Why isn't marriage working out?

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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby neon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 1:32 am UTC

superglucose wrote:Socially it is more acceptable. In terms of impact, it's still quite insane. A child, in my opinion, who has a mother AND a father has a much higher chance of leading a successful, happy life. I have no statistics, but I heard somewhere that most people in prisons come from very broken families with absentee parents. I am convinced there's a correlation and possibly causation.


[citation needed]

Actually, studies have shown (I think it was a Hawaiian study) that children who have someone in their life with whom they can form a close emotional bond do very well, regardless of marital status.

yelly wrote:On top of that, in a world where the "classic" family image is slowly falling apart, marriage is less essential. It is no longer so insane to bring up children on your own, and the traditional breadwinner/housewife arrangement is no longer standard.


There has never been a "classic" family, that was a delusion of the 50's. Traditionally, families have included several generations under one household and that's just in the west. In non-western societies there is even more variety. The "natural family" does not and never has existed. What exists are many different strategies for survival all competing against one another.

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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby theonlyjett » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Indon wrote:Personally, I think the divorce rate is indicative of a massive trend in very bad parenting, that has led to people who are simply not competent at leading their lives - not only emotionally as in this case, but fiscally and intellectually as well.
This is too true. Our parents (as a people group) were ill prepared to raise us much like their parents. It's not that they were bad parents, just that they had things that they really didn't know how to say right. Or they hoped that their failed marriages were a personal problem and that they should tell us what their parents told them because their parents' marriages didn't fail. When they didn't also realize that their parents were only together cause they came from a generation where you just didn't get divorced and not because their marriage was successful.

Additionally, matters of money and personal critical thinking were also not covered. My parents for instance, spend too much money and have to make it up by borrowing to maintain their lifestyles. Bad example for me. Luckily, I was able to learn to think for myself (something that we all need to not take for granted) and see that the decisions they make obviously aren't working and therefore, must be wrong.

superglucose wrote:Honestly if I had to point out the most common flaw I see in relationships, it's this: people go into relationships with expectations, then generate more expectations.
Also true, but that might be a little too simple. I have read and seen through experience that there are 5 "languages" of love. Intimate touch (including but not limited to sex), affirmations, services, gifts, and time. Everybody gives in certain areas and takes in certain areas. The key is to know what your partner is looking for as well as how they are showing you love even though sometimes you don't see it. I believe this is the #1 flaw of most well meaning couples. Basically communication.

The second example you gave (your great grandparents) was a great example of this.

The first example you gave (your dad and stepmom) may not neccesarily be a well meaning couple, either, and could be an example of an abusive relationship. Also a failed marriage (right from the start) and also most likely not the majority of failed marriages.

mosc wrote:I would like to see marriage change in meaning slightly. I know that's never going to happen because it is so embedded into religion but that doesn't mean I can't propose stuff. Basically, I would make it a contract between two people to commit legally to raising a child.
I would be on board with this, but I feel that having a child in the first place should make you commited to rasing the child unless you sign over custody to another party or are deemed mentally unfit or something like that. Then marriage for the sake of children is redundant.

mosc also wrote:As an institution itself though irregardless of children, I believe marriage will continue to become less stable as women and men approach a more equitable state. The concept itself is one of indentured servitude and should be radically changed or abolished.
I would say no to both. Although marriage argubly in the past has had a bad rap, I know of very few people who don't believe that marriage is a partnership in life regardless of the roles played by husband and wife (or whoever). So the concept of modern marriage is not one of servitude, at least not where one HAS to do what is told or expected of them. In fact, as in the example above, those kind of expectations lead to disaster.

Finally mosc wrote:My godparents never married. Probably going on about 30 years now they've lived together. My godfather has always been against the concept of marriage itself. I think they are a tribute to the fact that the marriage contract doesn't make the relationship itself any stronger or less likely to break as well.
Regardless of calling it a marriage, this is, in fact, a good example of a marriage. Your godparents never allowed the expectations of marriage errode their relationship. Because neither was bound to the other and could concievably walk at anytime, they were forced to deal with issues and keep their relationship healty and strong. They are undoubtedly great partners for each other for this. My hats off to them for this and for being bold enough to live their life their own way.


In all, marriage today is not the marriage of the 50's or of the 1800's or whenever. There are radically different core ideas about marriage now. Is marriage even failing? That's what I hear Sunday mornings. But I see several generations working out how life really works. Expectations and standards of living are becoming much more of a global thing and we are not taking our parents word as law anymore. This is not a bad thing. It's just growth pains for humanity.

