll sort of agree with you. I say, the more parents the better. One is enough, but if you have six, you're probably doing pretty good. Two is just easy. And hopefully, by "committed" you mean committed to the child. Which is the topic of this discussion. Again: Marriage not needed. Commitment to child. Two gay men would be just as good at parenting as a married man and woman. Except the child of the gay couple would be willing to accept new things, and probably more understanding of peoples differences.

Surely you support that?

The point here is: attitudes need to evolve. Making clones of yourself is not going to allow this. Teach children to think for themselves. If they come up with the same conclusions as you, yay. If they come up with different conclusions, yay. You should be happy that they actually thought. My philosophy: Teach children how to think, not what to think.

And as I said on other posts, "starter marriages" are caused way too often because religion or peoples parents pressured people into marriage when all they wanted was the experience of living with someone they were in love with.

[ Parent ]

A simple proposition (3.00 / 4) (#33)
by onyxruby on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:38:23 AM EST

I have a rather simple proposition that I think could greatly reduce the divorce rate. Simply require that anyone who wants to get married apply for their marriage license one year before they are allowed to get married. That's it, just force people to get to know each other for at least that long before they can get hitched.

It might also help if people were only allowed to get married and divorced twice. Make people think about whether or not the marriage they are thinking about is the one they really want for the rest of their lives or not.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

easier method (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by slothman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:37:56 AM EST

Just illegalize divorce. Divorce rate drops to 0%. Since out of country divorces wouldn't be regonized "black market" divorce wouldn't affect legality.

[ Parent ]
This would have bad side effects (none / 0) (#70)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:00:07 AM EST

I guarantee that if divorce were outlawed, homicides and domestic abuse cases would increase. It's better to end a dysfunctional relationship than force it to continue. People always cry out, "It's better for the children for the parents to stay together." Bullshit! How good is it for children to be forced to watch their mother and father fight and attack each other simply because society (and possibly the law) say they can't break it off?

[ Parent ]
Children (none / 0) (#81)
by br284 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:54:37 AM EST

Is it any better when the children are bounced between two households and the parents still fight and attack each other? They may bot be attacking each other directly, but using the children as the tool and medium to get back at their former spouse. Insert into the picture of other people that the parents are seeing and how they are expected to take over the role of the other parent. Now bounce the kids from one parent to another and tell me how good it is for them.

-Chris

[ Parent ]
Why bounce them around? (none / 0) (#210)
by cyberlife on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:38:40 PM EST

Sounds like bad parenting to me. If they're going to treat the child like a piece of property, maybe they shouldn't have them. I know that if I felt it was best for them, I would give my children up for adoption. Of course, society gives me more freedom in that area considering that my children are not human. But they're treated just the same.

[ Parent ]
MUCH easier solution (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:34:00 PM EST

Illegalize Divorce.

Legalize murder.

Not only would the crime rate drop, it would ease overpopulation, while dropping the number of divorces to 0.

/me just hopes the parent message was supposed to be sarcasm...

[ Parent ]

Even simpler (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by ttfkam on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:37:13 AM EST

Handle your own life, your own affairs, and your own family.

Let others handle their lives, their affairs, and their families.

Simpler for you and them.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Great idea (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by scanman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:38:40 AM EST

...just force people...

That really rubs me the wrong way.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

Okay.. (4.06 / 15) (#34)
by tokage on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:46:38 AM EST

Who cares. Marriage has always been an absurd institution. In the Golden Age when marriage Meant Something, it's not like women had a lot of options besides getting married anyway. Most of the jobs they can currently hold were out of reach. The way society viewed single women supporting themselves past a certain age, not to mention single women with children, was no doubt very prohibitive. This extends back thousands of years, though I was thinking more recently of pre mid 70's America.

Analyze commitment for a moment. A smart man once told me, "you can learn to love any woman". While I agree some people meet and are meant to be together, it seems the single most overwhelming motivating factor is people don't want to be alone. We go out, date, find someone who meets our idea of the person we want, start spending more time together. We fall in love with our idea of how a person is, get engaged, get married. Then we discover some traits of the person's true nature and conflicts & compromises begin. The fact of the matter is, we're all egocentric beings who cannot by definition truly know another person. We're all born alone, going to die alone. The desperate(and likely necessary) illusion of Having Someone Else is just a human emotional construct with no basis in reality.

You don't have to be married to be with someone you like. Just because it's the Way Things Work doesn't make it a particularly important or valid institution. All marriage really does is guarantee the women some monetary rights and establishes some parameters for the relationship. Do this, and this will happen. Cheat on me, and I get half your money.

If marriage works for you, fine. Just don't push your religion of "it's the only Way to be in a serious, committed, long term relationship" crap on me. The ideals of the generations that has worked in have failed, for the most part. Working hard all your life doesn't always get you ahead. You'll grow old and die regardless if you spent 30 years in a manufacturing plant with a nice retirement plan. Do your really want to spend your time doing the same mindless things for your entire life, just for some financial stability? Do the things you think you own really matter much?

Pretending there is something left

is like pretending there was anything at all. - Angela Smith
I agree (4.33 / 3) (#36)
by skim123 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:53:18 AM EST

Do whatever the hell you like to do; however, I won't hesitate to call you a cynic if you prescribe to the "Way Things Ought To Be" and get married and then get divorced a few years later, especially if you take no responsiblity, especially if you go off and blame others instead of fessing up and admitting that perhaps you didn't have the emotional maturity to make such a decision, that perhaps you got carried away in the moment. That, I think, is foolish.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Wow (4.33 / 3) (#38)
by sgp on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:58:27 AM EST

You seem really bitter.

I'm not sure how smart the guy who told you "You can learn to love any woman" was, or what he meant by love. A tolerant person can learn to tolerate just about anyone else, but that's hardly the recipe for a happy life.

And there's more to Marriage than financial security and a way of avoiding feeling alone. I don't want to force anything on you, of course; I don't believe that marriage is for everyone, and I do believe that society can tend to push people into marriage. But I do believe that it's for the majority of people, just because people *need* each other.

My wife and I work far better as a team, sure we don't always agree, but we're both better people for being together. And lessons you learn in marriage, about yourself, about relationships, and the cornerstones of relationships - honesty and trust - are valuable in all aspects of life.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

Actually (4.00 / 2) (#85)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:59:26 AM EST

A tolerant person can learn to tolerate just about anyone else, but that's hardly the recipe for a happy life.

Actually, that sounds like a recipe for zen-mastery.

Happiness comes from inside you, and from how you choose to relate to the world around you. That's why polls asking people "are you happy?" show no correlation between income and happiness.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Okay then I'll rephrase it... (none / 0) (#233)
by sgp on Tue Feb 05, 2002 at 09:28:24 PM EST

If that's the case, I'll just say:

"Zen mastery is hardly the recipe for a happy life"

Happy now?

I can't believe that spending your life with someone you "can tolerate" is a worthwhile goal - sure there are worse, but it's a bit like saying, "I want a job I don't hate"

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

au contraire (4.66 / 3) (#44)
by Cornelius on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:59:27 AM EST

You said: "we're all egocentric beings who cannot by definition truly know another person", I have to disagree. And I guess you disagree since you claim to know what my inner life is like.

You are perhaps ego-centric but not everybody is. Some are quite alltruistic and focused on others, etc... (I guess that it's easy for some people to come to the conslusion that everybody is ego-centric. Incidentally, strongly ego-centric people often have poor understanding of what drives and motivates people around them.;-))

We're different. Your motivations, drives, priorities, desires (etc) are not mine. Bill's are not Tom's,...


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
Ah.. (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by tokage on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:30:07 AM EST

The meaning of egocentric I was trying to convey was this; we cannot truly understand another person's motivations, desires, the stuff that makes up the core of them. Not the selfish/self centered aspect, though I'm sure by and large that's applicable as well. I try to be as altruistic as humanly possible, despite for the most part not really liking people in general overmuch. If it's possible to be an altruistic misanthrope, that would likely be me.

Anyway sorry for the confusion, I wasn't very clear; had just woken up and saw that article whining about how gen x marriages suck - put me in a Mood.

Pretending there is something left

is like pretending there was anything at all. - Angela Smith
[ Parent ]
altruistic people (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by kubalaa on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:51:40 AM EST

strongly ego-centric people often have poor understanding of what drives and motivates people around them

And "altruistic" people have poor understanding of what drives and motivates themselves. :)

[ Parent ]

Snort. (none / 0) (#86)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:59:34 AM EST

Now there's a sweeping, arrogant, generalization.

I know perfectly well what drives my altruism, thank you.

BTW - Lived together for a year, been married for, sweet jesus, 13 more. We survived, mostly, because each of us works at it instead of demanding that the other put our needs first.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
needs first (none / 0) (#204)
by kubalaa on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:47:01 AM EST

The first thing to recognize is that "needs" are very complex. A surprising number of people are driven by the need to appear accepted by society, to think of themselves as good and altruistic. (Myself included.) Just because I derive pleasure out of "being good," doesn't make it less selfish.

Both approaches (people are all selfish, or people can be truly altruistic) are oversimplifications. With the former, though, there's no danger of deluding yourself into thinking your superior than anybody else. See the other branch of this thread.

[ Parent ]

With the former (none / 0) (#206)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:39:58 AM EST

by believing even altruistic people are "selfish" you allow yourself a free pass for whatever you feel like doing. It's a cop out.

I behave the way I do not because I want to be accepted by society (you just try telling people you put on make up on weekends, for charity) but because of my personal convictions of right and wrong. You can claim in some sort of godel-escher-bach meta argument that I'm trying to selfishly boost my own self-image. You would be wrong - at best, that would be a side-effect.

Holding yourself, and others, to a higher "altruistic" standard is the only way to change the world.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
wasted argument (none / 0) (#216)
by kubalaa on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 05:25:04 AM EST

"Responsibility" is paradoxical. It assumes that everything has a cause. But if you believe this, and keep asking for causes, eventually you'll get beyond the responsible human. For example, assume that some people are more altruistic. Why? Because they're good people. Why? Because they try to be good. Why? Because they try to try to be good. You see where this is going; every motivation can be traced to a meta-motivation and so on; nowhere in the chain of cause-and-effect is there anything which makes this person "better" than anyone else. At some point it boils down to, their parents raised them right. :)

Which is why this cycle of questions gets tiresome, and even I will agree that some things just seem right, and some people seem better. Determinism isn't a free pass, because however we actually work, as long as we feel like we have free will --- which is always true --- then we'll also feel the concepts of responsibility, guilt, obligation, and all the things that make us behave like decent human beings.

Ultimately, I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

[ Parent ]

Please explain... (none / 0) (#152)
by Cornelius on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:51:17 PM EST

Could you expand on that?


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
selfish people (none / 0) (#178)
by kubalaa on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 07:00:30 AM EST

The essence is rather simple and unexciting: everyone is selfish, it is simply a matter of what drives them. "Altruistic" people are those whose selfishness works out to be useful to other people, because they're driven by the approval of society or simply the good feeling of helping others. Or perhaps the feeling of superiority they get over "selfish" people?

Of course, a definition which includes everything is useless; for all practical purposes, some people do act more altruistic than others and that's good enough for me. The reason I said anything at all, is that I'm dubious someone who feels the need to parade their altruism in front of others is really all that altruistic.

The wise know best how much they have to learn... the altruistic know best how selfish they really are. Anyone who considers themselves altruistic but is not battling daily with their own selfishness, is deluding themselves.

[ Parent ]

You said it yourself (none / 0) (#179)
by Cornelius on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 07:47:51 AM EST

"a definition which includes everything is useless". The notion that everybody is driven by egoism is untenable. It simply goes against all human experience. People act, every day, in a fashion that actually goes against their interests. There is ample evidence that man feels empathy, or acts unselflessly without any particular reason.

The position you express in the first paragraph of your comment often termed "psychological egoism" is not valid, since it is always true. I think they call it "ontological proof". Contrary to the theory of gravity (which is a valid theory), it says nothing about how it can be shown to be false. (If stones could fly or would stop in mid-air, that observation would deal a very tough blow to Newton's theory, etc.)

The fact that you cling to egoism as man's primal drive, is surprising. The psychological complexities of a human being are very profound. People act for all sorts of reasons. Egoism is not the ultima ratio mundi, although many people, for all sorts of muddled reason ;-), seem think so.


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
reread please (none / 0) (#180)
by kubalaa on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 09:12:58 AM EST

I think you missed my point. I don't "cling to egoism as man's primal drive." That's why I bothered to invalidate my own statement. See, in the second paragraph, "some people do act more altruistic than others and that's good enough for me." Probably the truth is a mix of gene-selfishness, meme-selfishness, and emergent behaviours from the complexity of cultural interaction.

I do stand by my sentiment that altruistic people don't feel obligated to go around saying that psychological egoists are muddled, or selfish, or don't understand anyone but themselves. And the "all people are selfish" theory, if an over-simplification, seems much more productive than the "I'm altruistic but many other people are selfish" theory. I.e. if you're going to risk deluding yourself, you may as well do it on the right side.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps we agree? (none / 0) (#195)
by Cornelius on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 03:39:12 PM EST

It's never black or white. People are both alltruistic and egoistic. Some are more ego than others. Others are more alltruistic. I am not necessarily putting a positive value on "alltruistic". Some "alltruistic" people might be gullible, or they might live their life through others, or have a weak capacity to say no and asserting things in their own best interest, etc, etc.

