At Will Marriage

Hello F(r)iends,

I was attending a seminar today regarding at will employment. The speaker mentioned that relationships between employees and employers are sometimes as difficult as the relationships between married persons.

It struck me how the employment laws in the United States are much more stricter on employer-employee relationships that are “at will” then legal contracts signed by people commiting to marriage. There are many various rules that must be met with employment relationships; however, divorce is now pretty much as simple as saying: “I don’t like her/him anymore” and filing for divorce. What happened to binding, legal commitment? In the past people would be asked: “On what grounds are you filing for divorce?”

I contend that U.S. laws have highly contributed to the “at will” state of marriage; thus, high divorce rates are a consequence.


i dont have much of a say in this, but i personally think that once two people create a family, it is unfair for everyone when someone backs out of the marriage.

Do you think that should be the case in marriage? 'Cause if you’re gonna make it harder to get a divorce, you gotta have all the other crap to go along with it, that you mentioned in that quote there.

Divorce is the setting aside of a legal arrangement. It has nothing to do with the quality or internal arrangements inside a committment. Make it harder to obtain a legal separation? Sure, go ahead. It won’t change the real ‘divorce’ one bit. ALL marriages are marraige at will. All the legalities in the world changes nothing.


:confused: Sometimes it is necessary to run like hell from an abusive spouse. I did and my son and I are far better off now.

Also, if a person chooses to contest the divorce it can take years. Mine took 2 years and twice monthly trips to court to lose the baggage, not to mention the expense.

In that case your husband ruined the deal before you did. So, I still agreed with the TreeWoman.

I’m sure that her generation will have lots of interesting things to say about relationships one day.

I suppose, but then what two people do with their legal agreements is none of my business. If the entire institution of marraige was divorced from the joining of properties in a civil union, chances are breaking off the ‘merger’ would be even simpler, which I agree with.

That doesn’t absolve either parent from a responsibility to raise any children, of course, but then we seem to be in the business of absolving parents from their responsibilities in the US, not seeing to it they uphold them.

Hello F(r)iends,

Why not? Divorce is too easy. I also think it is too easy to get married. I also find it a tad bit sad that American culture values a lifelong commitment as nothing more than a test run… Any problems and divorce is the answer… I think the consequences or marriage and divorce are graver than the consequences of unemployment.

Actually, this is my concern… divorce is as simple as setting aside a legal arrangement. While I am certain that the ‘real divorce’ may often occur much longer before the actual marriage we must remember that there are a lot of impetuous people that would divorce for a simple misunderstanding about some girl’s phone number…

Perhaps what I am advocating is making it more difficult to enter into at will marriages and making them more like personal contracts…


Well, we can’t call it marriage because that has to much cultrual baggage in it. But having some sort of domestic contract become standard might not be the worst idea. They would certianly have to have clausing concerning an unsafe enviroment, that give the creator of said enviroment no claim to any property or custodianship of the child. But aren’t these more or less called Pre-nups. I mean certianly they are mostly used to ensure rich people keep their money but they could be written in such a way that people are rewarded for trying to keep the family together and operating properly.

Of course you would also have to have people admit that love and marriage really have little to do with one another, which is still a hard sell.


Hard sell? I think most people would agree with you here except for the starry-eyed newlyweds. We all go into it with high hopes and an illusion, but when the illusion wears off, jumping ship is the norm. Either make it more difficult to marry or (this is how I really feel) why marry at all? Mr. and Mrs. almost sounds archaic. Stay together because you want to rather than staying together because you have to.

the kids will respect you more for it

(I agree with tentative… all marriages are “at will”)

But listen to what you are saying. People get out of marriages because there is no love- this means they still think marriages should have love. Not only is this a very recent concept, but horribly untenible. Marriages are so full of stressors and problems that it is much more important to find someone that you can work with, rather than someone that sets your heart aflutter.

Of course maybe you’re right in that we can do without marriage all together in this day an age. But it still has it’s massive benefits. Just don’t try to marry the person that makes you feel like you’ve been on a roller coaster. Rather marry the person who you could have hold on to an envolope with a million dollars for a week. {Perhapse that guy you keep insisting you love as a friend and trust with all your secrets.}

Give me one good reason other than financial that people should get married? Too much pressure from the beginning - the wedding details almost kill the groom from the start anyway… Marriages set you up for failure. Til death do us part. Are you kidding me? A lifetime with the same person is plain twisted, which is why most normal humans can’t do it. It has nothing to do wih love… when you come to the realization that marriage becomes a business is when you’ve “got it.” It is, and all of the landmines of the business utterly kill the lovey-dovey part. Now I am not saying that there isn’t an ebb and flow… as everyone knows I am in my ebb, but clearly want some flow. Any day now would be just peachy.