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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby 22/7 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:24 am UTC

neon wrote:
superglucose wrote:Socially it is more acceptable. In terms of impact, it's still quite insane. A child, in my opinion, who has a mother AND a father has a much higher chance of leading a successful, happy life. I have no statistics, but I heard somewhere that most people in prisons come from very broken families with absentee parents. I am convinced there's a correlation and possibly causation.


[citation needed]

Actually, studies have shown (I think it was a Hawaiian study) that children who have someone in their life with whom they can form a close emotional bond do very well, regardless of marital status.

Not to be an ass, but if you're going to request a citation and then claim the exact opposite...
[citation needed]
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby superglucose » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:37 am UTC

neon wrote:
superglucose wrote:Socially it is more acceptable. In terms of impact, it's still quite insane. A child, in my opinion, who has a mother AND a father has a much higher chance of leading a successful, happy life. I have no statistics, but I heard somewhere that most people in prisons come from very broken families with absentee parents. I am convinced there's a correlation and possibly causation.


[citation needed]


Sure. Here's my citation:

superglucose wrote:A child, in my opinion, who has a mother AND a father has a much higher chance of leading a successful, happy life.


Want the url or do ya think you can figure it out? I never said that there were statistics, all I said is that I heard somewhere and I have no verification that most prisoners are from broken families with absentee parents.

As for the person who pulled the race card:

It turns out that most of the darker-colored people in prisons also have the real black mark against them: lack of money. Sad, upsetting, true.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby 22/7 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:48 am UTC

superglucose wrote:Sure. Here's my citation:

superglucose wrote:A child, in my opinion, who has a mother AND a father has a much higher chance of leading a successful, happy life.


Want the url or do ya think you can figure it out? I never said that there were statistics, all I said is that I heard somewhere and I have no verification that most prisoners are from broken families with absentee parents.

As for the person who pulled the race card:

It turns out that most of the darker-colored people in prisons also have the real black mark against them: lack of money. Sad, upsetting, true.

Easy there, tiger. If you're going to pull a "I heard somewhere" and it doesn't sit well with the people who are debating the other side, there's a good possibility that they're going to ask for a source. If you can't give one (or even do a google search to find one), then it probably won't fly. You may want to get used to that here, especially in SB.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Rook » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:52 am UTC

Belial wrote:
Um, no, it isn't, and never was.


Did you miss that whole era of history when women were basically married off to older men they'd never met and expected (forced) to stay home, keep the house, and raise the children while the man went about his business?

While the woman went about her business at home, which the man was *expected* not to interfere in. The man of such a period is indeed the head of the household; outside at least. If his wife decides on something, there's a million ways she can make life hell for him in private if he tries to not comply, and short of physically beating the crap out of her (which in the same period was something you couldn't do without losing face), there's little he can do but comply.

I'm screwing this up. There's a far better description of how this particular type of marriage works best, but it's rather long and I rather get the impression the author's name isn't much appreciated around these parts. Anyway, for now I'll posit that like any fixed system, it's not perfect for everyone. I know that my parents/grandparents are friends with a couple who have been together for at least 20 (maybe 30 or more, I can't remember) years, and never got married simply because it would have seemed a hassle, and by the time they'd gotten into the habit of living together, they felt it was perhaps a little late.

If they ever do get married, it'll be for legal reasons because one of them's about to cop it.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Belial » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:28 pm UTC

Rook wrote:I'm screwing this up.


Erm. Any attempt to make imposed gender roles *not* look sexist is probably doomed to failure. Just saying.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Indon » Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:50 pm UTC

Personally, if we're going to have breeding contracts, we should call them just that.

But I might want to file my taxes with a woman I'm having sex with but do not intend on having a kid with - that in many states (in the US) this qualifies as getting married (called "common law" marriage) implies that legally, marriage is mostly about the benjamins. Socially is another story, but you don't have to do anything socially to get married - just go to a courthouse and get your contract signed and notarized and whatever.

Personally, I've kind of developed the opinion that the state doesn't have the right to enforce anything called a marriage. If the marriage is really a social and religious institution, then it can be communities that establish and enforce them towards their needs - the government can just handle the taxes.

As such, I'm somewhat in favor of renaming marriages into civil unions, and letting people call it whatever they like. They can establish marriages, unions-of-convenience, ****-buddy contracts, breeding arrangements, whatever. The government shouldn't care.