However, if I assume that we are agreed thus far, I'd have to turn to your last remark about deluding oneself. I would agree that it could be a bit too much to stomach if a person contends that he is alltruistic but others are selfish. It seems a bit to handy that a trait, by many perceived to be "better" and "finer", applies to me and not to others. But this has never been my contention (i.e. I've never expressed the belief that I, Cornelius, is more alltruistic than others. I have contended that people's motivations are complex: rational, erratic, emotional, random, touch and go, egoistic, alltruistic, noble, cheap, sadistic, masochistic, and perhaps sometimes purposefully planned and thought out (etc).

The dichotomy selfish-alltruistic cannot explain the extra-ordinary variations in human thought and behaviour.

Perhaps we're in agreement again. It's just that the "everybody is selfish, when they're not they're playing an angle" argument tends to get me started. It is in my experience a very common and very weak thought.

Yours respectfully, Cornelius


Cornelius

"Your suffering will be legendary, even in Hell", Hellraiser
[ Parent ]
probably (none / 0) (#203)
by kubalaa on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 05:43:18 AM EST

I think in essence you're right. I make a distinction between what's true, and what's convenient to believe. Believing everyone to be selfish has certain advantages; it keeps you introspective, it keeps you aware of your motivations, and it is a useful and simple predictive measure when you're pretty sure what drives someone. Think of it as the assumption of a frictionless surface in mechanics.

But it only works when you recognize it is a simplification; the kind of thing that annoys you (and me too) is when people apply it but only partially, when they use it as an excuse to be cynical, to downplay the contributions of others, or to explain their own depressive self-centeredness.

I misinterpreted your jumping to point out that "not everyone is selfish" as implicitly stating "well, maybe you're selfish but I'm not." So I'm sorry for my implicit "you're full of yourself." ;)

[ Parent ]

Not only ego-centric... (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:57:54 AM EST

The fact of the matter is, we're all egocentric beings who cannot by definition truly know another person.

I would add to this that, biologically speaking, humans are not monogamous creatures. Commitment is a social ideal, albeit a (subjectively) good one. Some people mate for life while others do not. Therefore, in terms of scientific classification, humans cannot be considered monogamous.

[ Parent ]

Ditch marriage. (3.40 / 10) (#43)
by driptray on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:51:15 AM EST

Imagine this article, but with "marriage" removed. It would go like this: People in their early twenties live together for a few years, and then break up before they have children.

Is this is a problem? It sounds like very normal behaviour to me. Indeed, it is exactly what you suggest should occur, as the "solution" to the "problem":

Forget the starter marriage. Instead live together for at least three years (as if you were married) before getting even engaged, or until both persons reach the age of 28;

Let's take the next logical step and recognise that it is marriage itself that is the problem. Face it, marriage is a useless idea. It's unecessary, and it fills people's heads with all sorts of strange ideas that only seem to make them unhappy. Marriage is entirely unecessary for living together, having children, and having a committed relationship. It provides no benefit, but it does suck people into an awful lot of unrealistic expectations.

FWIW, I've lived with my gf for 15 years. We own a house (bought at the 5-year mark), and have a child (conceived at the 8-year mark). The decisions surrounding those two events were the big markers that signified "commitment". Getting married has never been on the map. Other than an excuse to have a party, what would be the point?


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
Financial Reasons ? (none / 0) (#47)
by bugmaster on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:09:34 AM EST

Correct me if I am wrong (and I probably am), but I thought married individuals pay less taxes ? That is as good reason to get married as any.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Where do you live? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
by driptray on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:29:06 AM EST

You don't say what country you live in, but it's not that way in my country (Australia). De facto partners have virtually all the rights of spouses. The definitional issue (determining exactly who qualifies as a de facto partner) is answered by saying that they must have lived together for a minimum of two years in a "marriage-like relationship".

There are some minor differences in the case of divorce, but they are very minor.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
Marriage has many benefits (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by Zagadka on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:20:09 AM EST

For example: if you were to get hit by a truck, your girlfriend would have to pay taxes to receive your assets, assuming she could even get them at all. If you were married, she'd get your assets automatically, tax free.

[ Parent ]
Really think about this... (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:54:42 AM EST

Once again, it's all about the money.

[ Parent ]
Forgetting the money (none / 0) (#145)
by Curieus on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:58:11 PM EST

I am not familiar with that "common law" thingie, but otherwise...
Children would be a major reason to marry/legalise_the_relationship_by_whatever_ legal_statute_is_fancy_in_your_country_of_origin

Because if the GF gets hit by a bus, and there is nothing arranged, then the man has no rights to the kids whatsoever.....

[ Parent ]
Marriage has benefits (none / 0) (#54)
by genman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:06:16 AM EST

> It provides no benefit, but it
> does suck people into an awful lot of
> unrealistic expectations.

Are you married? I'd like to know where you are coming from. Maybe you should explain what 'unrealistic expectations' people have.

If at all times, you and your partner feel comfortable leaving the relationship, then marriage is not for you. However, this is not often the case.

Once a relationship develops into a financial relationship, there needs to be a way to settle matters at the end that is financially fair. Why? Well, very often, people work together to buy stuff. You can't very easily divide a house into two pieces, right? Without marriage, perhaps there would be a way for couples to write a financial contract.

Very often, when children exist, the woman spends her time raising them, while the husband is furthering his career. Tacitly, or explictly, stated, the expectation is that the husband can't decide to leave the relationship. If he does, he is expected to support his former spouse.

People who say "Who needs promises?" don't understand what a promise really is, and why they are made. I had to get married because I put my wife in a disadvantageous position: She would not stay with me in the US unless I promised to support her during her education. I would like to here how others might have handled this situation.


[ Parent ]
Duhhhhh...... (1.00 / 1) (#59)
by scanman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:34:40 AM EST

Are you married?

Can you read?

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

Re: Marriage has benefits (none / 0) (#68)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:53:33 AM EST

She would not stay with me in the US unless I promised to support her during her education.

The way you explain the situation makes it sound like she only stayed for the money. If you chose to support her becuase you loved her, that's fine. It's commendable even. But if it really went down like you say, dude, that's harsh.

[ Parent ]

Vows (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by Boronx on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:09:37 PM EST

Depending on whether you are a man of your word, giving your marriage vows can have a very deep meaning and effect on your relationship.
Subspace
[ Parent ]
Hate to be the one to tell you... (4.00 / 1) (#139)
by VivianC on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:51:08 PM EST

FWIW, I've lived with my gf for 15 years.

If this is true and you live in the United States, you are already married under common-law. You can go along and call it whatever you want, but your GF has all the legal rights that your spouse would have. This includes division of property and alimony if you should ever split.

Mozal Tov on your (common-law) marriage!

Viv

[ Parent ]
You are... (none / 0) (#174)
by Artful Dodger on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 02:14:10 AM EST

...probably wrong.

Only 11 states (and D.C.) recognize any sort of common law marriage, and most of them require "an intent and agreement to be married," by the couple in question.

[ Parent ]

Never (4.28 / 14) (#45)
by streetlawyer on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:04:07 AM EST

... trust anyone who has a lot to say about what other people do with their personal relationships.

Trust them even less if their main source of information about other people is a book.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever

Trendy? (3.75 / 4) (#61)
by genman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:55:14 AM EST

I say if people are getting married because it's trendy, that's really sad. People who follow trends are usually immature, thus end up in the following situations:

From the article: (Isabel is supposedly 25)
> "Everything was a problem,' she says.
> "I don't think we had any respect for
> each other. I didn't feel comfortable
> with him. I knew, pretty much right away,
> that something was definitely not right."
> Screaming matches and power struggles ensued

Screaming and power struggles? What's a power struggle? Sounds like a bunch of fucking kids to me. I wonder if they knew how to act like grown-ups. All I needed to know in life I learned in kindergarden, indeed.


whatever (3.83 / 6) (#62)
by lucid on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:56:18 AM EST

It sounds to me like this is another way for someone to bitch about the high rate of divorce without bitching about the high rate of divorce. Not only does this earn credit for the author, the discovery of a "new" problem, but it is also aimed at a popular target. Notice the two reasons cited for these "starter marriages:" the young person is either flaky and materialistic, or pathetic.

Even skim123 gets in on the action: I can just imagine these women and men thinking of the wedding day, of their jealous friends, of the reception, of the honeymoon; sure, the somewhat unpleasant thought of, "But wait, I really don't love this person," must creep into their skulls every now and then, but those thoughts are easily subdued by thinking of the wedding gown, or the coming bachelor's party. Come on now, is that really fair? Poor twentysomethings don't even have brains, so thoughts have to creep into their skulls instead!

If you want to cry about the frequency of divorce, just be more honest about it and call it what it is. Again, if you want to complain about a certain generation you "know" to be defective, come out with it. Slyly lurking around with your invented terminology probably makes you feel pretty good, but it does nothing to solve problems, real or imagined.

Personally, I think it's sad commentary on you that you get all worked up about a story you read on ABCNews.com.

And this is news? (4.75 / 8) (#64)
by koreth on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:16:34 AM EST

It's a sad commentary on our society when people are getting married because they need someone to cling to or, even worse, because they have this notion of what they are supposed to do, so they just blindly go out and do it.

I thought people had been getting married -- and having children -- for precisely those two reasons pretty much since marriage was invented.

Or do you think your grandparents sat down and carefully considered the pros and cons of getting married and having kids versus remaining single and childfree? Fat chance, for most people of previous generations.

It's only recently that people in large numbers have started not forming relationships based on society's idea of "this is what's supposed to happen at this stage in your life." I consider it an encouraging, very healthy trend, though like anything else it has its downsides as well.

Come closer and say that. (4.70 / 10) (#65)
by gromm on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:37:05 AM EST

Well, as a potential, "genexer," I've managed to grow up with a number of interesting preconceptions about me and my "generation," so to speak.

I'm 26, which means I was born in 1975. I swear that in the past ten years, the definition of "generation X" has been so incredibly vague that it's not funny. This generation has been defined as "those of us who were old enough to go to AC/DC's "Back in Black" concert in 1980", and remember the punk fad quite well, (which I don't really belong to, since I was 5) "those people between the ages of 19 and 25" (which I used to belong to... when I was 19), and in this article as "those people between the ages of 19 and 25," (which I apparently still belong to) and more recently some accounts tell of 28-35 year olds (which I don't quite belong to) who are finally getting their shit together and selling out like they ought to, instead of being lazy and angst-ridden. Now, aside from the fact that I don't like being cubbyholed because I'm way too weird, I would like it very much if the media would kindly stuff that generation X crap where the sun doesn't shine, especially considering the fact that they can't even keep track of it properly.

Now on to pick at this particular article.

We all know that statistics are at best, damn lies. However, the glaring obviousness of the inaccuracy of these statistics means that the author needs to have his head examined. Example:

Paul cites Census Bureau statistics showing that in 1998 there were more than 3 million divorced 18- to 29-year-olds. There were 253,000 divorces among 25- to 29-year-olds in 1962.

Notice the fact that the actual sizes of the age groups measured are different. 18-29 year olds is an age group 11 years long, while 25-29 year olds is a group only 4 years long. Naturally, the statistics of *any* of the behaviours of these two groups will be larger for the former. Also, if you note the fact that the population of the United States has grown since 1963, take into account that many behaviours change naturally due to maturity in the eight years that have been left out, and also factor in standard deviation and (quite large) rounding errors, you will come out with a very large percentage of error. These numbers could just as well be for the number of people who chew Trident. They are nothing less than completely and utterly useless for the basis of your argument. And probably Paul's as well.

Also:

Paul says that most young couples who divorce early rush into marriage for one of two reasons: either they have finished school and are living with their parents and want someone else to cling to, or they are very successful power couples who feel that they need a great marriage to complement their fabulous careers and looks.

This sounds like Paul wants to put a particular "generation" into an unfavourable light. After all, his generation never did anything like this. No, noone ever got married right out of high school for spectacularly stupid reasons in 1963 only to perhaps come to their senses later. And everyone who got married in 1963 waited until they were damn sure the person they were marrying was really right for them by abstaining from sex with the romantic partner of choice until their wedding night at the age of 24. Divorces only happened because women could finally exercise their freedom to escape from abusive husbands.

