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    This Exchange simulates the original Couples Coping Support Group. It is designed to help persons with concerns in their relationships, family, marriage, seperation, divorce, etc.Offering a wide range of real world, personal experiences, information, knowledge, suggestions, & views from real people.
    Marriage: One Time Only?
    3point14 posted:
    In the speech class I'm in, we have to do a persuasive speech as our final. She wanted us to pick something that hasn't been talked to death (gay marriage, pot legalization, blahblahblah) and poll the class to make sure a high enough percentage disagreed that it would keep that class interesting.

    For my speech, I am arguing that any marriage that is post-divorce should not be legally recognized. I'm not sure I really believe it a ton...but I also kind of do.

    The reasons I've managed to come up with are...
    1. Kind of a "fool me once" thing. When you've already been married once, you've already made a promise in front of friends, family and God to have and to hold forever. And you were wrong. So how are you going to put out the money, inconvenience your friends and family, to make the same promise you've already been wrong about?

    2. Could help uphold the sanctity of marriage. Be honest, if you knew you could only legally get married ONCE, would you be married to your current partner? Would you have maybe thought about it more, taken a bit more time? If you knew that, after one marriage you could never have that legal recognition again, wouldn't that make you more careful who you married? I think, eventually when people realized that ir was permanent, it would make them evaluate more seriously to whom they made that lifetime commitment.

    3. Could make people more careful about birth control. If your religious/cultural belief is that you should marry the mother/father of your kid, wouldn't you be even more vigilant if you knew there was no way of getting re-married?

    hahaha Like I said, I'm not sure I believe my thesis statement, but I do believe my reasoning. I'm not saying people couldn't have relationships after they got married, but that marriage would be just one sacred thing to share with one person. And I know, some people have marriages that fall apart in ways that have nothing to do with poor planning or something, but this system would (ideally) make people more aware of character flaws earlier on. It would encourage longer periods of dating and engagement, and ideally lead to more marriages that were based on compatibility and affection, rather than convenience or infatuation.

    I dunno, hoping this doesn't offend anyone. And I really don't think that the "good" party in a cheating situation should be then disallowed from ever having the benefit of a legal marriage, or because your husband hit you and you left that that's it, but annullment would still be an option, and would be just like a court case, with a judge and jury making the decision. And widowhood wouldn't count, because I think it would be evil to punish someone for something they couldn't control. But in "simple" divorce, where two people just wanted to not be married anymore, well, that would be it.

    Just a thought. And not gonna lie, I'm a little bit using y'all as guinea pigs to see what possible arguments my classmates could come up with that I'll have to argue against. Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions!
    ...oh, you know me...I love the universe, I love all the listeners, watch it! Here's fifty-thousand watts of goodwill! (thepixies bam!thwok)
    fcl responded:
    I think it's a great idea. We lived together for 12-13 years before deciding (ok, before I decided that marriage might not kill me) to get married. Marriage wasn't important, committment was.

    Your solution might put more emphasis on responsability and less on the actual wedding day (the party, the dress, the ceremony, the flowers - all of it ephemeral ...). Many young women see marriage as the culmination of their "princess" stage ...

    There was a tradition in the islands of Scotland, centuries ago whereby a couple who wished to be married had to live together for a year. If at the end of the year they still wanted to be married they did so but if they found that they were incompatible nobody held them to marriage. I think that's a pretty smart idea ... A test drive, if you will ...
    There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
    cjh1203 responded:
    I think those are a lot of good ideas, and good points. It is too easy to just decide that getting married -- and having a big wedding-palooza -- sounds like fun, and do it without giving much thought to the marriage itself.

    I think that having to go to court, and with a jury, to get an annulment, though, would end up trapping a lot of people in abusive marriages. The cost of having what is essentially a jury trial would be, in most cases, a lot more expensive than filing for a divorce, and people in abusive relationships often don't have access to much money. And what if a jury decided that a woman (or man) wasn't being abused enough to justify an annulment? She would be sent back into a bad situation with a husband who is probably angrier than before. In countries where divorce is not, or rarely, allowed, the women often suffer greatly at the hands of their husbands.

    The idea of having to live together for a year, as FCL said, probably would help. The thing that would probably cut down most on the divorce rate would be outlawing weddings costing more than $2000 -- if girls couldn't have a big pageant wedding, they probably wouldn't jump into getting married so quickly (that's not a serious suggestion, but there's truth there).

    It should be harder to get married than it is. Maybe require a year of couples counseling (and parenting classes) prior to marriage or something.

    I don't know, but you've brought up some interesting ideas. Good luck with your paper.
    a_pugs_person responded:
    I don't understand why you're focusing on the legal definition(?) of marriage. Particularly when coupled with the "fool me once" argument. Perhaps I don't understand, but to me, the promises/vows people make on their wedding day, whether in a legal ceremony or a religious one, are rooted in religious beliefs. We're supposed to live in a nation that separates church and state. People can enter into all sorts of contracts and partnerships - legally - multiple times over the course of their lives. These partnerships can also be dissolved for any number of reasons. Why should the 'legal' definition of marriage be any different? Two people (for the purpose of my argument, I don't care what their genders) have entered into a contract, which will allow them certain benefits - tax breaks, health insurance, etc. If that contract should no longer be mutually beneficial why should it not be able to be broken?