Then the churches can keep track of their own divorce rates among their followers, and we can see who actually cares about this sanctity of marriage and who doesn't.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:04 pm UTC

Indon, that is an excellently sound perspective. I would venture that people should not be allowed infinite common law marriages though, as there'd be nothing to stop people from meeting up, saying "Hey, i need a roommate and incidentally another 5% back on my income taxes, lets contract it up". And I *DO* have a problem with that, just the same as I have a problem with people treating divorces like they're as significant as popping a zit.
This way, the 'sanctity of marriage' which many reasonably minded individuals wish to uphold, IS, and those that don't really give two shits what some religious figure thinks about their union can still make life decisions if their loved one is in a serious accident.
I think it should be sort of like getting a residency in a different state, you have to prove you've been together say 1 year, that you already share x number of resources, and that they're the apple of your eye.

(Theres no real way to prove any of this, so just accept that I speak partially in jest)
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Pixel » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:39 pm UTC

Marriages (at their core) weren't about religion, raising children, etc. They are about preserving money, property and power. Your parents decided who you were marrying based on what other family they thought they would be the best FISCAL fit with theirs. You were told who you were going to marry, and you did. Then you had children with that person (to have someone to pass your money, property & power down to), and most of the time went about having lovers on the side. This was commonly known and socially accepted, even if it wasn't talked about "in public" (see the "Official Mistresses" of the french kings, such as Madame de Pompadour).

Religion got involved when they realized that all this money, property and power were being passed around and they weren't involved. By making people believe they had to have their marriage sanctified the religions could be sure of being in the loop of all the money, property and power and could exert their influence over it. Because a religion couldn't go about saying "we want you to marry as part of our religion so we can get a cut of the spoils" they dressed it up in love, and caring and such.

As personal independence became bigger, and biological heredity became less vital (and later when women were allowed to be entities in their own right and not just property) marriage for money, property & power became less relevant. So marrying for love rather than because your parents said so became the norm. As such, because you no longer had to stay together both to protect your wealth, and to prevent massive social scorn, you could in fact leave someone. At the same time lovers on the side became less socially accepted. And became, rather than the accepted standard, a reason for feeling that the marriage contract had been violated.

As such many more people who would have stayed together for one reason or another before (monetary support, child care, social stigma, etc.) now are divorcing. As such comparing current divorce statistics to ones from the 60's or earlier is useless due to vastly different social situations.

And don't get me started on the church's "defense of marriage" crap as a desperate attempt to hang onto power and control.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby yelly » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:55 pm UTC

I was always under the impression that Islam and Judaism were both quite anti-divorce. I'm not exactly well-studied in the area of various religious views on marriage and divorce, but that was my impression. Normally I would just take your word for it, but this strikes me as all wrong, and so I'm raising the question, I suppose.[/quote]
IIRC, historically, Islam makes divorce pretty easy if you are the man. I believe this was especially prominent among the polygamic Beduin, who only had to say: "I divorce you" three times and the woman had to just walk away. I have no clue how it works today, but it is definitely still allowed.
(Traditional) Judaism is also pretty similar, if you are the man, getting a divorce is not too difficult. If you are a woman, the story is completely different.
Back on-topic(ish), I am a huge supporter of the government getting their nose out of marriage. It simply isn't their problem. You should be able to do whatever you want with whoever you want, and just sign a document with a notary or whatever to get registered as "civilly-unionised". This is especially a problem in Israel, where you can only be married by the chief rabbinate (who are obviously not without their problems).
@Pixel: religious marriage definitely predates marriage for money reasons. Read the bible. (I am not claiming everything the bible says is true, but it is undoubtedly very old, older than tax cuts at least)
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Nexus_1101 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:00 pm UTC

can you imagin the world if divorce was outlawed. do you think people would think more about getting married fires?
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Pixel » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:16 pm UTC

yelly wrote:@Pixel: religious marriage definitely predates marriage for money reasons. Read the bible. (I am not claiming everything the bible says is true, but it is undoubtedly very old, older than tax cuts at least)


And money and property are older than tax cuts too. Think about it this way. If you are a dad and have five cows, and your son wants to marry, are you going to let him marry a girl who's family has no cows (so they'll need to mooch off your cows for milk & meat), or would you rather marry him to a girl who's family has 7 cows. So now they can get their milk & meat from both families, and when her parents die, and you die your son will be head of a 12 cow herd.