I can understand that you are angry because young people make really dumb decisions that affect the rest of their lives. Surprise! 19 year olds don't always have the experience or the forethought to be totally responsible all the time. That's because responsibility comes from experience, which comes from making dumbass mistakes in the heat of the moment. The wisest of us look around and notice other people making dumbass mistakes and learn from them before they become issues, but as Scott Adams likes to put it, "People are idiots. We can't be smart all the time."
Deus ex frigerifero

Definition of Gen-X-er (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:44:08 AM EST

Since the boomers were born from 1945 to 1965, inclusive, the gen-x-ers would have been born from 1966 to x. If we assume 20 or so years/generation then x becomes 1975. So gen-x-ers were born from 1966 to 1976, inclusive. Although, if you go with the gen-x-ers being the children of the baby boomers, then all of them haven't been born yet.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
1965 is a boomer? (none / 0) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:52:54 AM EST

Damn. I thought 1964 was the cut off. All this time I've been ranting about boomers, without realizing I was one.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Well... (3.00 / 1) (#83)
by wiredog on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:58:12 AM EST

Depends on who's defining. I was born in 65, and always considered myself a boomer. My parents grew up during the Depression and WW2, my father was drafted during Korea (and went to Virginia). I remember when we got our first color TV, and the first moon landing.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Geez. You remember apollo 11? (none / 0) (#88)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:07:07 AM EST

I remember having a Revel "Apollo 11 Moon Landing" model kit, but dude, you were four then! Good memory.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Hell, no! (none / 0) (#100)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:26:04 AM EST

The definition I've always heard is '46 to '64.

All I know is I ain't no damn boomer! (born '65)
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Color TV? (none / 0) (#113)
by haflinger on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:56:45 PM EST

I also remember getting my first color TV. However, it was in the '80s. You don't have to be a boomer to remember that. (I was born in '70...)

1965 is well past the Baby Boom. The real boom is about 1947 to the mid-'50s. Boomers are often described as a generation, which is factually a bit loose.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

1946-1960, under the most inclusive interpretation (none / 0) (#143)
by Sl0w h4nD on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:43:33 PM EST

But at either end of this you are going to have people who don't feel like part of the generation. From my personal experience, I know a number of men born in 1946 who went through all the experiences of the baby boom generation (Vietnam, Hippydom, etc.), but always felt "older" and not part of the group. Ironically, I know several women born in 1960 who feel compelled to follow the baby boomers, generally because they can fit in with the vast boomer corporate herd. But anybody born after 1960 would have almost no experiences in common with the Boomers. The group that this story focuses on is the Reagan generation, which I am unfortunately just on the cusp of belonging to. Fortunately, I remember enough episodes of _The Dukes of Hazard_ to counterbalance the ill effects of the 1980s. Anybody seen The New Adventures of Scooby Doo? And the live-action movie? Looks like They finally got around to destroying all vestiges of my childhood TV watching.

BTW, I'm happily married at 25. Fuck this story.

[ Parent ]
20 year generations, math (4.00 / 1) (#98)
by zenofchai on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:56:21 AM EST

if we assume 20 or so years/generation then x becomes 1986, right? (1966 + 20 = 1986).

-zoc
--
The K5 Interactive Political Compass SVG Graph
[ Parent ]
i've always heard a generation is 25 years (none / 0) (#132)
by alprazolam on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:53:19 PM EST

Of course it's all crap anyway. Media generated crap I should say.

[ Parent ]
Boomer Baby! (none / 0) (#136)
by dcheesi on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:41:13 PM EST

Although, if you go with the gen-x-ers being the children of the baby boomers, then all of them haven't been born yet.

Heh, if you figure it that way, I'm a 27yr-old Baby Boomer!!! Woohoo! Where's the free love!? Oh, wait.... ;-)

Seriously, though, the whole generational thing gets really out of hand. Most people define the Boomers as those who came of age in the late 60s, which is way too narrow a definition/stereotype. Meanwhile, the definition of GenX is overly broad; it seems to mean "whoever's in their Twenties right now". Maybe we need to talk in terms of single decades, or else just give it up entirely.

[ Parent ]

Original source (none / 0) (#189)
by mbrubeck on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:48:02 PM EST

Douglas Coupland's novel Generation X (which coined the term) was written in 1991 about characters who were then in their mid-to-late twenties. The first words of chapter 1 are, "Back in the late 1970s, when I was fifteen years old..."

Born in the 1960s, Coupland's characters consider themselves part of the lost generation between the baby boomers and the boomers' children. They grew up during the Vietnam war, and remember early 70s sitcoms. Coupland's X generation is now entering its late thirties, or even early forties.

Of course, Time and Newsweek quickly grabbed ahold of the phrase and pinned it firmly to the 20-something age group, where it has remained ever since. It's now a demographic, not a generation. Oh well, Generation X is still a great novel, even if the title has been rendered meaningless by the mass media.

[ Parent ]

Coupland (none / 0) (#191)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:31:18 PM EST

If I recall correctly, Coupland was born in 1964.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
What is marriage all about? (4.60 / 10) (#66)
by cyberlife on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:38:58 AM EST

My girlfriend and I have discussed this issue many times. She and I both come from fairly traditional homes where marriage is something that you just do. However, she and I have a very untraditional viewpoint on the whole topic.

When you break it down, marriage typically has three parts to it:

  1. Commitment - A pledge and desire to be faithful and devoted to each other for the duration of the relationship. My girlfriend and I are most definitely committed to each other. Marriage is not a requirement for this.

  2. A Big Party - Most marriages involve a ceremony and/or get-together of some sort. My girlfriend and I do this all the time already. Hell, we could even throw a five or six digit, shutdown the city for a night, mega blockbuster party if we wanted to. We could rent a church, buy some fancy clothes, pay a priest and do the whole works. Again, marriage is not required for this to occur.

  3. A Legal Transaction - By definition, a legal marriage is a formal joining of two family trees. In essence, it's not too different from a merger between businesses. Joint-finances, joint-decision-making, joint-problems. This is unavoidable in marriage.
When you get right down to it, the only thing marriage really gives you is a change in financial status. The other "benefits" that people generally associate with marriage (e.g. hospital visitation rights) all have some sort of monetary motive behind them, otherwise it would be no big deal to grant them to everyone.

If you want to take the plunge and get married, go for it. Who am I to stop you. Just realize that underneath everything else it's a business transaction with potentially massive repercussions. Treat it like you would any other. Consider it carefully and decide if the benefits outweigh the costs. Don't be swayed by the pressures of society to confirm to an ideal. Make up your own mind. It's your life.

In the end, the most important thing in any relationship is commitment. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Okay...that's reason number four... :)

Business transaction? Financial Status? (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:38:59 AM EST

I believe this is absolut nonsense:

<i> 3.A Legal Transaction - By definition, a legal marriage is a formal joining of two family trees. In essence, it's not too different from a merger between businesses.
Joint-finances, joint-decision-making, joint-problems. This is unavoidable in marriage. </i><P>

I know of no marriage law, neither civil or religious, in which the relatives of the couple acquire any rights or obligations (formal joining of family trees?). If you know otherwise it would be interesting to cite the example.<p>

The allegory of marriage as the merging of two businesses, is ridiculous even in a figurative way. Traditionaly a couple that gets married bring their own belongings into the marriage to help them start the collaborative effort to live together, most laws just outline how any goods belonging to the couple would be divided in the case of divorce, but the objective of the marriage is not to increase the money and goods that the couple own.<P>

Marriage is the attempt by society to regulate how a fact of life (that most people need to have sex with a member of the opposite sex and take care of the offspring result of this) should be conducted in order for society to function. Perhaps the previous rules worked fine for other people, but if the law is completely out of synch with reality then it is the law, not the people, who need to be changed.<P>

Laws, and this includes any marriage law, are there to organize real daily life in a way that is constructive for society as a whole, not to dictate what moral standards are more adequate in matters that are strictly of a personal nature.<p>
---
Those who sleep can't sin.
Those who sin, sleep well.

[ Parent ]
Seems to make sense to a lot of people (none / 0) (#176)
by cyberlife on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 03:25:37 AM EST

I know of no marriage law, neither civil or religious, in which the relatives of the couple acquire any rights or obligations (formal joining of family trees?). If you know otherwise it would be interesting to cite the example.

If you take two married individuals and draw their independent family trees through several generations, they typically remain separate except at the bottom where the two original people were wed. Hence, their trees are joined. Nothing in this or what I said earlier implies any benefits whatsoever, let alone for relatives.

The allegory of marriage as the merging of two businesses, is ridiculous even in a figurative way. Traditionaly a couple that gets married bring their own belongings into the marriage to help them start the collaborative effort to live together, most laws just outline how any goods belonging to the couple would be divided in the case of divorce...

First of all, I never said marriage was the same as a business merger. I said it wasn't too different. There are definitely differences, but they also share many things in common.

In a business merger, agreements forged prior to or during the transaction specify (among other things) what assets are coming from where and who is to have ownership of them. Obviously they cannot list every little stapler and box of paperclips. Therefore default rules apply, which are typically listed in the agreements. Without these contracts, the default rules of law would apply, which are generally not desireable to the parties involved.

The same basic principles apply in civil marriage. Agreements executed prior to or during the union specify (among other things) what assets are coming from whom and who is to have ownership of them. Many couples however do not sign these agreements because they desire to minimize the business aspects of marriage. Therefore, default rules of law apply.

In many parts of the US, community property laws are enforced, which technically apply to only those assets acquired during the marriage. However, without proof of prior ownership the courts can (and usually do) lump it all into community property. This is often undesirable for at least one of the two.

With all of the rules on the books and the fact that contracts can be involved, it should be apparent that underneath it all, as far as the law is concerned, marriage is a legal procedure. Unfortunately, many people choose to ignore this aspect of it, which often ends up causing limitless problems. Wanting marriage to be magical and happily-ever-after doesn't make it so.

...the objective of the marriage is not to increase the money and goods that the couple own.

While this may not be the objective for you, it is for some. There are numerous financial incentives for getting married, even more for having kids. As sad as it may be, many people go into these situations just for the money.

[ Parent ]

Untraditional my ass (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by AmberEyes on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:22:11 AM EST

Your post is one of the most insightful things I've read about marriage on K5, period.

Bravo on that. You and your girlfriend sound like you've both got your heads on straight. Best of luck to both of you!

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Commitment, what's that? (4.00 / 2) (#94)
by MVpll on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:24:25 AM EST

Commitment - A pledge and desire to be faithful and devoted to each other for the duration of the relationship.

Err, saying you are committed to something that you can end at your discretion is a bit pointless. It is like saying you are committed to smiling for the duration of your happiness.



[ Parent ]
note "Faithful" (5.00 / 2) (#103)
by ucblockhead on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:37:39 AM EST

I suspect he means "We won't cheat on each other as long as we are together".

But it still is worth noting that there's something very different between a "girlfriend" who you might potentially break up with and standing up in front of everyone you know and saying "I'm going to stay with this woman for the rest of my life".
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Two points (none / 0) (#175)
by cyberlife on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 02:39:26 AM EST

1) Saying those words in front of everyone doesn't have to be done as part of marriage. You can do those at any time (see #2 in the original comment).

2) Saying those words in front of everyone (marriage included or not) doesn't automatically make the relationship any more stable. Regardless of how formal or informal the commitment is, success will still be determined by the people involved. Putting on a show and signing some documents isn't necessarily going to change that.

[ Parent ]

Yes and no (none / 0) (#190)
by ucblockhead on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:08:33 PM EST

I agree with your first point and disagree with your second.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]
Please explain (none / 0) (#209)
by cyberlife on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 09:27:34 PM EST

If you disagree, please explain then how you feel a public/semi-public statement of commitment makes a relationship more stable. I would agree that for many people it's a catalyst, but it still comes down to the individual. If one or both of them are not truely committed in their hearts, no amount of show-and-tell is going to cement things together.

Regardless of what you see on the outside, the stability of a relationship comes from within. Presenting the illusion that everything is alright does nothing but hurt those involved. If two people put on a front because (for example) they feel it's best for their child, then they're lying to the child, to each other, and worst of all to themselves.

One of the reasons why we have so many problems in this world is because people try too hard to make things better. Life has its ups and downs. Trying to force the bad things out of existence does nothing but make the situation that much more explosive. Sometimes you just have to be strong, bend over and take it. It's usually better than the alternative.

[ Parent ]

then why ... (3.00 / 1) (#101)
by gregholmes on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:36:48 AM EST

My girlfriend and I are most definitely committed to each other. Marriage is not a requirement for this.

Then why not make the "financial transaction"? What are you afraid of?



[ Parent ]
Becuase... (none / 0) (#218)
by cyberlife on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 04:38:18 AM EST

...we have considered the pros and cons and determined that it's not in our best interests legally and financially to get married at this particular point in time. Circumstances may change down the road, but until they do we're remaining single.

[ Parent ]
<sniffle> Your message spoke to me... (4.00 / 1) (#106)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:15:25 PM EST

So. Silliness aside, this comment is one of the best descrptions of marriage I have seen. I can't really find much disagreement at all. The only thing I think you missed, is that marriage is, by tradition, public.

I am completely committed to my girlfriend. Enough that when I see a woman on the street in a short skirt, I am usually smiling, because I am thinking about my girlfriend in said skirt. I see no difference between my current level of committment and my committment after being married. She knows this, I have told her, and she has told me of her similar committment. The only thing we havent done is told everyone else.

But beyond that, I think the only difference is the fact that I still dont have a toaster (which I would doubtless have if I were married, perhaps 2 or 3), and I fill out my taxes differently.

But yeah. Bravo.

[ Parent ]

Marriage (3.75 / 4) (#112)
by Boronx on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:52:56 PM EST

What a horribly cynical attitude towards marriage. I seem to recall giving my wife my word that I would stand by her for the rest of our lives, and I intend to keep it.

