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An Expiration Date for Your Marriage?

One guy proposes a time limit for marriage as the cure for divorce. Yeah, good luck with that one.

By Kristin Wong Mar 29, 2012 3:42PM

Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
If you're married and under the age of 45, there's a 50 percent chance your union won't last. But despite that fact, most people tie the knot with 'forever' in mind. Sure, they might not realize the heft of 'forever', but usually, the intention is: till death do us part.

But Tad Low, a writer for Men's Health, says therein lies the problem. He argues that, because most couples know they've got each other locked down, they stop trying. We know where he's coming from, right? We've all seen the slew of sitcoms featuring a half-assed husband and his hot wife.

But here's where Tad gets controversial. He proposes the concept of "time-limited marriage." Instead of committing for life, each partner has the opportunity to end their 'contract' at predetermined intervals: every three years, five years, seven years, etc. Think of it as a maintenance schedule for your marriage.

Generally, the reaction is…well, here. I'll let this commenter explain:

"Hell no."

But come on; let's hear Tad out. His theory is that a marriage contract would force each partner to try. It would keep them on their toes, making them work for their marriage. Theoretically, it would keep the fire going, and ultimately—prevent divorce.

And if you're really committed to each other, and confident about it, you shouldn't have to worry whether or not you or your other half would want to renew the contract. If there's doubt, marriage might not be the best idea in the first place.

Then again, marriage is work. And where there's work, there are people who want to quit. Perhaps an expiration date on your 'contract' would encourage that. Saying 'I do' means a commitment forever, for all time, for better or—and here's where the work part comes in—for worse. It's kind of a big deal.

Also, the concept sort of begs the question, what's the point? There's always the possibility of being together forever and not getting married. Or am I just crazy talking now?

328Comments
Mar 29, 2012 5:46PM
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NO--there's no way I'd do this. It's an absurd idea.
Mar 29, 2012 5:46PM
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No Kristen, it's not crazy, just forward thinking in our quickly ever changing world.  Yes, start thinking of marriage like enlisting in the service, no drill sergeant, only loving mother-in-laws.  Smile

Mar 29, 2012 5:42PM
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I like the idea.  
I love you is honest. 
I'll love you forever is unknown < to everyone. 
You don't know the future. 

I think this would make people try harder in marriage to be 
attractive and lovABLE.  So many men AND women check out 
mentally and physically after marriage - "you're not the person 
I married" <<<<< is actually true! 

Sure would cut the divorce rate!  
What would we call people who had a legal marriagerelationship "expire" and CHOSE 
not to renew it?

Shouldn't marriage ALWAYS be a choice?  

If you have to be with her because you married her, isn't that a huge insult? 

I'd rather not be married and know that person is with me ONLY because they want to be - and not because they HAVE to be legally! 

Great idea!
Mar 29, 2012 5:40PM
Mar 29, 2012 5:40PM
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Actually a big part of the reason that the statistic is 50% is because second and third marriages are factored in to "all marriages".  Reality is that first time marriages where the couple has not cohabited have a success rate of over 80%.  Where as second marriages have about the same rate of failure. 
Mar 29, 2012 5:38PM
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Divorce sucks! I am going through one now.

 

Needless to say, you do not go into a marriage with an exit strategy in mind. It is supposed to and intended to be for life. It is a serious matter and the decision to marry someone is the most important and significant decision you can ever make!

 

And I could care less about your religious background. Look at any other culture aside from this new modernistic, new-age, "Enlightened" culture of today and you will see this same universal commitment between a husband and wife.

 

And a husband and wife is a man and a woman! It is only in this so-called "Enlightened" culture that we are attempting to redefine everything!

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