Look at dowries. Women were considered less valuable in ancient societies because they weren't as strong and kept getting sidelined having kids (f--ed up I know, but that was the thought of the day). So fathers paid dowries to get other fathers for the privilege of dumping off their daughter on another family by marrying her to the other guy's son. The bigger the dowry, the more likely the other father would chose your daughter. Do you think the son & daughter had any say in if they liked each other? It was a fiscal transaction between families. The church ceremony was a way of telling the whole village that these two were married. So the social stigma kept the first father from not coming through with the dowry or the other father from failing to feed & cloth his new step-daughter.

The local church/temple/synagogue/etc. was the social center of the village, so it was a convenient place to handle fiscal transactions as well. And the religions took a cut. Religions have *always* had their hands in the fiscal deals of their members, directly or otherwise. Some examples: The moneychangers in the temple, the expectation of tithing to the church, prostitutes in the temples, etc.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:20 pm UTC

(I am not claiming everything the bible says is true, but it is undoubtedly very old, older than tax cuts at least)
Errr... taxes (and cuts in them) are certainly older than the Bible.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Pixel » Wed Jan 09, 2008 4:29 pm UTC

Nexus_1101 wrote:can you imagin the world if divorce was outlawed. do you think people would think more about getting married fires?


For a long period of time divorce *was* outlawed by the Christian church. From the 10th century through today in fact. It is a hell of a time getting re-married in several flavors of Christianity, because the church considers you married for life.

It is outlawed by at least one country today, Malta. All civil marriages are for life because civil divorce is banned.

I suggest people read the wikipedia entry on divorce, lots of info on it there.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:12 pm UTC

belial wrote:It sounds like what you're saying is that, under this hypothetical redefined marriage, there would be no place for gay marriage because only a man and woman can have kids, and marriage is about children rather than love, now. That makes sense on the surface, but I think you're leaving out something crucial: Adoption.

Even under your new system, there would be unwanted children. Why shouldn't a homosexual couple (or even two people of the same gender who aren't sexually or romantically involved at all, ie two friends) be able to bind themselves into a similar contract to raise and adopted child? Or, for that matter, to raise the child of one member of the contract, which was fathered/birthed by a third party uninvolved in the contract? It only makes sense.
Oiy. And I tried so hard in that post to leave genders out of it. I fully agree with you, I just apparently didn't write it very well again (I really do try!). My hypothetical redefined marriage would be between any two people. You could even have it between two biologically related people. A father and son would be the extreme case I guess. Anyway, it has nothing to do with who or what those two people are, only that they join in a commitment to the child. Gay, straight, related, whatever.

belial wrote:Actually, it's pretty natural for the number to be one. On an animal level, it's very easy for the father to escape obligation. But really, what's "natural" is only tangentially relevant. Our psyche, our society, and our lifestyle has changed drastically from the state that you would be deriving "natural" from. All that matters is what's good and healthy for the people involved. And while there is evidence that a single parent family is bad for kids*, I can't think of any reason why more than two people couldn't raise a kid, whether it be a polyamorous cadre, or just the parents and a group of friends who agree to be equally responsible, or some other admixture.
Well, look at it this way. With a one person marriage, do you really need a contract with yourself? I guess I'm just against 3 or more person marriages in principle. I personally believe that the concept of a mother and father is in our biology. I don't care who puts on either hats or if they get, hmm, shared but I think there is inherently balance in 2. That's all I was trying to say. I do respect single parents but deep down I think it is less than ideal for the child.

segmentation fault wrote:also, dont underestimate the maternal instinct. its very strong. im surprised women who have miscarriages are able to move on from the intense emotional distress.
Many do have intense emotional distress. That's all I'm saying on that one.

22/7 wrote:I was always under the impression that Islam and Judaism were both quite anti-divorce. I'm not exactly well-studied in the area of various religious views on marriage and divorce, but that was my impression. Normally I would just take your word for it, but this strikes me as all wrong, and so I'm raising the question, I suppose.
Most branches of Judaism have no restrictions on divorce. I think discouraging divorce and offering counseling is inherently a good thing. They're not going to forbid divorce and there is no "for eternity" or some similar phrase like for most Christians but being pro-divorce is just silly.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Pixel » Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:49 pm UTC

mosc wrote: I guess I'm just against 3 or more person marriages in principle. I personally believe that the concept of a mother and father is in our biology. I don't care who puts on either hats or if they get, hmm, shared but I think there is inherently balance in 2. That's all I was trying to say.


Why is sharing it out among two better than three, or more? If they should have male & female parental role models, wouldn't more be better? The more examples they have, the more chances to compare and contrast the thoughts/actions/philosophies/etc. of them to find the one that suits the child best.