Marriage is about giving yourself to something a bigger, like a cop who swears to serve and protect his community, or a priest who commits his soul to god, or a president (don't laugh) who vows to uphold the constitution.

There are simple pleasures and convieniences in living together, but they are not there all of the time. Marriage viewed as more than a legal merger, or a public announcement of love (is fear of humiliation and legal wrangling holding marriages together?) will help a couple through some tight spots.

One good cynical point though from upabove, marriage is great for gaining support from your relatives and acceptance with your in-laws, and aquiring toasters, silverware, etc.
Subspace
[ Parent ]

Corrections: (4.00 / 3) (#118)
by AmberEyes on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:17:34 PM EST

Marriage is about giving yourself to something a bigger, like a cop who swears to serve and protect his community, or a priest who commits his soul to god, or a president (don't laugh) who vows to uphold the constitution.

(Note the quotations:) Since when did a cop "marry" his community? A priest's soul "marry" God? A president "marry" the Constitution? And I don't mean the connotation that the word "marry" means, I mean honest-to-god, up in front of the altar, marriage to those things. Sound absurd? You bet.

You don't have to marry something or someone to show committment to it/him/her. In fact, judging by divorce rates which show that young adults marrying for the first time have a lifetime divorce rate of 40 to 50 percent, I don't see how marriage bestows some magical committment at all.

If you want to talk about committment, then call it committment. Committment is not a synonym for marriage, nor should it ever be. If you and your wife feel you have to prove something by getting married, then that's cool, but I know that I can keep a committment perfectly fine.

And finally, if you need the Damocles Sword of marriage looming over the heads of your wife, yourself, and others like you both to keep a committment, then that's fine, but don't say things like marriage helps couples through tight spots. Obviously, it doesn't really -- see that 40-50% divorce rate. Maybe it helps you, and people like you, because you just need extra help. I, and others like me, have enough discipline and drive to stick it out myself.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
My word... (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by Boronx on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:57:29 PM EST

Yes, in the sense of which you are writing, a cop *does* marry his community, a priest god, a president the constitution etc...

Marriage is not a cure for problems in a relationship, its a giving over to something bigger.

Let me try to explain the way I think of my marriage vows int terms of current events so that you can better understand my point. Marriage is like the terrorist who blows himself and other up with peace of mind because he has given himself to god, or the soldier who is glad to shoot the terrorist because he is devoted to his country (or for that matter, devoted to his family)

Marrige can help in bad times, when you have to be tough. As a stupid example, when I was first left home alone with our first baby, he managed to crap, puke, and pee on me and the carpet all in a span of about 30 seconds. Let me tell you it's good for your health, and the babies, if you can deal with the situation serenely.
Subspace
[ Parent ]

Interesting (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by AmberEyes on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:14:47 PM EST

Really, your example is exactly what I think marriage is like as well, but for different reasons.

Much like a jihaading warrior who was taught since the age of 3 that blowing yourself up is for the greater good, I see people, younger and younger, feeling like they have to get married because it's expected by the community and expected because it's for the greater good of everyone.

Or like the soldier, shooting the terrorist because of instructions read to him from a paper, written by a general a thousand miles away, who may have maps, graphs, and papers at his disposal, but cannot be as situationally aware as that soldier, because he is not the soldier.

I don't think marriage is bad. I think it's too often used as an excuse.

I did grin about your baby example though. Sorry that happened. ;)

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Also: (none / 0) (#140)
by AmberEyes on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:57:20 PM EST

"Yes, in the sense of which you are writing, a cop *does* marry his community, a priest god, a president the constitution etc..."

No, they don't at all. That's why I said "And I don't mean the connotation that the word "marry" means". I was very careful to write that. Connotation. I'm talking in purely denotative terms here. Which is why I said it's absurd.

My point was that marriage, in regards to relationship responsibility is not a do all, end all, neccessary means to solidify it. Police can protect people and cities, priests can uphold the word of God, and a president can uphold the constitution without dressing up in a tuxedo, standing in front of an altar, and getting a ring out, taking vows, etc.

You might choose to prove your worth, or whatever it is people prove when they get married by the act of marriage itself, but it's just crazy to suggest it's the only way that a serious and meaningful relationship can be cemented between people, and the only way that people can be "forced" to live through life's challenges together.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Marriage (none / 0) (#158)
by Boronx on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 07:17:46 PM EST

Cops don't literally marry their communites of course.

You are right about the rest, and I did not intend to characterize marriage as the naturally culmination of a strong and lasting relationship, there are other ways, perhaps better.

Having said that, my formal taking of vows impressed me more than the years of professed love and commitment that proceeded it. Our wedding was in no way religious: we eloped and got married in front of a Judge whom I did not know. Yet the power of ancient tradition and ceremony even one so cannot be denied. It changed my life and my relationship. Therefore I take exception to the notion that marriage is only a legal and financial merger of two people, who also agree to not have sex with others "while they stay together". I beleive there are great marriages that don't fit that description at all.
Subspace
[ Parent ]

An addition: 3b (4.00 / 1) (#147)
by Curieus on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:08:09 PM EST

Legal status of offspring and widow/(er)

If no legal agreement is present, then there is a very strong additional effect when children are present:
If the mother dies, legal parenthood (voogdijschap) goes to the parents of the mother, the father, the erstwhile boyfriend of the mother has no say what so-ever.

If either the mother or the father dies, then the inheritence go to their parents, not to the partner, while some may claim this to be a purely monetary reason, it could also be seen as (and in my mind more rightfully so) an insurance that the remaining partner/children don't get more problems than they already have.

[ Parent ]
How can you say (3.50 / 6) (#74)
by abdera on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:04:19 AM EST

...this sounds like a pile of no responbility-taking horseshit. and thank God for ... legalized abortion in the same article?

Guess what? The current state of on-demand abortion sounds like a pile of no responbility-taking horseshit. Pick a side. Either you want people to accept responsibility even through adversity, or you want people to have an easy out. Which is it?

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol

Easy? (4.50 / 2) (#95)
by Ranieri on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:39:26 AM EST

I know few women that call termination of pregnancy the easy way out when faced with the choice.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
RE: Easy? (3.50 / 2) (#99)
by sto0 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:01:38 AM EST

I don't think the poster meant that abortion was "easy", but compared to bringing up a child, you have to admit that there's less responsibility.

Although I am pretty much against abortion, it's a very difficult area to deal with -- some people appear to have no way out -- so I'm not saying that I can even begin to understand (being male) what kind of decision some women go through.

[ Parent ]
I want people to not screw with children's lives (3.00 / 3) (#104)
by skim123 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:55:28 AM EST

If you want to live your life taking no responsibility for your actions, have fun; what is not acceptable is to bring someone else into this world and behave irresponsibly. Hence, in such a case, an abortion is a very responsible thing to do - to realize that you (and/or your partner) are not ready for the responsibility a baby demands.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
I want people to not screw my life (4.00 / 2) (#108)
by abdera on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:26:15 PM EST

and that includes not ending it prematurely. Some people might classify my parents as not being ready for the responsibilty a baby demands. Most people would classify my wife's parents that way. As a matter of fact, both my parents and hers had brief and early marriages. We are both very well adjusted adults, contributing what we can to society. I daresay the world wouldn't be as nice of a place without one of us (especially for the other).

an abortion is a very responsible thing to do - to realize that you (and/or your partner) are not ready for the responsibility a baby demands.

If one wants to avoid the responsibility of raising a child, one ought to keep one's pants on, or at the least have the responsibility to let someone who can raise a child adopt. There are many adoptees who live very full, productive, and fulfilling lives.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

This I agree with (none / 0) (#127)
by skim123 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:11:37 PM EST

If one wants to avoid the responsibility of raising a child, one ought to keep one's pants on

Yes, I agree 100%. But these people are obviously not responsible enough to realize that marriage is more than the honeymoon, so you can't expect them to keep their pants on, use contraception (they are married, after all), etc.

I daresay the world wouldn't be as nice of a place without one of us

I agree with this too. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
not ready for the responsibility (3.00 / 3) (#131)
by moose and squirrel on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:51:47 PM EST

If you're not ready for the responsibility of raising a kid you shouldn't have sex. That's how kids happen. Adoption is also an available option to the slugs of society. I would kill you for disagreeing with me but I'm not emotionally ready for jail.

[ Parent ]
Try it out first.... (4.00 / 2) (#137)
by VivianC on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:42:21 PM EST

Hence, in such a case, an abortion is a very responsible thing to do - to realize that you (and/or your partner) are not ready for the responsibility a baby demands.

How do you know if you haven't tried? Have a baby. Take care of it a while. If it doesn't work out, you can just kill it and call it a fifth-trimester abortion.

I mean, really. It's better than screwing up the kid's life and simpler than keeping your pants on.

Viv

[ Parent ]
not only marriages (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by dope priest on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:40:49 AM EST

i too see more people around me going through 'starter marriages'.
only i don't find it surprising at all - people change their mind more easily today, there's less pressure from society to cling to your marriage at all costs (unlike not so many years ago, when the stigma, for some at least, was more scary than staying in a bad marriage).

it's not only marriages though. life today allows more choices than in the past - many people have more than one career, changing courses in uni and so on..
some might argue it's the very problem of our generation - we have too much choice, which eventually leaves us more confused.

i personally disagree and think we can never have too much options/choices, i just don't find 'starter marriages' very surprising in the general landscape.

Kids today. (4.16 / 6) (#78)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:49:49 AM EST

Starter marriages. Pagh. Why in my day, we had to live together. And we liked it!



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
Article too narrow (3.00 / 5) (#84)
by elgardo on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:59:07 AM EST

The article takes a very narrow view on the things that generate starter marriages. Besides the inaccuracy of the statistics, the world is completely different now than then. For example, the liberation of women doubled the workforce. This means that salaries were halved, and with few exceptions, it has become a requirement for both people in a couple to work. For the husband to make enough for both is a rare luxury.

Also, the expectations are completely different. Mass media has caused the modern, inexperienced couple to have unrealistic expectations about what a marriage is, and are rarely prepared for the hurdles that come with it.

Mass media, and modern society, is also a lot more paranoid. Our parents have often used arguments such as "you have to do such and such, or no wo/man will love you." We learn early on to take on masks, but in reality the only way a relationship can work is to just be yourself.

And here comes modern society with its "trust noone" morals. "Partners come and go," they say, asking us to prepare for divorce. To be suspicious. Well, if you don't trust your partner, if you don't learn to give the relationship everything you've got, it just HAS to lead to disaster. It's a self fulfilled prophecy.

And where does all of this come from? Parents! Parents who didn't manage to hold on to their own relationships. Particularly the single mother like to push this load onto her daughters. "Well, my daughter is all I have, and I'm not going to let some guy run away with her." Nevermind that it's all about gaining a new family member. Somehow it has all turned into "lossing a daughter".

There's a pretty large load of bull on our shoulders that our parents dumped onto us, and mass media is using those stereotypes to make matters worse. No wonder society is going to hell...


Salaries weren't halved... (4.50 / 2) (#87)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:05:44 AM EST

Not quite. Say, rather that lifestyle expectations have doubled.

Average home sizes had already doubled when I went house shopping 10 years ago; and judging from the homes they keep building all around my area, they seem to have doubled again. PCs, home theater, SUVs, I'm as infected by new-toy syndrome as any member of the American middle-class, but it's still startling when you find out what the "standard" is for children's birthday parties in my neighborhood.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Anti-feminist rhetoric (4.33 / 3) (#91)
by Paul Johnson on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:14:32 AM EST

For example, the liberation of women doubled the workforce. This means that salaries were halved, and with few exceptions, it has become a requirement for both people in a couple to work.

Say what? Let me count the ways I can refute this one.

  1. Evidence: Median hourly pay, adjusted for inflation, has gone up pretty much continuously for the past century. Womens Lib did not make a dent in this trend.
  2. Theory: you seem to be a victim of the "lump of labour" fallacy, which states that there is only so much paid work to go around, so if one group (women) takes more work then there is automatically less work for another group (men). Similar arguments are frequently used to justify excluding racial groups from the workforce, or to justify mandatory maximum working hours. In fact the basic assumption of a fixed demand for labour is wrong. As labour gets cheaper so the demand increases. But equally as people get richer so they demand more things that require that labour to make. Ultimately if you factor out the money the fact that women are more productively employed than as domestic cleaners and child-carers makes everyone better off.
As for your claim that today most couples "have to" both work, I would say it is simply false. Most couples choose to both work because they are much better off, can afford to buy a house instead of renting, and so on. Womens lib has made this choice available to them. But even if a couple decide that one partner is going to stay at home today they will still be much better off than they would have been in 1900.

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Huh? Real wages... (4.50 / 2) (#133)
by dcheesi on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:19:20 PM EST

Evidence: Median hourly pay, adjusted for inflation, has gone up pretty much continuously for the past century. Womens Lib did not make a dent in this trend.