    I realize in a marriage - particularly in the vows - there are also other expectations - fidelity, etc. But, again, those are mostly rooted in religious beliefs. Although there are laws against adultery, fornication, oral sex, and many other acts still on the books in many states. And, as brought up in the thread about Fantasia being sued for alienation of affection, some folks will find a way to try to have those laws enforced. Would all laws related to sexual acts be repealed if marriage was only legal once?

    My state does not require a year of living together before getting married, but they do require a year's legal separation before granting a divorce. Annulment is not an option as far as I know. Did that year make me want a divorce any less? No. Did it make things any easier between me and my ex? No, in fact it made things harder because we still had to 'act as if' for a year. He still held out hope things would change. He couldn't or wouldn't move on. And I felt trapped and that I would be/was cheating if I tried to move on.

    I didn't marry him for the right reasons. I knew it then and I know it now. But I did try to make it work. For 10 years. I went into it thinking it would be the only time I got married. But sometimes things just don't work out.

    OK, gonna get off my soap box or whatever.
    IslandL responded:
    I think your premise is interesting Pi, but I would go even further: abolishing legal marriage altogether. Why should there be any benefits given to people who apply for a state license that aren't given to singles and those who choose to live together without a state license? Or who would get one, but are denied (gays)?

    Religious marriage would remain intact, and subject to whatever requirements/restrictions one's faith imposed for such an acknowledgment, but as far as legally, all persons would be considered individuals under law, not as "couples". That would be the separation of church and state.

    With more of the populace living together without being legally married, and the percentage of children born to unmarried parents increasing every year, along with the divorce rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the question of the validity of legal marriage becomes an issue within the next few decades.
    When faced with a dilemma ask yourself, WWJBD... What Would Jimmy Buffet DO
    IslandL responded:
    Under your proposed system of people only allowed to be legally married once, what happens to children born outside such relationships? Say a couple marries young, drifts apart, and eventually goes their separate ways. They go on to fall in love and have children with someone else. Are those children considered "illegitimate"? They exist, but they don't have the same legal rights to inheritance because they weren't born to legally married parents?

    Will there be a stigma attached to being divorced? Such that it would serve to keep people in miserable marriages rather than be shunned in their communties for divorcing? It wasn't that long ago in US history Pi, when the majority of the population *stayed married* and this was the case. I'd prefer not to live in such a society, how about you?

    The legal age to marry in the US is 18, perhaps younger in some states with parental permission. If individuals were allowed to legally marry only once, would the minimum age to marry be raised? To what age? 25, 30 maybe? How does that effect younger people who find themselves with an *unplanned* pregnancy? Do they have to wait, or do they get an exemption? Since you are already putting loopholes in place for cheating, abuse, widowhood, how many loopholes will it take to make the concept of only being allowed to legally marry once rather irrelevent?

    To "prove" your hypothosis that being able to legally marry only once is of benefit to society, you have to prove the underlying premise that legal marriage in itself is of benefit to society. What are your arguements for that?
    When faced with a dilemma ask yourself, WWJBD... What Would Jimmy Buffet DO
    queston replied to IslandL's response:

    I think that *could* be possible, but there are some legal protections of marriage that just make sense: inheritance if the spouse dies intestate, medical decision-making authority, etc.

    And, even more importantly, marriage as a legal contractual relationship offers some protection to any children which result from the relationship.

    I think come of these things, especially the protection of children, are worth keeping in some way.
    IslandL replied to IslandL's response:
    I thought of something else: If there were tangible benefits to being married and widowhood is an exemption to the "once only" law, would your society see a rise in questionable *accidental deaths* (murders) in unhappy marriages?
    When faced with a dilemma ask yourself, WWJBD... What Would Jimmy Buffet DO
    IslandL replied to queston's response:
    The legal protections of marriage are reasons gays are fighting for the right to marry. Why can't these "protections" be examined and offered to all individuals in some form? Since you are right, legal marriage is a contractual relationship, the same type of contractual arrangement (re: inheritance, medical decision-making, etc.) could be made without the existance of legal marriage. And already is in some places.
    When faced with a dilemma ask yourself, WWJBD... What Would Jimmy Buffet DO
    ImMe26 replied to IslandL's response:
    What if somone who has never been married before wants to marry someone who has been married before?? They wouuldnt be allowed??

