‘Til death do us part?
June, the marriage month, is here.
And while the Style section of the Sunday New York Times is overflowing with nuptial bliss, Al and Tipper shocked us all with their recent announcement.
Although New York’s divorce rate is slightly lower than the national average, it still seems pretty high at 10%.
Why hasn’t anyone invented the nano-marriage or the iMarriage Shuffle? Every other custom, ritual, electronic device, and fashion style in our culture is radically different from what it was in medieval times. And yet, marriage as an institution has remained eerily the same.
The institution made perfect sense when people were thrust into arranged marriages at 13, had ten kids by 17, and were dead of the plague by 25. Now that the average life expectancy in the United States is close to 80, one could easily spend 50 years of his or her life bickering over where to go for dinner, arguing about spending habits and whose in-laws are crazier, and pretending to be asleep so you won’t have to have sex or cuddle. Or, one can simply take the Tiger or the Jessie way out…behave badly, get busted, and spend a fortune on attorneys (and publicists, if you happen to be famous).
I recently polled my married friends on the Sound Shore (both men and women) about what possible alternatives to eternally wedded bliss might be (excluding serial divorce and remarriage). The suggestions included:
· The renewable marriage: with an option to re-up or bail every 10 years.
· The “don’t ask/don’t tell” marriage: taking a page from the military playbook. The risk here is ultimately being assaulted with a golf club.
· The 7% mystery marriage: This option seemed to me to be the creepiest; one should be allowed to keep exactly 7% of his personal life a complete unknown from his spouse – and could do anything during that time, provided he or she was a model spouse the other 93%. (Who manages the calculation process is the mystery to me.)
· The peaceful trade-in marriage: This would entail a basic acknowledgment that people may, in fact, have different matches at different times of their lives. Even Patti Stanger (aka the Millionaire Matchmaker) confesses to believing in life mates rather than soul mates. If it’s on Bravo, it must be true, right?
What’s your brilliant idea for the re-invention of marriage? Or, what’s your secret for eternal wedded bliss?
Twisted Pickets is authored by Billie Cleaver (a pseudonym). She claims to be a renegade relative of June and Ward Cleaver. June had a torrid affair with Eddie Haskell and Billie was the result. She inherited June’s apron collection.
AWESOME – so, in fact, the “til death do us part” model has some perfectly reasonable alternatives. Duh. We should lobby the various religious orders and establish a “choose here” marriage ceremony. Maybe the Unitarians are the best choice. I was too dopey at 25 to be this pragmatic – but can’t we advise our children to give themselves a less painful out?