What is your source for this? Is this UK-specific? In the US, it is my understanding that so-called 'real' wages have been declining for a few decades now. Obviously each nation will have its own statistical trends. All I know is, I've got a decent professional-level job (in the US), and I don't think I could support a wife & two kids on my salary alone, at least not to middle class standards (and I'm not even including high-tech toys in that calc.)

BTW, using 1900 as a baseline for standard of living is a little unfair. It's apples & oranges, really. A better standard for the US at least would be the '50s. People then had most of the modern conveniences, though not all of the cool tech-toys. Most families back then made comfortable livings off of one salary.

[ Parent ]

Lies, damned lies and... (none / 0) (#164)
by Paul Johnson on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 09:44:31 PM EST

What is your source for this?

A half-remembered article in The Economist. Sorry I can't lay my hands on it right now.

Is this UK-specific? In the US, it is my understanding that so-called 'real' wages have been declining for a few decades now.

Yes, this is UK-specific. A quick look with Google located some statistics suggesting that the median real wage in the US has been about constant over that period, although the top 5% have done very well.

However I also encountered a claim that the CPI has been consistently over-estimated during that time by somewhere between 0.5 and 1.5% per annum. If you correct for that then I think that real wages have indeed risen over the last 25 years.

However I was talking about the last 100 years, a time frame I chose because it encompases the rise of the Women's Liberation movement. The early sufferagettes were marching around 100 years ago.

People then had most of the modern conveniences, though not all of the cool tech-toys.

But those "tech-toys" (like transistor radios, colour TVs, and cars that don't kill you in a crash) are one of the main reasons why people are richer today than they used to be. We have new products of course, but the old ones work better too. Try getting in a vintage 1950s car sometime (everyday model, not luxury) and see how it felt to drive.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

Old cars (none / 0) (#202)
by Mitheral on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 07:33:52 PM EST

Try getting in a vintage 1950s car sometime (everyday model, not luxury) and see how it felt to drive

No doubt! I love my '66 Windsor 2DRHT and my dad had a lot of fun with his '46 Ford but man can they be a pain in the butt. The two outstanding examples of that are batteries and tires. I give no thought to jumping in my car and making a 3000km trip with just a single spare, and I won't even use that. 40 years ago 3000km was a major undertaking and it wouldn't be unheard of to change two or more tires. Old cars are fun but new cars are better. Now if we could just convince automakers to put the high beam switch back where it belongs, on the floor :)

[ Parent ]

High Beam switches (3.00 / 1) (#212)
by cam on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:34:51 PM EST

Now if we could just convince automakers to put the high beam switch back where it belongs, on the floor :)

My 1962 EJ Holden had the high beams switch in the floor. It also had a triangular block of wood to rest the left foot on especially after having to deal with an HQ one-tonner's clutch, but also meant that you had to point your toe over the block to get to the high beam switch. I loved that car, it broke my heart to sell it when I moved.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Better living through technology (none / 0) (#217)
by Paul Johnson on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 06:08:50 AM EST

BTW, using 1900 as a baseline for standard of living is a little unfair. It's apples & oranges, really. A better standard for the US at least would be the '50s. People then had most of the modern conveniences, though not all of the cool tech-toys.

This factor is one of the hardest to deal with when measuring "standard of living".

Take computers for example. Ten years ago to get the performance of a modern £1000 PC you would have had to spend say £50,000. So now you have a machine on your desk that costs £49,000 less than it did ten years ago. Does that make you £49,000 better off? No because you didn't spend £50,000 on a computer 10 years ago. But to say it leaves you no better off is equally misleading. If newer computers are no better than old computers then why do people upgrade?

The most accurate answer is that your wealth has increased by whatever the difference is between the price now and what you would have paid for that performance had it been available then. Maybe you would have paid £3,000. If so then your wealth has increased by £2,000. But that number is a pretty hypothetical one, and is going to vary widely for different people. So measuring the increase in "utility" from new technology is a hard problem.

This doesn't just apply to computers. 100 years ago light mean daylight, gaslight, candles or oil lamps. All of the artifical light sources were dim, smoky and flickery. There was no equivalent of the modern gas mantle (heated to incandescence by hot, lean combustion), you just had a yellow smoky flame. You can measure the running costs of these light sources and the amount that people spent on artificial light, but how do you measure the improvement in quality of life?

Paul.
You are lost in a twisty maze of little standards, all different.
[ Parent ]

All valid points, but... (none / 0) (#156)
by annenk38 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:36:03 PM EST

The emancipation of women should not be viewed so narrowly as a mere means to dilute salaries. It has served as a remarkably mellow poplation stabilizer, considering the alternatives -- war and famine. In 1729 Jonathan Swift wrote this piece of satire to address just this problem.

And if my left hand causes me to stumble as well -- what do I cut it off with? -- Harry, Prince of Wales (The Blackadder)
[ Parent ]
You're turning the story around... (none / 0) (#199)
by elgardo on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 04:41:26 PM EST

I am not saying that the liberation of women is a bad thing. This change in society has both good and bad side effects. Gender equality, a more diverse workplace, and basically, everyone getting the same chances in life are good things. (Though from my experience, the US is still WAYYYY in the back when it comes to an actual cultural change, as American society is still clinging on to gender roles much more so than Europe)

What I *am* saying, is that one of the contributors to these bad things that are happening is, in fact, the liberation of women. It is not as much the fact that women are liberated, but how we are dealing with this fact. So much focus has been given to the rights of women, that we have all forgotten about the responsibilities she was taking care of when she was home. As a result, these things, such as keeping the family together, raising the children, etc, has been moved to the back of the line.

With nobody raising the children anymore (somehow, TV and Internet have become "babysitters", with no real quality control), and the family pattern being so much looser, it is not strange that these children grow up with a completely different set of morals and expectations from life. And before it, THEY are taking even fewer responsibilities when THEY are supposed to raise their own.

So - I listed a bunch of things that has had an impact on this. And yes, women's liberation is one of those things.


[ Parent ]
Salaries halved? Not by women, but by taxes! (none / 0) (#193)
by webwench on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 02:02:07 PM EST

Salaries weren't halved -- double-check your stats.

The portion of salary you take home, as a proportion to your gross, has been sliced into pretty heavily. You can thank taxes for that.

Also, point number two: many, many married women aren't *forced* to work -- they want to work. If you doubt this, quit your job and stay home for a few months while your wife works. I wager that after a few months, you will want to go back to work just to have some adult interaction and feel 'productive'. Guess what? Many women feel the same way!

Is it really so hard to imagine, that you must manufacture this 'salaries have been cut in half' routine?



[ Parent ]

Generation X? No. (4.20 / 5) (#90)
by dvena on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:13:40 AM EST

generation x'ers would not be in their early 20's right now. that's one generation behind.

read your coupland! :)

Good point, but _Shampoo Planet_ sucked! (none / 0) (#141)
by Sl0w h4nD on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:13:12 PM EST

These people are the "Global Teens" from _Generation X_. But I think the interesting point is how off these writers and commentators are. Who watches Good Morning America? F'ing Baby Boomers, that's who. What I found funny, is that two of my baby boomer uncles (out of four), had several of these starter marriages back in the 60s & 70s. It seems that an enterprising Global Teen is trying to to sell their story by projecting the Baby Boomers' youthful indiscretions on my generation. After all, the article states there's no real way to track the trends, and merely compares the numbers today to the much more conservative era of the 50s & early 60s.

[ Parent ]
You're not gonna like this, but here's how it is (2.37 / 8) (#93)
by czth on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:22:48 AM EST

Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)

Marriage is not a game, nor merely something to paint a thin veneer of legitimacy on fornication. It's a serious commitment. A "temporary marriage" makes a mockery of the institution, and is no marriage at all; why bother?

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:22-33)

That's what marriage is supposed to be about. If you think it sounds old-fashioned for this day and age, look more carefully; marriage is meant to be an equal partnership, although the man is invested with final authority - and also responsibility. God invented marriage. He gets to define the terms, because He knows what's best.

(If it matters: no, I'm not married, but I've heard enough from people that are, some that have been for many years, to be able to say that marriage as a commitment is far better than marriage as a convenience. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.)

czth

AV (none / 0) (#97)
by sto0 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:55:31 AM EST

Just a quick question -- why do you have to use quotes from the Authorised Version (I assume it's this version... correct me if I'm wrong)? There are plenty more up-to-date interpretations. Do you speak using "thee"s and "thou"s yourself?

Sorry, just a pet hate here!

[ Parent ]
Authorized (King James) Version (none / 0) (#120)
by czth on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:26:03 PM EST

Just a quick question -- why do you have to use quotes from the Authorised Version (I assume it's this version... correct me if I'm wrong)? There are plenty more up-to-date interpretations. Do you speak using "thee"s and "thou"s yourself?

Brought up with it, I guess. I don't habitually speak middle English, but I can :). I also read Greek, and find the AV (KJV) to be a very (if not the most) accurate translation. New isn't always better, and the scholars of Oxford and Cambridge did good work. I might consider the NKJV or the NASB as possible alternates.

czth

[ Parent ]

King James is accurate? (none / 0) (#153)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:51:34 PM EST

[I] find the AV (KJV) to be a very (if not the most) accurate translation.

Really? It's an english translation from a Greek text known to have several deviations from more original texts (many of which were not known at the time), and when the translators had trouble translating the Greek, which they were less than authorities on, they turned to the Latin translation which was known to have many modifications created by Roman Catholic scribes.

It was created by a government, as a tool to control and rule a country. Ignoring common errors (Which sea did Moses cross?), the King James version has many innaccuracies caused simply by a lack of expertise and decent sources.

I much prefer, and trust, the NIV. I like the fact that it points out alternative interpretations. It points out the places where KJV differs. Now, it doesnt have the formal sounding Middle English (which modern people have a tendency to often misunderstand), and it isnt as much of a literary work of art, but I want accuracy, not beauty. It has enough contradictions as it is.

[ Parent ]

[OT] Well, if you want to be picky... (none / 0) (#171)
by czth on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:03:32 AM EST

[I] find the AV (KJV) to be a very (if not the most) accurate translation.

Really? It's an english translation from a Greek text known to have several deviations from more original texts (many of which were not known at the time), and when the translators had trouble translating the Greek, which they were less than authorities on, they turned to the Latin translation which was known to have many modifications created by Roman Catholic scribes.

I actually like the New Scofield (C. I. Scofield et al., he was one of the founders of Dallas Theological Seminary I believe), which has copious notes/cross-references and many word changes where the KJV is too archaic (e.g. it replaces "ouches" with "settings") or plain wrong (e.g. the mention of "Easter"), while keeping the poetic wordflow and the distinction between the second person plural ("you", "ye") and singular ("thee", "thou"). But if I can't find a Scofield I'll use the KJV.

I fail to see how the KJV was used to control people, by all means enlighten me. They did throw in a few sops such as the use of the word "bishop", but on the whole it's a very literal translation (perhaps, some would say, too literal in some cases, transliterating rather than providing an equivalent modern saying, but that's why it falls into the class of being a useful translation and not merely a dynamic equivalence).

As to expertise, if you can come up with a greater work of scholarship produced at that time, I would like to see that, too. Remember, no computers, heck, no telephones, no cars, and probably the Catholics still trying to breathe down their necks. They did well in producing a work that was accurate (no, not perfectly so) and beautiful, and above all reverent.

And I believe Moses crossed the Red Sea, also known as the Sea of Reeds.

czth

[ Parent ]

Bzzt! Wrong! (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by Vladinator on Sun Feb 03, 2002 at 11:16:28 AM EST

    the Latin translation which was known to have many modifications created by Roman Catholic scribes.

Proof, please. That's just utter horseshit.
--
LRSE Hosting
[ Parent ]

Problem: America and its prudish society (3.00 / 3) (#105)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 11:58:41 AM EST

In my opinion, the problem is actually caused by America's absurdly puritanical society.

Stupid conservative "morality police" have decided that its evil for two people of the opposite sex to live together. They are still a minority, but because of old views, living together is a Bad Thing(tm). Only a whore would live with a man without being married to him, and a man who isn't married to the woman living with him is taking advantage of her.

And god forbid they actually have sex with each other. Thats a whole different argument. Christianity seems to say that the only way for two people to live together is for them to be married. So, when you leave home and have been dating someone for a while, you are supposed to remain apart right up until the moment you get married?

Yeah. I see why the starter marriages happen. People want to be with the ones they love. Perhaps later they find out that it wasnt enough for marriage. But many conservative Christian churches would say its a sin for them to not get married. Wonderful. Religion's powerful weapon of guilt helps to create even more problems.

Now. I have nothing against religion. I am a religious person. And I still have this odd urge to provide for and protect my girlfriend. But I dont want a starter marriage. So, I will live with her for a while before we get married.

[ Parent ]

Religion... (1.00 / 1) (#123)
by scanman on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:49:44 PM EST

... is nothing but a self-propogating idea, or meme. If you find it beneficial to "be religious", then go ahead, but I recommend you fully disregard the outdated and sometimes harmful "moral" aspects of Christianity.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

Morals of Christianity... (none / 0) (#146)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:02:34 PM EST

I recommend you fully disregard the outdated and sometimes harmful "moral" aspects of Christianity.

