Last night I had to look up some information and decided that I should archive my divorce proceedings. I was married in 1997 and separated in 2003, I understand that I am divorced now in all matters apart from money. I wont attempt to explain the insanity that meant I was still actively seeking a divorce in 2012 some 9 years after my 6 year marriage ended, you don’t deserve that. I dutifully scanned and archived all of the papers. Then, because I have done this before, I backed up my hard drive before feeding the shredder. When I had completed the exercise I looked at the counter on my all singing printer/scanner and it advised me that I had scanned 327 pages. I checked the dates and they span 2003 – 2012 and only received correspondence at that. How does a venture that is supposed to reflect love, sincerity and honesty take so much to end? Then I started to ponder the purpose and reason behind marriage, probably a bad idea.
This thinking led me back to a conversation with Marc yesterday over foster children. The foster children debate was around fathers and the states presumption that children are better with their mothers. We concluded that whilst it was wrong to make general assumptions most decisions are made on historical evidence and that doesn’t favour the father. The rules change slowly and I am sure that if we all paid an additional 20% tax the state could spend more time looking at individual cases. The very mention of offering more tax reminds me of the Simpsons episode with the bear tax, in short its not going to happen. Presumption is all around us and forms a major part of our thinking and decision making process but some is less justifiable than others.
I know many women that want nothing more than marriage, a fairy-tale day and a ring to indicate commitment are some of the more common reasons. I understand commitment and I appreciate that most girls will have dreamt of a big ball at some point. So far it doesn’t seem unreasonable. Where I struggle is the logic that each and every unmarried woman thinks that the women that ruin you in divorce are wrong. This theory only applies when they talking to a man of course, amongst girls all ex partners are evil (as it is with guys as well). As perfect as we are today the odds are high that one day you will be bemoaning us to your girlfriends and being advised to call it a day.
So where does presumption leave us? It leaves us relatively certain that marriage has a high chance of failure and that the failure of marriage is a cost far in excess of any value. In short the cost benefit analysis does not stack up. The business case is flawed and to put it bluntly even a rooky gambler wouldn’t touch those odds. Ladies, have some sympathy for your marriage averse partner. He is committed to you and he loves you, you know this and see all of the signs. Not wanting to marry is based on instincts that have been built up over decades, a collective experience as it were. The same inbuilt knowledge that you love in your man, the ability to BBQ, build stuff and be manly is what is telling him that marriage is not a great idea. You see, like all things in life, he has a level of presumption and its not leaning to a yes.
You may hear stories of women that have had rough divorces and difficult partners, but generally you hear them over coffee in an apartment or café. Men hear these stories from their couch, their floor or the back of a car that has become home. Yes your friend may struggle with the bills now that she is divorced but our friends struggle to find a roof. If you walk down a road and somebody says ‘go down that dark alley and you will receive £100’ you may be interested. When you see a line of people leaving the alley bludgeoned, bloody and penniless your unlikely to follow them. There are things we just know because others have found out for us, I have no personal evidence that radiation kills but I am convinced enough not to test the point. I don’t touch flames because I know that they will burn me, I don’t need to actually test the theory personally.
There are two real points that I have arrived at in considering this matter and a third was offered by a friend some time ago but is well worth going on the list:
- If it’s all about the fairy-tale day and the commitment then can we have a ‘civil ceremony’ arrangement that does not open the road to financial ruin? Lets develop a marriage variant for heterosexual couples that don’t want to ruin each others lives and see how popular that is.
- I know of some men that have married more than once. I would like to check the medical records on these people and see if they have received repeated burns from hot objects, clearly they are not able to learn from their mistakes after all.
- This from my friend. Why are marriages set for life? Why cant we have them on a renewal basis so that you have to send a form in every couple of years confirming that you would indeed like to renew your marriage. If you don’t renew your marriage lapses, no divorce, no trauma just ‘I chose not to renew’
I will leave you, my friends, to discuss this and who knows we may gather momentum and push for change, or maybe not. In other news I can tell you that the weather is not only glorious on the east coast but fantastic on my future Isle. Because I have not refreshed the vow for a while I would like to sign off with the commitment that I will have my Appley.