DO you feel that a child shouldn't be raised in a household where there are the two parents, and additional grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. there? If you don't have an issue with that, why is that different than numbers of parents greater than two?

I also take issue with the idea that gender roles are hardwired to biology and that it it necessary for parents to take on standard gender roles to properly raise a child. What facets of child-rearing as specifically the mother's or father's?(aside from breastfeeding)
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:22 pm UTC

Good questions and ones that I don't really have answers for. I can't tell you why a dude screwing a goat bothers me either but it does. I guess I just have some bias toward the concept of a mother and father being important. I have no citation for that, no factual proof, no anecdotal evidence, just a strong feeling that having a mother and father is best for a child. They can both be dudes for all I care and I don't think single parents should have their kids taken away but I definitely feel a mother and father is ideal.

My mother in law was raised by her grandparents. They acted as her parents. However, if both were around, one set (or individual) would naturally take preference. If you have a mother and father with a grandparent or two (or more) around, the grandparent becomes more like a live in friend or a god parent or something. It's rarely the case where the really become the parent.

It takes a village to raise a child sure, but it takes parents as well and that is not a role that can be spread like too little peanut butter over a massive piece of bread. Two pieces of bread to the sandwich ppl, two pieces. Open face can work too if you run out of bread, but two is ideal.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Freyja » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:46 pm UTC

mosc wrote:It takes a village to raise a child sure, but it takes parents as well and that is not a role that can be spread like too little peanut butter over a massive piece of bread.


Actually, it can be spread. And in many so-called tribal societies, it is. Children raised in these societies are also better off than many children in modern westernized countries. They are better behaves, more self-assured, and very rarely go through the typical bitchy, surly adolescent phase we consider typical in the west. In fact, there are a number of cultures where although the child knows who their birth parents are, they refer to every male and every female of their parents' generation by the same name. Take traditional Hawaiian society, for instance. The same goes for a number of Inuit and Native American tribes. To a lesser extent, many Asian cultures require children to refer to all women of their mother's generation as "auntie". There's no ethnographic evidence that states that more than two parents or parental influences reflects negatively on a child's upbringing.

Indon wrote:Personally, I think the divorce rate is indicative of a massive trend in very bad parenting, that has led to people who are simply not competent at leading their lives - not only emotionally as in this case, but fiscally and intellectually as well.


There's no doubt that the way someone is raised will be reflected in their adult life, including their marriage(s). However, your line of reasoning doesn't quite explain the rise in divorce rates. By your reasoning, it's the parents of divorcees who are responsible for this climb. If that's true, then why aren't those parents divorced as well? They no doubt acquired their parenting skills from previous generations. I realize i've interpreted your words on a very basic level, but it's a very basic statement that just doesn't hold up.

Rook wrote:Certainly, this is what I was thinking. I don't feel that marriage is outdated; rather, that people have a lot of misconceptions about what marriage is, and so enter into it far too readily. The current [general] impression seems to be the very child-like 'two people who love each other very much' scenario. No No No.


I agree with you insofar as the latter half of this statement goes. However, i have to argue that marriage as traditionally defined is an outdated system. What so many people seem to have either missed or just barely touched upon in this discussion is that marriage is first and foremost an economic arrangement. Literally, figuratively, and biologically. In many nonindustrial societies, survival is dependent upon marriage.

Let's look at your average semiperiphery and periphery cultures for an example. In these cultures, family means survival, and family is contingent upon marriage. In every society, family and marriage are defined in culturally relevant terms. However, despite a few differences here and there, the definitions remain more or less the same. In the average semipheriphery or periphery household, you have at least three generations living under one roof. The middle generation is responsible for caring for the other two, although the older ones (generally grandparents) may take on some child-rearing duties. In these societies, there is no daycare and there are no retirement communities. If someone fails to marry and have children, they have nobody to take care of them in their old age; they are at the mercy of distant relatives and local charity.

In the US and other core countries, this is not the case. Family is still important, but survival is not contingent upon it. Therefore, marriage is not required. Moreover, our definition of family is changing. Many families are no longer linked through biology.

In our western culture, we find ourselves living in a system of serial monogamy. Extramarital affairs continue to be frowned upon, but divorce is not. This is not so much due to the frequency of divorce, but the fact that it is economically feasible for two people to separate and continue to survive.

As for religion, the argument that marriage has religious foundations is inaccurate. Rather, religion is used as a facilitator to marriage. Marriage, in some form or other, predates religion. Many cultures use religion to define and explain marriage. This does not mean that one requires the other, or that one implies the presence of the other.