I do. On a regular basis. I thought I was clear on that.

I find Christianity's view of marriage, sexuality, and relationships in general to be humourously and painfully archaic. I am frightened by the number of people who actually still cling to them. I would have to delve into evolutionary sociology to explain why in the world I would care if my wife was a virgin or not. Divorce: Why not? Why punish yourself?

My girlfriend and I actually joke about "living in sin". Like we care... stupid fundies.

[ Parent ]

Living in sin (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by janra on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:49:35 AM EST

My mother calls my boyfriend her 'sin-in-law'

'nuff said.


--
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
lol. (none / 0) (#187)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:03:16 PM EST

I'm always stuck on how to describe my brother's live-in girlfriend and her son. Referring to her as my sister-in-law sounds like I'm passing a judgement that they should be married, but referring to her as a "girlfriend" seems to demean her (and her son's) importance to him, and to our whole family.

On a related subject, I'm looking forward to when my wife and I are sitting in the county lock-up, err, retirement home and cackling "Ah! Remember those good old days when we were living in sin! Kids today! They just don't know how to break a good taboo."



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
utter bullshit (3.50 / 6) (#119)
by ChannelX on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:20:03 PM EST

That's what marriage is supposed to be about. If you think it sounds old-fashioned for this day and age, look more carefully; marriage is meant to be an equal partnership, although the man is invested with final authority - and also responsibility. God invented marriage. He gets to define the terms, because He knows what's best.
Give me a fucking break. Take your Bible quotes about marriage and shove em. I don't buy into this crap definition of what marriage is. I certainly don't buy into "the man is invested with final authority - and also responsibility.". Maybe that was appropriate...oh...I dunno...in the 1400's or so but it certainly isn't today.
God invented marriage. He gets to define the terms, because He knows what's best.
No friend....God didn't invent marriage....people did. Hate to break this to you but mariage existed long before Christianity did. Where do you get off saying God is 'he'? How do you know?

[ Parent ]
The beginning of marriage (2.66 / 3) (#122)
by czth on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:33:15 PM EST

No friend....God didn't invent marriage....people did. Hate to break this to you but mariage existed long before Christianity did.

Perhaps, but not before the Bible. Christianity is fairly new (20 A.D. or so), the Bible goes back to creation at c. 4500 B.C.; the passage you want is Genesis 2:21-24. There are also several other excellent examples of marriage, especially that of Isaac and Rebekah.

Where do you get off saying God is 'he'? How do you know?

From the Bible, of course. And then we get into a circular argument, if we're not careful, but the whole inspiration of the Bible (as in the 66-book version, no apocrypha, if you want to be picky) is a topic best left for another time, i.e., you're not going to drag me into it, because I very much doubt you want to do anything but argue.

czth

[ Parent ]

of course all I want to do is argue (3.00 / 2) (#129)
by ChannelX on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:39:25 PM EST

Perhaps, but not before the Bible. Christianity is fairly new (20 A.D. or so), the Bible goes back to creation at c. 4500 B.C.; the passage you want is Genesis 2:21-24.
Actually the Bible doesnt go back that far (4500 BC....I seriously hope you dont think that creation, as in Genesis creation, happened then). The first 5 books of the OT are attributed to Moses who certainly didn't live that long ago
From the Bible, of course. And then we get into a circular argument, if we're not careful, but the whole inspiration of the Bible (as in the 66-book version, no apocrypha, if you want to be picky) is a topic best left for another time, i.e., you're not going to drag me into it, because I very much doubt you want to do anything but argue.
there is nothing else to do when Bible/God comes up. The Bible is no more a source of what God is than Norse mythology. Which one is correct? How about the Koran? Similar but not exactly the same. Who's right? The Sumerians, which had the oldest known written language if I remember my history, had their own creation tale. Which one is correct? See my point? You can't prove to anyone that the Bible is anything more than mythology.

[ Parent ]
bible origin date - 900BCE. (none / 0) (#142)
by Maniac_Dervish on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:30:17 PM EST

the biblical 'J' text originated around 900BCE.

the "job" text is supposedly older, but that's because it (in large part) encapsulates a mesopotamian myth that is substantially older than even judaism.

=)

[ Parent ]

The arguer. (1.00 / 1) (#157)
by SergeantRock on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:47:37 PM EST

ChannelX wrote:
You can't prove to anyone that the Bible is anything more than mythology.
You're right. Hence the concept of 'faith'.

SR

Oh yeah, I had thought the original intent of this story was the discussion of marriage as a social contract and not the legitimacy of various traditional religions ...

[ Parent ]
Sure... not before the Bible... yeah. (3.00 / 2) (#150)
by glothar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:23:29 PM EST

Perhaps, but not before the Bible. Christianity is fairly new (20 A.D. or so), the Bible goes back to creation at c. 4500 B.C.;

Um... wait... the world wasn't created at 4500 BC.

You do agree with this right? If not, then you just took yourself out of the realm of any possible argument by invoking the "God Made It So" rule.

Assuming you didnt, I find it hard to believe that the Hebrews invented the idea of marriage, since my guess is that humans have been forming mating pairs since Neanderthals. I find it humorous to even consider that marriage is something that Christianity or Judaism created. Most, if not all, foundations of the Judeo-Christian religion were taken from much more ancient religions.

Although, that might be a lie, since the world is only 6500 years old.

[ Parent ]

Do you speak English? (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by VivianC on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:30:22 PM EST

Where do you get off saying God is 'he'? How do you know?

I understand that this site gets many international readers so English may not be your first language. In English, it is proper to use the pronoun 'he' when referencing a person (or being, in this case) where the gender is unknown and the case is singular.

From an old song:
"You're arrested. You're arrested. Now come along with me. We're going to the station and the sergeant, she'll serve tea."
(Voice breaks in) "Hold it now. You've said three times 'The sergeant She'll serve tea.' It should be 'the sergeant HE'LL serve tea.' You don't know your English."
"Well, you don't know my sergeant!"

Viv

[ Parent ]
yes I do (none / 0) (#165)
by ChannelX on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:15:02 PM EST

I was born and raised in the US. My problem with 'he' has nothing to do with language rules and everything to do with the poster of the comment. Based on their comments it would seem that they, like many other people, view God to be male with a long beard. I suppose it's possible for that not to be the case for the poster but based on their posts so far I think I do believe that.

[ Parent ]
Christ is male. Accept it. (none / 0) (#215)
by dadragon on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 02:20:03 AM EST

Jesus Christ is God incarnate. God is Christ and Christ is God. Christ is male, therefore God is assigned the male gender.

Fair enough?

[ Parent ]
Female names of God? (none / 0) (#221)
by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 04:49:07 PM EST

I was under the impression that at least one of the Hebrew's names for God was female: Elohim. Any ancient Hebrew scholars care to comment?



--
Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
[ Parent ]
Correct (none / 0) (#235)
by dadragon on Thu Feb 07, 2002 at 12:40:54 AM EST

You are correct. IIRC the Hebrew bible uses different genders for God depending on the circumstances. I was talking about Christ, who is male. God (both The Father and the Holy Spirit) does not have a gender, so the English bible uses the closest thing to a gender-neutral pronoun that is used to refer to intelligent beings. "He" is the only pronoun that refers to men in a gender neutral fashion.

[ Parent ]
No (none / 0) (#234)
by ChannelX on Wed Feb 06, 2002 at 10:22:13 PM EST

That would require one to actually believe that Christ was/is God incarnate. I find that a silly notion so no its not good enough. :)

[ Parent ]
Parochial provincialism! (none / 0) (#208)
by Dr. Zowie on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 01:36:39 PM EST

The institution of marriage is much more widespread than the Christian cult^H^H^H^Hreligion.

Many peoples believe that
Marriage is not a game, nor merely something to paint a thin veneer of legitimacy on fornication. It's a serious commitment. A "temporary marriage" makes a mockery of the institution, and is no marriage at all; why bother?
without the mumbo-jumbo from the book you quote.

One of the things you get when you buy into a religion is a package of morals and accepted behaviors, together with a justification for them (within the framework of the religion). But, when you dive into the social implications of those behaviors, it's generally possible to find real, secular reasons for them. This is good evidence that directions which are ``handed down from God'' are in fact constructed by canny Church elders for reasons having more to do with this world than the next. If the actual reasons are well thought out, the social construct works; if they're not well thought out or developed for the wrong reasons, then the construct collapses.

Probably the best example of a secularly designed modern religion is Mormonism: many, many dictates of that church are easily understood in terms of social engineering (in the good sense of designing a working society, not in the euphemistic sense of lying). The members of the LDS church enjoy a cozy, comfortable, mutually supportive society -- provided that they can stomach the particular moral code and metaphysics that go with it. That's a big part of why that religion is growing so quickly in the world venue.

Most other churches, including all of the more mainstream branches of Christianity, develop their dogma in more-or-less similar fashion, though the mists of time have obscured some of the secular reasons for their actions. The Protestant Reformation (together with the events that lead up to it) is perhaps the most unsubtle and famous example of Christian dogma changing under political pressure both negative (in the form of the corruption of the Catholic clergy in the years leading up to Luther's actions) and positive (in the form of idealistic community-building by the protestant churches).

It's clear that there's something to the institution that reaches well beyond the teachings of the Pentateuch, or of Christ, or of any other human authority figure. It just works, and committed, permanent marriages seem to help the people within them (and cause much less grief) than less committed, disposable marriages.

I'm currently contemplating marriage and, I can assure you, we are committed to each other and to a permanent bond despite neither of us being Christian.

[ Parent ]

Not Applicable to most (none / 0) (#224)
by Chrisfs on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 06:36:43 PM EST

Fine, quote the Bible, now explain how that applies to people who had civil ceremonies, or Buddhist or Hindu or Moslem or Pagan cermonies . Are you simply trying to force your beliefs on them, do you believe all those people (practically the entire population of India and China, the 2 most populated countries in the world) are going to go to Hell ?
That's pretty harsh , as a Christian (yup), I don't believe God would do that. How would you feel if someone started quoting the Koran or Hindu stories at you ? Would you feel chastised or like someone was trying to push their belief on you ?

If you've never gone into the kitchen, how do you know whether you can stand the heat ? If you go in the kitchen and find out that you can't stand the heat, should you be forced to bear that heat you can't stand forever or should you be allowed to leave the kitchen ?
Metaphors can be really interesting ..

[ Parent ]
A Comparison (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by Maclir on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:52:54 AM EST

While I don't have the actual figures at my fingertips, I recall that in the last year or two, the average age of first marriage for people in Australia has risen to around 28 for men, and 25 or 26 for women. (I may be a year off in those figures, but it illustrates the point). These figures have risen from ages in the early twenties in the 1960s and 1970s.

Basically, the concept of marrying straight after (or within a few years) of school is rare in Australia. In fact, many people in their twenties will live together (and possibly break up in similar proportion to the failed starter marriages). Is this a comment on the US cultural mores expecting people to be legally married, rather than cohabitating?

You're Right (none / 0) (#124)
by matthead on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:55:28 PM EST

I think you're right. I mean, we have the "bible belt" in the US. I live in Kansas, which is pretty much in the middle of the bible belt. Here, I can say that a lot of people are expected to marry early. It might be by their parents, or friends, or even a self-expectation they picked up from lots of places.

Most of the christians I know feel like they should be married by the time they're 25. I know non-christians (but fewer) who feel the same way. Still, I wonder if it isn't a little religious influence.

Me? Why, I'm immune to the influence, don't you know. Hell, I won't be getting married until I'm 30, at least. :)

In all seriousness, I do think the young marriage is due to religous influence. And I'm not at all surprised to hear it's limited to the US.

--
- Matt
I'm at (0.3, -2.5). Where are you?
[ Parent ]
I dunno. (none / 0) (#183)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:08:00 AM EST

I'm catholic and my wife is baptist, we didn't marry because of any particular time table, we married because we wanted to spend our lives together.

I think early marriage is more of a role-model thing (everyone else is doing it) than a religious thing. There's nothing in the bible that says you have to get married - just that it's the only way to get laid with a clear conscience.

LOL. I think I just figured out why devout Christians marry early....



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
The Bible Belt (none / 0) (#214)
by dadragon on Thu Jan 31, 2002 at 02:13:03 AM EST

I think you're right. I mean, we have the "bible belt" in the US. I live in Kansas, which is pretty much in the middle of the bible belt. Here, I can say that a lot of people are expected to marry early. It might be by their parents, or friends, or even a self-expectation they picked up from lots of places.

I live in what's known as "The Buckle of Canada's Bible Belt" (Saskatchewan). I know two or three people who are happily married at 20-23. It seems, what most people who get married young don't realise is that you have to make marriage work. That IMO is why so many marriages fail in the USA.

I also think that it is more society than religion. The Mennonite church I attend seems to preach the "don't marry til you know she's the one!" retoric.

In all seriousness, I do think the young marriage is due to religous influence. And I'm not at all surprised to hear it's limited to the US.

It's not limited to the US. Canada (at least Alberta and Saskatchewan) is like that too. I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that it's like that in parts of Oz too.



[ Parent ]
Divorce is good... (4.00 / 3) (#111)
by maroberts on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 12:35:51 PM EST

..for society and should be encouraged.