Even now, I keep the illusion going… just to get me through the day, but it is what it is. It happens around 17 years… in almost every case… so, again - don’t get married, just enjoy the ride.


Reason one: You find a soul mate who is a great mate, but usually a lousy date.

Do not give-up. It has been smooth sailing, albeit with a few bumps, for 18 years.

Marry if you want, if not don’t. Either way, it tends to be a contract as many states honor common-law marraige. Chuckle, even Ben Franklin was in a common-law marraige, a very common practice during colonial times.

I forgot about the sacrament in religions - a good reason for many. And Aspacia, good for you… he sounds like a keeper. Actually I have a great guy - we have just hit a big bump - I think it might have been the kids leaving and the strange adjustment in that. You look at each other and say, “whaaaa?!?”

Keep up the good work!

:smiley: Yes, it is odd when the muchkins grow-up and leave the nest. Wow, it became so quiet, with enough time to read and reflect. Luckily, my other half’s and I have similar appetites, except he enjoys Nascar, a bunch silly men driving in a circle, and I do not. And I enjoy watching horse competitions and ice skating and he does not. Other than that, we enjoy similar books and magazines. I have to hide my National Geographic or he will abscond with it. At one point we were reading The Da Vinci Code at the same time. Grab it and go to the gym or it was gone.

Do you both enjoy the same hobbies?? The bumps eventually smooth out.

Take-care Bessy.


Hi Aspacia,

Well yes and no… which is the problem. He is one of the best fathers I have ever seen: dedicated, involved, giving… fabulous cook. Most women would look at him and never turn him down, believe me. He even makes a lot of dough. The downside? He is a work-a-holic, comes home around 9PM and sits in a chair, rarely reads a paper or a book… doesn’t communicate; actually I think he may just be the chair; I’m not sure. So, yes, I like to eat, and adore my children but…

Give me a skaggy-looking construction worker with a brain. I’d jump at it, and take the money with me. (sorry - a weak moment)

[size=75]heavens, I sounded a little angry.[/size] :astonished:

The benifits of marriage.

Someone to share the duties with the kids.
Someone to drive you to the hostiptal.
A shoulder to cry on when your lover leaves you.
Someone who knows how to make your eggs.
One TV is cheaper than two.
Extra income.
Cheap as free sex.

In short if you want someone to touch your soul, go to a club and talk about intellectual things.

If you want someone to live a life with get married.

Don’t try to put both duties into one person- or you’ll end up with neither.

It’s just an antropological fact that romance-based marriages don’t work.
The love a person has for there spose should be more like the love you have for a best friend or a puppy.


I absolutely love this. emoticon for right on, brother but why, Lostguy, do you need a piece of paper to have someone remain a loyal partner and advocate? I do see the benefits of cohesiveness for children, but other than that, why?

“Americans love weddings, but marriage, that’s a different story.”

Cokie Roberts

Which is what I have done for years and have many men friends. I don’t, however, think it is helping to bond with my husband, and feel that it may even be putting a wedge between us. Making an intellectual bond with someone of the opposite sex becomes a bit seuxally frustrating. (see the thread “phucking and filosophy”)

Best advice I’ve had all week.

If your unconcious the peice of paper- tells them this is the guy you trust.
The peice of paper makes the two of you share all your property- which is only fair when so many non-material goods are so easily exchanged. And in a proper society the peice of paper would make it extreemly hard and/or finicially painfull to leave or elsewise violate the trust.

But your situation is a little differnt I think. You entered, most likely, into a “romantic” marriage, and should probably try to keep it up. I mean you have a real duty to.

In this theoretical “trust” marriage, phucking those men (especially if those men were women- greek style) would be accepted and not cause problems. I’m afraid thats not your life tho.

:cry: Bummer. Tried counseling? My ex made scads of dough too, spent more than he made, and was a prick. Luckily, he is better now and has recently been great with our son. You know remodeling, my rental property which I put my son’s name on etc.

Talk to him, that is if he is worth it and not “stepping out.” If stepping out, personally I would kick him to the curb. Cheating is a deal breaker, especially with all the STD’s. Try counseling. You deserve a mate not a meal ticket. If money allows perhaps he could work part time and find time for both of you. Nice dinners, perhaps, if you like wine, join a wine and dinner club.

Heck, I should not be making suggestions as I am not a counselor. Bessy, I wish you the best and hope it works out.