I would argue that the key to the rise in divorce lies in the fact that although it is financially difficult, it is possible for a woman to leave her husband and support herself and often one or two children. This is a reflection of women's lib. Women no longer rely on their husbands' income because they may have their own sources of income.

Just look at these numbers. Where do you see the dramatic increase in divorce rates? What do those dates coincide with? It's obvious that as women were able to gain financial independence (or at least the illusion of it), marriage no longer became vital to survival.

Thus, marriage is an outdated institution. It is a sentimental one, to be sure, and i'm not saying that it's unimportant. The emotional value of marriage is not to be underestimated. If you feel that marriage is for you and your partner, then by all means get hitched. However, it's clear that economics and divorce are inextricably linked. You can argue bad parenting and immature behavior all you want, but the real culprit is right under your nose- and in your bank account.

Edit: I had to add a quote and commentary.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby 22/7 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:02 pm UTC

Freyja wrote:There's no doubt that the way someone is raised will be reflected in their adult life, including their marriage(s). However, your line of reasoning doesn't quite explain the rise in divorce rates. By your reasoning, it's the parents of divorcees who are responsible for this climb. If that's true, then why aren't those parents divorced as well? They no doubt acquired their parenting skills from previous generations. I realize i've interpreted your words on a very basic level, but it's a very basic statement that just doesn't hold up.

Not exactly. My mother, for instance, created her parenting style very much in reaction to her mother's parenting style, trying to change the things that she now thinks (or rather 20 years ago thought) that her mother had done wrong. It's not a bad approach, imo, but people are bound to make poor choices and some people are probably going to be naturally very bad at it. There was also this idea that arose not too long ago among parents that a parent should be their kid's best friend, which blows my mind. I'm not sure it really has anything to do with divorce, but it is an example of a (semi) recent trend in parenting that (I believe) is detrimental to the soon-to-be adults. So it's not so much the parents of the divorcee's getting a divorce (they probably didn't) as much as them maybe not parenting in such a way as to create an atmosphere that encourages long-term marriages.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:13 pm UTC

Freyja wrote:Actually, it can be spread. And in many so-called tribal societies, it is. Children raised in these societies are also better off than many children in modern westernized countries. They are better behaves, more self-assured, and very rarely go through the typical bitchy, surly adolescent phase we consider typical in the west. In fact, there are a number of cultures where although the child knows who their birth parents are, they refer to every male and every female of their parents' generation by the same name. Take traditional Hawaiian society, for instance. The same goes for a number of Inuit and Native American tribes. To a lesser extent, many Asian cultures require children to refer to all women of their mother's generation as "auntie". There's no ethnographic evidence that states that more than two parents or parental influences reflects negatively on a child's upbringing.

Yeah and in my own Jewish culture there are several Kibbutz where the kids are almost entirely separated from their parents and raised together. They don't even see their parents except for Friday night dinners most weeks. Sure it works, but i don't like it.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Belial » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:16 pm UTC

mosc wrote:It takes a village to raise a child sure, but it takes parents as well and that is not a role that can be spread like too little peanut butter over a massive piece of bread. Two pieces of bread to the sandwich ppl, two pieces. Open face can work too if you run out of bread, but two is ideal.


Are you still speaking from your own vague and baseless ideas of what's "best", or did you actually have an argument or evidence for this beyond a sandwich analogy?

Wow, that sounded a lot more condescending than it was intended. Read those as simple questions, rather than the taunts they sound like...
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Freyja » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:33 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Sure it works, but i don't like it.


And that right there is the fatal flaw in your arguments. I understand that you don't like it, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing and more than it means it's a good thing. You can't base an argument solely on an opinion. So you don't like it. Too bad. I'm not a big fan of polygamy, but it works for many people, and as long as the people involved are consenting adults, who am i to judge?
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Pixel » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:40 pm UTC

Freyja wrote:
mosc wrote:Sure it works, but i don't like it.


And that right there is the fatal flaw in your arguments. I understand that you don't like it, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing and more than it means it's a good thing. You can't base an argument solely on an opinion. So you don't like it. Too bad. I'm not a big fan of polygamy, but it works for many people, and as long as the people involved are consenting adults, who am i to judge?