Just think for a moment:
a) all the legal wrangling generates work for lawyers and thus contributes to full employment.

b) the fact that one partner has to move out means more houses are requiredm, resulting in a property boom, with increased jobs for construction workers.

c) now one person has to travel to see his/her kids means more travel, which means more car servicing or use of public transport i.e mopre jobs for transportation workers.

d) some people will consult psychiastrists and counsellers about thier feelings after being traumatised after their divorce, so thats the medical profession happy too.

e) both partners are likely to have to get jobs, resulting in the fact their combined income will rise, even if they're not together.

In short everyone benefits! So we should encourage more divorce! Noone loses out, except for the kids of course but who cares about them anyway........

~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
Re: Divorce is good... (4.00 / 1) (#115)
by skipio on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 01:08:16 PM EST

I guess you meant this comment to be a joke but it is quite clear that divorces decrease the efficiency of a society. E.g. all those lawyers, construction workers, psychiastrists and counsellers could be working on the fields and doing something useful if they weren't involved in all those divorces.
    "both partners are likely to have to get jobs, resulting in the fact their combined income will rise, even if they're not together."
The real important question isn't whether the ex-couple makes more money after the divorce than before it, but rather whether they are actually as well off after the divorce as before it. You know, it costs far more to maintain two households instead of one so it is quite clear that most couples are worse off economically after a divorce than they were before it.
    "In short everyone benefits! So we should encourage more divorce! Noone loses out, except for the kids of course but who cares about them anyway"
Everyone loses when people divorce. In a perfect society nobody would marry someone they didn't like and everyone would be happy ever after!
However, even though your "logic" fails to explain why divorces are good for society it has to be admitted that most couples choose to seperate because they are unhappy with their marriage, so it could be argued that divorces are actually good for society. Happy people are better for society than unhappy ones!

[ Parent ]
Regarding the poll... (4.25 / 4) (#126)
by X-Nc on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 02:02:10 PM EST

I have been married for 11 & 1/2 years; we have one child who is 5 years old. We are currentlly in the last stages of a divorce. The divorce started out pretty rough but, after a year and a half of crap and over $10K each, she came to her senses and now we're getting things worked out WRT our son and such. The marriage was doomed from the beginning but I wasn't informed of that fact (I do wish she had told me she was gay before we were married for 10 years). Still, I'm not bitter 'cause it was all worth it to have our son. He is the best thing ever. So that is why I answered "once."

However, if I were to take this poll in about six months I would likely have to answer "twice." In 6 days I will be in Thailand meeting a very nice woman to see about getting married. For the record: I am not nor would I ever "buy" a bride! This is just a very steriotypical "met on the net" kind of thing. Is it possible she is only wanting to do this to get a visa/citizenship? Of course it is. Do I care? No, not really. If I can get 3 or 5 years of help taking care of my son it would be worth it. I do think this is more than just a scam for a visa but I'm extremely gullable and a very easy mark so who knows.

What's this got to do with the price of tea in China (or in this case, Chiang Mai)? Believe it or not, I also believe that marriage is a commitment that needs to be worked at. My first marriage failed because half of the members didn't go into it with the proper commitment and attitude. My next marriage will work or fail for the same reasons.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

Find a counselor, man! (5.00 / 1) (#138)
by Sl0w h4nD on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 03:49:10 PM EST

Unless your a troll, that is, in which case, why not stay in Thailand? Just remember, don't troll the King.

Seriously, if you haven't had any counseling, you really should. If I were you, I would cancel that trip, call around for a licensed counselor or psychiatrist, and sit tight for six months. Besides yourself, the person who will benefit most from that is your son. Otherwise, you're just proving that old joke that denial is not just a river in Egypt.

[ Parent ]
How much help will she be ? (none / 0) (#223)
by Chrisfs on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 06:25:16 PM EST

Think about this, if she is only marrying you to get a visa, how much will she care about your son ?
Answer:not at all,
Kids need LOVING parents. You're risking all sorts of potential problems for your son, from possible (including verbal or emotional)abuse and neglect to her cheating on you (bad example for the kid)to her just getting up one night and leaving (also a great example). You'll want to be sure this is not a scam before you marry, otherwise a nanny or professional child care person would be a lot smarter and cheaper.

Chris

[ Parent ]
How can they get married the second time? (4.00 / 2) (#144)
by Karellen on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 04:51:32 PM EST

OK, so you have this ceremony, and swear to your loved one, in front of as many of your friends and family as you have had room/money to invite, to "forsake all others, in sickness and in health, for better for worse, etc, etc, etc... for as long as you both shall live".

That's you most solemn vow. And you take it in front of everyone you care about. And whatever deity you choose to worship (if any).

How can you then marry someone else? What is it? Don't you have any loyalty to yourself? To your word? Can't you say - "OK, I made that promise, and with hindsight it was a bad idea, but it was a promise goddamn it, and I'm going to fucking stick to it!"

Why doesn't commitment scare these people? Don't they understand how long the rest of their lives are?



Re: how can they get married a second time? (4.83 / 6) (#154)
by danceswithcrows on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:03:14 PM EST

OK, so you have this ceremony, and swear to your loved one, [...] That's you most solemn vow. And you take it in front of everyone you care about. And whatever deity you choose to worship (if any).

How can you then marry someone else? What is it? Don't you have any loyalty to yourself? To your word?

Which planet are you from, again?

If you've been around humans for a few years, you'll know that they lie, cheat, steal, go back on their words, etcetera, with impunity. Just 'cause you swear a solemn oath to do something doesn't mean that you will do it. Just 'cause your employment contract says you will be given time off in lieu doesn't mean that it will happen. The currency of loyalty has been devalued, simply because loyalty is not rewarded as much as it should be in the Real World--being disloyal is often rewarded more immediately and more highly!

People in general have no problems throwing this over because it's really easy to throw away a long-term promise for the sake of short-term gain. Especially when you've made a long-term promise to love/honor/cherish/whatever someone who turns out to be a Psycho Hose Beast. You get the idea.

Can't you say - "OK, I made that promise, and with hindsight it was a bad idea, but it was a promise goddamn it, and I'm going to fucking stick to it!"

"I promise I'm going to go out and run a mile every day."
(later on, in winter in Minnesota)
"It's -30 degrees F, but I'm going to risk severe frostbite and keep my promise. In hindsight, it was a bad idea, but I'm going to fucking stick with it!"

There must be a way out of any open-ended contract. Anybody with a bit of common sense can tell you that when you make a contract that can't be broken, you end up with all sorts of potential for abuse. In your definition, marriage is a contract that can't (shouldn't?) be broken, and therefore has hideous abuse potential. I couldn't bind myself to something like that, nor would I ask anyone I loved to do the same.

Why doesn't commitment scare these people? Don't they understand how long the rest of their lives are? Commitment does scare people. It just doesn't scare them that much, 'cause it's a big nebulous thing that doesn't fit in the average person's mind. A tough physics test is scary--but it's going to start at 10am and be over at 11:30. Commitment to another person is like having many overlapping physics tests scheduled at odd times, and you can blow some of them off but must pass others, and pop quizzes can appear at any time. Something so difficult to categorize is too hard to think about, so people don't.

As for the last sentence, you know how long the rest of your life is going to be? You could get hit by a truck tomorrow, or hit by intestinal cancer 30 years from now. You don't know. Nobody knows, except the Goddess, and She'd probably tell you to lighten up and not worry so much about it.

Matt G (aka Dances With Crows) There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see
[ Parent ]

What is marriage, anyway? (3.16 / 6) (#149)
by gblues on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:21:52 PM EST

.. a social contract created to provide children with a stable household?

.. a legal requirement for various tax breaks, etc?

.. a socially acceptable means of getting laid?

The answer is, none of the above. See Genesis 2:23-24:

"... This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' because she was taken out of man." For this reason a man will be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (NIV)
Marriage is not of a social or legal nature; it is a spiritual bonding. Of course, this doesn't get much air time in intellectual circles because it isn't scientifically provable and because the source is the Bible.

This is why Jesus bluntly opposes divorce in Matthew 19. To paraphrase, Jesus tells the pharisees that it is better to not marry (and become a eunuch if necessary) than to marry and divorce. "What God has joined together, let no man separate."

I know Christianity is an unpopular perspective, but then I don't agree what much of what gets posted so we're even. ;)

Nathan
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky

Intellectualism isn't everything (5.00 / 1) (#170)
by gmhowell on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 12:41:20 AM EST

I should preface this with:

I married at 26. It's been just over two years. You know that 'through sickness and health' jazz that you figured you wouldn't have to deal with until you were old and decrepit? I mean, at least 42 or so. Well, I'm going through that now. My wife is quite possibly fatally ill (she's sleeping now, so I don't feel guilty posting online;) and the thought of leaving her is unimaginable.

We didn't get married because one of us would be more financially secure, emotionally stable, with the purpose of having kids. It's because some things are right. We are better people because of it. It's not possible to think out. It's a feeling that goes every day. And it's certainly not about sex (the horror stories are true, and yes, that is in fact what wedding cake does) but so what? We're way beyond that 99.99% hormonally driven BS amongst 1?->25ish people.

When my parents married each other, it was number two for each. Both had 'reasons' for the first marriage. The second was a 'gut instinct' or something much like it. It's been over 29 years (yes, do the math. I'm legit. Barely. Piss off) Saw a similar thing a few months back at my high school reunion: people with 'reasons' for getting married didn't last. Getting married for a reason works when there is community backing (ie, arranged marriages) but not so where marriage has recently (ca. 100 years) been done for the sole reason of Victorian style love.

The trick lies in that what passes for 'love' at 18 isn't the same as what it is later. (See above regarding the 99.99% motivation of 18 year olds).

What's the point? Dunno. Mostly just adding my 2 cents. Trying to get 'into' k5 and away from /., and this story seemed more interesting than anything I've seen on /. except for a few journal articles.


When I used a Mac, they laughed because I had no command prompt. When I used Linux, they laughed because I had no GUI.
[ Parent ]
I can't agree more. (none / 0) (#177)
by KittyKat on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 05:07:45 AM EST

Firstly I'd like to say how terrible it must be to live with the possibility of losing someone you love at your age, my sympathies are with you.
Secondly I have to really agree with what you said about not having a reason to get married. I'm 21 and I married my husband 6 months ago after nearly 3 years living together, and there was no real reason for us to do this - We're students and under the UK system being married makes no difference to our finances, we already had a flat together, joint tennancy... I can't think of a reason to explain why we decided to get married when we did except that we wanted to - We already knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, we've lived already through some of the times during which a young person changes most, and our love has just got stronger through the time we have been together. We just wanted to celebrate our love.
I also think that although sex is reasonably important in a relationship, that its certainly not the most important thing. To me its the day to day things - to know the little things that really bug you about your partner, and live with them, and sometimes even learn to love those things. To wake up and be glad that every morning this person is going to be next to you.
Its not for me to say that these things won't be learnt by people who might have rushed into marriage, I know couples who got married for what I consider to be bad reasons, but whose relationships have developed and become stronger as they have spent more time together.
Similarly, even though it seems impossible to me now, over the next 10 years, my husband and I might change, might move in different directions, and it might not be right for us to be together any more. My point is that people change throughout their lives. Having watched my parents and other older couples around me, people change as much after what has been suggested to be the age of "settling down" as they do before. We don't know what's going to happen to us, we just have to make the most informed choices we can.

[ Parent ]
Amen. (none / 0) (#198)
by gblues on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 04:34:12 PM EST

I'm 24, and I'm getting married in less than 6 months. Why? No specific reason, other than a gut feeling that tells me that she's the right person.

Well, it's more than a gut feeling. I could brag on my fiance', but since your wife is dying I don't think this is the time.

I'm sorry for your loss; I pray that your wife makes a full recovery and that you are spared the pain of losing someone so precious to you.

Nathan
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
[ Parent ]
Not dying. Hopefully (none / 0) (#225)
by gmhowell on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 09:50:23 PM EST

It looks like she'll be one of the ones who lives. Hopefully. No. Now it looks like she's in for about three months++ of very painful PT.
When I used a Mac, they laughed because I had no command prompt. When I used Linux, they laughed because I had no GUI.
[ Parent ]
What's with wedding cake? (none / 0) (#220)
by Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 04:34:31 PM EST

I don't get it. Would you mind cluing me in?



--
Rev. Dr. Xenophon Fenderson, the Carbon(d)ated, KSC, mhm21x16, and the Patron Saint of All Things Plastic fnord
I'm proud of my Northern Tibetian heritage!
[ Parent ]
wedding cake (none / 0) (#226)
by gmhowell on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 09:52:42 PM EST

There are certain acts that unmarried couples indulge in. Frequently, it is cited that once the bride tastes of wedding cake, she no longer partakes in her activity.
When I used a Mac, they laughed because I had no command prompt. When I used Linux, they laughed because I had no GUI.
[ Parent ]
Two very different things (none / 0) (#219)
by krislin on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 09:26:59 AM EST

I think that you are both right and wrong, and the problem lies more in the limitations of the language we have applied to marriage than anything else. For good or for ill, marriage is a social and legal contract. The mere fact that having a marriage certificate allows one legal rights and privileges that one cannot have otherwise proves this (inheritance, hospital visitation, tax breaks, residency, etc.) However, it is also the spiritual cleaving of one person to another. That we have not figured out how to separate these two things has caused society great anguish. For the sake of discussion let us call the former legal partnership and the latter spiritual partnership.