Thank you. That was more useful and less long-winded than anything I would have written. :)
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby 22/7 » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:19 pm UTC

Sorry, but the interviews I've heard/seen with polygamists (admittedly most of them came from NPR) indicate that, in practice, it doesn't actually "work" all that well.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Freyja » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:24 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Sorry, but the interviews I've heard/seen with polygamists (admittedly most of them came from NPR) indicate that, in practice, it doesn't actually "work" all that well.


Out of curiosity, where were these polygamists located? If they're from a core country, then i'm not surprised it doesn't "work". But if we're talking periphery and semiperiphery countries, then it does. And, again, it all comes down to economics. Things like division of labor, division of inheritance, and life expectancy all come into play.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:25 pm UTC

The concept itself is not evil but it gets abused. I would vote for keeping the ban on polygamy because most of the cases where it would happen would be unequal relationships where a male exerts his financial independence to create an unbalanced situation with multiple females bordering on indentured servitude. Have you thought about mail order brides? If I'm a millionaire and you legalize polygamy, I might decide to buy a few.

I am of the opinion that two parents are best for a child.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Freyja » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:29 pm UTC

mosc wrote:The concept itself is not evil but it gets abused. I would vote for keeping the ban on polygamy because most of the cases where it would happen would be unequal relationships where a male exerts his financial independence to create an unbalanced situation with multiple females bordering on indentured servitude.


Sure, that could be a problem, but who's to say the same thing doesn't happen in monogamous relationships? And what about polyandrous marriages? Polyandrous marriages, in which there is one wife and multiple husbands, is common among the Guanches, the Toda people, and some pastoral societies in Tibet. There isn't much "indentured servitude" in those marriages.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

wow you found a matriarchal society! Here's a cookie :roll:

lets all take a lesson from the Guanches who clearly have shown us the better way [/sarcasm]
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Belial » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:54 pm UTC

Being a sarcastic dick is not an argument style.

Also, how is allowing polygamy more exploitable than regular marriage?

Are you saying that men or women don't exert their financial independence to gain control over their partners already? If the partners are free to divorce, and they feel exploited, they can do what they do already: leave.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Freyja » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:57 pm UTC

mosc wrote:wow you found a matriarchal society! Here's a cookie :roll:

lets all take a lesson from the Guanches who clearly have shown us the better way [/sarcasm]


1. A culture with polyandry isn't necessarily matriarchal, and vice-versa.

2. Whether or not a society is matriarchal has no bearing on the current vein of discussion.

3. Nobody ever said it was a better way. I am an anthropologist. The only time you will ever hear me utter or write out, "x is better than y," is if "y" is violating basic human rights.

4. I normally find sarcasm endearing and funny. But in your case, it does nothing but prove you can't back up your stance with anything but an opinion.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Belial » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:02 pm UTC

This is bordering on crossing over into one of the various polyamory/polygamy debates we have extant, anyway
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:08 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Being a sarcastic dick is not an argument style.

My apologies.

My argument is that it's my opinion on how to raise kids and there are no facts here anyway. I was just trying to propose that marriage should change into something more child focused than parent focused and that the concept of a eternally committed relationship mostly dates to a heavily patriarchal society which is why it is slowly eroding.

/end on-topic re-divert
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby 22/7 » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:52 am UTC

Freyja wrote:
22/7 wrote:Sorry, but the interviews I've heard/seen with polygamists (admittedly most of them came from NPR) indicate that, in practice, it doesn't actually "work" all that well.


Out of curiosity, where were these polygamists located? If they're from a core country, then i'm not surprised it doesn't "work". But if we're talking periphery and semiperiphery countries, then it does. And, again, it all comes down to economics. Things like division of labor, division of inheritance, and life expectancy all come into play.

No idea? Utah, I think, if that answers your question. If not, uh, I dunno?
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Dynastar » Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:35 am UTC

It's interesting the default assumption is that marriage isn't working out. As several folks have said, marriage "in the day" was a highly unequal arrangement. Historically if you were in a good one that might be OK, but if you were in a bad one then it sucks to be you! Perhaps it's always been the case that 50% of matches were failures, but there was no way to fix those failed matches. Much better to be able to divorce.

I'm also surpised that no one pointed out that the divorce rate in the USA is on the decline- I can even provide a factual reference, which might be a first in this entire thread. :wink:

NEW YORK (AP) — By the numbers, divorce just isn't what it used to be.

Despite the common notion that America remains plagued by a divorce epidemic, the national per capita divorce rate has declined steadily since its peak in 1981 and is now at its lowest level since 1970.
...
America's divorce rate began climbing in the late 1960s and skyrocketed during the '70s and early '80s, as virtually every state adopted no-fault divorce laws. The rate peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people in 1981.

But since then it's dropped by one-third, to 3.6. That's the lowest rate since 1970.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/200 ... line_N.htm

Could it be that as children of the seventies and eighties many members of this board have a perception of the divorce rate that is no longer correct?

There's also been a lot of hating on marriage due to its historical roots. I think that's short-sighted. Women might have been considered possessions once, but it's no longer the case. I don't disagree there's some cultural baggage still, but a modern marriage can be between equals.

Finally I'll leave you with my data point, statistically insignificant though it may be. Stay-at-home Dad, wife has letters after her name. High school sweethearts but were smart enough to not get married until after college, and did those college years 150 miles apart. Marriage is a ton of work, but can be a good experience.

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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby segmentation fault » Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:51 pm UTC

mosc wrote:My argument is that it's my opinion on how to raise kids and there are no facts here anyway. I was just trying to propose that marriage should change into something more child focused than parent focused and that the concept of a eternally committed relationship mostly dates to a heavily patriarchal society which is why it is slowly eroding.

the child isnt part of the marriage contract. the 2 adults are. it should have nothing to do with children whatsoever. you can have children regardless of marital status, and 2 people can get married without ever having children for whatever reason.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Belial » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:00 pm UTC

segmentation fault wrote:
mosc wrote:My argument is that it's my opinion on how to raise kids and there are no facts here anyway. I was just trying to propose that marriage should change into something more child focused than parent focused and that the concept of a eternally committed relationship mostly dates to a heavily patriarchal society which is why it is slowly eroding.

the child isnt part of the marriage contract. the 2 adults are. it should have nothing to do with children whatsoever. you can have children regardless of marital status, and 2 people can get married without ever having children for whatever reason.


Read the thread. Mosc was proposing a total overhaul of marriage to disinclude the concept of romance and sex, and just be a contract between two parties to stay together for the purposes of raising a specified child. His replies pertain that arrangement, not marriage as it exists today
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby Freyja » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:24 pm UTC

Dynastar wrote:I'm also surpised that no one pointed out that the divorce rate in the USA is on the decline- I can even provide a factual reference, which might be a first in this entire thread. :wink:

NEW YORK (AP) — By the numbers, divorce just isn't what it used to be.

Despite the common notion that America remains plagued by a divorce epidemic, the national per capita divorce rate has declined steadily since its peak in 1981 and is now at its lowest level since 1970.
...
America's divorce rate began climbing in the late 1960s and skyrocketed during the '70s and early '80s, as virtually every state adopted no-fault divorce laws. The rate peaked at 5.3 divorces per 1,000 people in 1981.

But since then it's dropped by one-third, to 3.6. That's the lowest rate since 1970.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/200 ... line_N.htm

Could it be that as children of the seventies and eighties many members of this board have a perception of the divorce rate that is no longer correct?


I'll see your USAToday article and match it with this one.

Divorce is on the decline in the USA, but a report to be released today suggests that may be due more to an increase in people living together than to more lasting marriages.


People are also waiting much longer to get married. So perhaps couples really are staying together longer, but i'm rather glass-half-empty on this topic and i'd argue that the fall in the divorce rate is due to the fall in marriage rates.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby mosc » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:20 pm UTC

Yes, the real number is the percent of marriages that end in divorce, not the percent of the population that gets divorced each year. The statistics you gave are pretty misleading.
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Re: Why isn't marriage working out?

Postby leaf » Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:32 pm UTC

mosc wrote: I guess I'm just against 3 or more person marriages in principle. I personally believe that the concept of a mother and father is in our biology. I don't care who puts on either hats or if they get, hmm, shared but I think there is inherently balance in 2. That's all I was trying to say. I do respect single parents but deep down I think it is less than ideal for the child.



First time posting here, but I just had to speak up. The concept of a mother and father in our biology is merely that we have a binary reproductive process -- one egg, one sperm. Biologically and anthropologically, we are designed to raise offspring in herds -- many mothers, many fathers. Theoretically, folks, it *does* take a village, or at least a tribe, to raise a child. Society has moved to a more and more fragmented dynamic, wherein the nuclear family of Dad, Mom, Bobby and Sally becomes the mythical ideal, but we were originally designed to have a tribe of mothers and fathers. Many desert Native American peoples still live this way, for instance. In these groups, your father is the guy who sleeps with your mother when she lets him -- it's her brothers, your uncles, who can tell you what to do, and whose opinion you must court.

No value judgements, just throwing some other "factoids" and opinions in the ring.

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