I would say that most of these trial marriages (and many marriages in general) have little to do with spiritual partnership. The couple presumably finds one another attractive and likes if not loves one another, but that does not mean they are spiritually bound to eachother. In this sense, they have successfully completed the legal but not spiritual part of the union. Conversely, two people may live together without state sanction and be entirely bound. They are, in fact, spiritually partnered without any need for paperwork (or, in my mind, religious ritual, but YMMV on that one).

On the other hand, these people have managed the legal end of the marriage (for its duration) and that is not without its merits. Having someone you care about (and who cares about you) who is able to represent you if you are incapacitated, to inherit, to move with you abroad, to enjoy the publicly alotted fruits of partnership is not a bad thing and I don't think that there is any reason why people should not be able to enter into or exit from these sort of arrangements easily. (There is an issue of proper assurances for the welfare of children, but that is not an issue in this particular discussion). If anything, this builds understanding for the purely practical end of such relationships and will be of use when that real spiritual partnership comes along.

Finally, why formally separating these two would be a Good Thing: Government should not be in the spiritual anything business. It ends up entwining our religious beliefs with our civic needs and, as we have a multi-religion society, this is a breeding ground for horrible strife. I take as an example the gay marriage issue. One group says that gays must not be allowed to marry as it is against the laws of their god. The other has no such problem. Fine, everyone can believe whatever they want. But, we should not be able to remove from gays a state-sanctioned legal contract process, with attendant rights and privileges, that is available to others. Then the spiritual side of it is up to each couple according to their beliefs. A piece of legal paper should not make you married in god's eyes and a religious ritual should not make you married in the state's eyes. They are entirely separate things.

For myself, I have been with the same person for 5-6 years, and I would consider us married in the spiritual sense though we have no papers to that effect. On the other hand, we are citizens of different countries and there are circumstances for which the papers would be useful. We will get them if we need them.

[ Parent ]

You fell for the New Journalism (or is it old?) (4.00 / 2) (#151)
by jlusk4 on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 05:50:42 PM EST

Don't forget that the purpose of popular-outlet journalism is to generate profits, not report the truth. First, question how many "starter marriages" really exist, and whether it's any significant increase over past years. Or is it something just to get you worked into a lather and the phrase "ABC News" on your lips more than you otherwise would?

I am almost an old fart (3.00 / 2) (#155)
by epepke on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 06:16:24 PM EST

At 40, I just barely fit in the "Punk" generation, which I think lasted about six months. Or maybe I'm a Tweener.

Yet I think this is a fine thing. At least people who do "starter" marriages are being honest about it. Remember, it was the Boomers who decided to make marriage meaningless, while all the while pretending that it was oh-so-full of commitment so they got the cultural goodie points. Remember that fun, fun book Creative Divorce? Remember all the boomer feminists who said that marriage was bondage? Notice how few people grow up with their biological fathers any more? The old farts did this to feed their selfish need for simultaneous freedom and social approval points. Gen-X was just born here and has to deal with the wide swath of detritus cause by the Boomers' collective acting out of their youthful selfishness with not a thought about the future.

I think it would be great if we could have real, stable marriage as a norm, but guess what--all the old farts tore away most of the social institutions and norms. Maybe they'll come back, but it will take way longer than a couple of generations. In the mean time, at least those who go for this are being realistic, rather than the Boomer attitude of saying "gimme gimme gimme," not caring who has to pay for it, and pretending everything is just peachy keen..


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Divorce is good (4.50 / 4) (#167)
by statusbar on Mon Jan 28, 2002 at 10:16:18 PM EST

Wow! What crazy comments you people have here. Why do YOU care if a marriage without children involved fails?

After going through my own 'Starter Marriage' I now understand that divorce can be a GOOD thing. Both my Ex-wife and I are better people because of both the marriage and the divorce. We have both matured immensely because of it.

A 0% divorce rate is NOT desirable - unless you live in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan I guess. In the past, divorce was not an option for many people even without kids because of lack of support and shame.

A high rate of 'starter marriages' means that you have more people who are mature enough to not say "Maybe our marriage would be better if we have a child?"

Or would you rather that the 'starter marriage' people would have children in a bad marriage?

Maybe you are saying that the 'starter marriage' people shouldn't have gotten married in the first place? Well, no one goes into marriage believing that it will fail. Who are you to say who shouldn't get married?

--jeff


Where we get it from. (3.00 / 2) (#173)
by andrewhy on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:49:58 AM EST

I think the problem with us kids today (lol) is that, when it comes to relationships, we really have no decent role models. I surmise that back in our parents and grandparents day, it was probably somewhat easier to meet someone and get hitched. The idea of getting married and having a family was much more ingrained back then, and there was probably a social system to facilitate meeting other people.

Nowadays, it's so much harder to meet people. Unless you happen to stay in the same small town all your life, the process of meeting someone usually entails a series of chance meetings and frequent dating. Not to mention that people nowadays have some lofty and unrealistic ideals concerning relationships. Most of us have come from divorced families, and our ideas about relationships have largely come from popular media or peer groups.

A prime example is the philosophy of "soulmates", or the idea that one person out there was meant just for us. Just like some Hollywood movie or something, our Prince(ss) Charming will come along and we'll fall deeply in love. Not to say that such a thing couldn't happen, but when it becomes the primary criteria for a relationship, it's no wonder people become so confused. And one more thing: I get kind of annoyed when people always use the term "GenX" to refer to whatever the young people are doing today. Surely some GenX-ers have tried this marriage approach. But if I recall correctly, GenX was the generation born between 1966 and 1975 (or something like that). That makes the youngest GenX-ers somewhere in their mid to late 20's, which is the point that most people start settling down anyway. So next time you want to complain about the young people, try avoiding the tired GenX cliche.

If "Noise" means uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise to me -- Masami Akita, aka "Merzbow"

This is my big bitch about the boomers. (none / 0) (#181)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 09:55:51 AM EST

The flower children preached a new life-style of peace & love, freedom from material greed, etc.. etc.. Then they turned right around and became the "greed is good" stock brokers of the 80's.

In the end all that Happy Hippy Shit (to quote Pete Townsend) turned out to be "me! me! me!".



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
About "soulmates", though (none / 0) (#182)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:01:15 AM EST

The romantic idea that marriage is for love, and only love, is older than the boomers - goes back to the Romantic poets, IIRC.



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
GenX (none / 0) (#184)
by wcb4 on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 10:46:14 AM EST

a generation is generally considered to be about 18 years, and since the post WWII baby boom generation (1946-1964) ended in '64, GenX would generally be 1965-1983 or so, so the youngest GenXers would have just turned 18 last year, the oldest would be 35 or 36 now (hard to think of a 36 yr old as a Gen Xer isn't it?)

[ Parent ]
GenX (none / 0) (#185)
by ParamonKreel on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 11:17:34 AM EST

You're pretty close. Generation X was a term defined by Douglas Coupland, Here's some decent information on the subject. http://ask.yahoo.com/19990726b.html

[ Parent ]
The oldest gen-x'ers (4.00 / 1) (#186)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 11:50:17 AM EST

Are just starting to turn 37. Damn it.

thirty seven isn't too old to be playing D&D, is it? is it?



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Wow, you have time to play D&D? (none / 0) (#194)
by georgeha on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 03:19:43 PM EST

I barely have time to email my old AD&D playing friends. Married with two young children will do that.

[ Parent ]
Recent experiment. (none / 0) (#197)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 04:22:16 PM EST

One night a week after work - we're all "gen x'ers" with families, which means the game breaks up around 8:30.

No all nighters for us....



People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a good game... (none / 0) (#207)
by mcherm on Wed Jan 30, 2002 at 11:56:51 AM EST

Hi porkchop!

Say... I just moved back to the philly area. Any chance your group wants another player?

And yes... isn't it wierd when you have to go to K5 to bump into former co-workers!

Drop me a line: mcherm@destiny.com

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]

Easier to judge than be judged, no? (4.66 / 3) (#192)
by webwench on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 01:47:56 PM EST

Hey, everyone has an opinion and the right to air it -- and some of you never-married people may even have legitimate points to make with regards to commitment, keeping vows, etc. After all, marriage isn't the only place where one learns about commitment.

I will tell you though, as someone who had what some might call a starter marriage & subsequent divorce (although we also had a child while married), that it's easier to be high-and-mighty/holier-than-thou about the issue if you haven't been there.

Reading the analysis by the story submitter, I felt I could figuratively cut the contempt with a knife. I will lay a bet that the submitter has either never been married and/or is engaged, or maybe is very newly married.

The fact is that, even well into your 20s or 30s, you may think you know who you are/what you want & need for a few years -- then find you were wrong. Or you may think you know your partner -- but you find you don't. Another fact is that marriage is a whole different ballgame from living together. In a living-together relationship, you still have the 'security' (if you can call it that) of a fairly unentangled exit route.

Also, think about the typical family structure pre-1970. The wife/mother typically (although not invariably) stayed home and was supported by the husband. There was a pretty clear division of responsibilities, and the time allotted to perform each was also pretty clear. The wife was probably financially dependent on the husband, and the husband depended on the wife for household management and care.

Now, either unit can be self-sufficient and probably has been -- which makes division of duty a little less clear-cut, and the time management aspect becomes more difficult. Responsibilities in the household (in my opinion) have not yet caught up to the reality of the two-income-earner structure, and again IMHO the burden of married life falls disproportionately on the woman's shoulders. ( You will find, if you look into the stats, that more women initiate divorces than men, and married women have far higher stress levels than married men.) Overall, there are less dependency ties between the two partners -- so if either partner realizes that marriage isn't what they expected, it is easier to leave.

Also, when a marriage is troubled early, not only is temptation more easily at hand for the working partner(s), but some advice is received along the lines of 'it is easier to remarry when you're young than when you're in your 40s or 50s'. In other words, if it seems not to be working out, it may seem advantageous to end it sooner rather than later.

You know, you never know exactly how it's gonna be until you're there, in the middle of it, and you really can't be as valid a judge on someone else's decisions regarding their relationships, because you will never really know everything you need to know about that relationship. In other words, it's easy to judge others, but much harder to be judged yourself.

Personally, I'm not sure more divorces are necessarily a bad thing. I would much rather be divorced, than spend all of my one life unhappily dedicated to an unhappy marriage. The main difference now is that it's easier to make the choice to divorce, both societally and financially.



Yeesh (4.00 / 2) (#196)
by ryeshy on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 04:03:24 PM EST

(thank God for ... legalized abortion)

For someone who uses a computer... you should be more afraid of bolts of lightning.

pots and pans (3.00 / 2) (#200)
by chucky on Tue Jan 29, 2002 at 05:19:47 PM EST

How do we know this isn't just an elaborate scam to harvest housewares and sell them on the black market?

It's better now than it was before (none / 0) (#222)
by Chrisfs on Fri Feb 01, 2002 at 06:09:50 PM EST

>>It's a sad commentary on our society when people are getting married because they need someone to cling to or, even worse, because they have this notion of what they are supposed to do, so they just blindly go out and do it.<< Our society ??? Dude, look around and get a sense of history. This problem is not at all unique to our society , in fact it's prevalent now that it was before. 50 years ago, women were told flat out they needed to be married. People were expected and strongly pressured to be married young and have bunches of kids. If you weren't in love and married, there was something wrong with you. Divorce was a disgrace and basically not an option. If you made the mistakes in the article, you were stuck with them for life . Living together, as you suggest, was(and still is by some) considered IMMORAL AND WRONG. Somehow, you were supposed to magically find the person, know that you were compatible without ever living together and stay happy for the rest of your life. At least now in the present day, people who realize that their marriage was a bad idea, can divorce amicably. They ARE being responsible. Responsible to themselves and the other person. Responsible in saying 'look this isn't working out, let's not be stuck with this mistake forever'. Anyone can rant on how people mentioned were 'irresponsible', they made a mistake, they are correcting their's as best as they can. If there's no children so much the better.>> being successful and single, so when you spend 80 hours a week at work you're not neglecting other important things, such as your family This is a joke. It's a myth, I can oly presume perpetrated by employers, that single people can work 80 hours a week and have it not effect the rest of their lives. If you are working 80 hours a week, you don't have the time or energy to meet other people and socialize, much less take the time to know whether you are compatible enough to marry someone. If anything, 80 hr weeks increases the number of irresponsible marriages rather than decreases them

You take this article at its word so readily (none / 0) (#227)
by ariux on Sat Feb 02, 2002 at 05:23:23 AM EST

Are the people you know actually like this?

No (none / 0) (#236)
by skim123 on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 07:57:31 PM EST

No, but then again, I don't know many people. Also, I try not to associate with folks who I find irresponsible, and I think such a marriage is incredibly irresponsible.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Starter Marriages? | 236 comments (224 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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