    Im half asleep...I skimmed thru the post ....but had this question....
    Don't put off tomorrow, what you can accomplish today!! Procrastination is a KILLER!!--ME(26)SO(28)DD1(10yr)DD2(8yr)DS(2yr)SO's-DD(8yr)DS1(6yrs)DD(5yr)LUV THEM ALL ALWAYS WANTED A HUGE FAMILY
    Schmaylan replied to IslandL's response:
    Intersting question and replies. Kudos PI lol

    The one thing I thought of right of the bat is this: were this to be the case, some people would be robbed of the chance for that happy marriage that lasts a lifetime. I agree if I only had one shot that I would definitely take my time and try to know the person inside and out before making my decision. But with all that being said, how well do you really know anyone? You know them the way they let you know them. There are lots of decietful people out there and Im sure that wouldnt change even if they could only be married once. So if I were married to the one I thought was it, put my whole heart and soul into it and he turned out to be horribly abusive or cheated on me, is it fair that I wouldnt be allowed to be married to someone else? Maybe if I were the cheater, sure I violated my vows. But if I were the victim, I dont see it as fair. And Im sure once people start trying to make exceptions the whole concept would unravel.

    I agree with Island about the whole "religious" aspect of marriage. I have always thought this. I was raised in a very religous home but I never felt the need to fight for the "sanctity" of marriage in the way the church defines it. I dont mind if gay couples want to be married, it doesnt bother me. It bothers me that people are so small minded and ignorant that they would ty to deprive people of a basic right. The way I see it, Christians base marriage as a holy matrimony before God. Most gays just want to be able to legally marry the ones they love and be a family like any straight couple could be.

    I already live this mindset, I feel. The reason I havent said "I do" yet to DF is we are both still growing, maturing and finding who we are supposed to be. I love him more than anything but I dont want to be married prematurely and perhaps we grow apart and ultimatley fall apart. Living with someone first is the best advice I can give someone who is thinking marriage. *sorry mom!* I get judged a lot for it, especially now that we are expecting but its what makes me comfortable and we are both happy where we are.

    I only want to be married once, its all Ive ever wanted. Im not going to make my decision lightly so I can see where it would benefit society to have marriage considered thoroughly before any action is taken but in the end you really never know. It could work and it could not. So I think that should one marriage fail, it would be nice to have the option to do it again down the road.

    Then again a lot of people never marry and are incredibly happy and have a succesful realtionship. I strongly agree with Island on this point: all couples should be afforded rights whether or not they are married. Some people choose not to but are together for 20 years. I think that they should be allowed rights regardless of their choice to tie the knot Some people are not even offered the chance to be married. My uncle has been with the same man for almost 30 years, longer than my parents. Yet they have no legal rights. They are obviously committed, loving and a well functioning couple. I dunno it just sit well with me. So I do kind of feel it should be everybody or nobody.

    Sorry if this seems like rambling. Im tired lol.
    The pride of a lion is your disguise but the fear of a coward is in your eyes.
    3point14 replied to IslandL's response:
    To be honest, Island, I don't see the kids of divorce as having a stigma attached. Maybe it's just where I'm from, but I know many more people who are divorced than married.

    And wills are able to be done by parents. I think my system would encourage more responsibility in that it would require more people to recognize their children specifically. In the long run, I think it would encourage children to be better to their parents, having to earn their inheritance rather than automatically getting it.

    My personal opinion- If you choose to "stay married", well, you've made that choice. I dunno, I witnessed it firsthand with my grandparents, and my thought was always "Well, that's their choice, there's either something there or someone is weak enough to want to be unhappy". In the same way I believe that if you choose to stay in an abusive relationship you are making that choice, if you choose to stay in a crappy marriage, you're just as responsible for yourself being there as the elements that make it bad.

    I don't see why the minimum age would be raised. You're legally an adult, you're legally capable of making that decision. I think/hope it would discourage people from making that decision, but people that made it, well, their poor choice. I don't think it's right that many people use their early twenties as a "starter marriage" time, and hopefully this would dissuade that. I think people who were to have unplanned pregnancies would do exactly what they're doing now. Either live with that person (my system only focuses on marriage, not on having relationships) or they get married to that person. I don't honestly see how that changes anything, except hopefully it would make people more discriminating with whom they chose to reproduce.

    I don't see rules including widowhood or the potential of annullment as "loopholes". I think they are reasonable allowances to keep people from being "trapped" in abusive or unsatisfying marriages. I think you're right, it might lead to more murders. I got nothing on that, it might. Then again, people kill their spouses now for the same reasons, wanting money, wanting to avoid divorce.

    I don't believe marriage does benefit society, and don't think I have to to validate this arguement. I just feel like many people DO find it important, and I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to. A teddy bear doesn't take away nightmares, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't let a kid snuggle it. I think, being something so easily tried on and taken off, marriage is borderline completely irrelevant at this point, and I think to matter at all as an institution, it needs to be reevaluated.
    ...oh, you know me...I love the universe, I love all the listeners, watch it! Here's fifty-thousand watts of goodwill! (thepixies bam!thwok)
    fcl responded:
    I thought you might like to see what happens elsewhere in the world about civil unions

    Scroll down to "Benefits and Obligations of a PACS" and what follows ...
    There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
    3point14 replied to fcl's response:
    I'm at work now, but will DEFINITELY check that out Thank you, O Fountain of Information
    ...oh, you know me...I love the universe, I love all the listeners, watch it! Here's fifty-thousand watts of goodwill! (thepixies bam!thwok)
    IslandL replied to 3point14's response:
    It wouldn't be the children of divorce that would be stigmatized, it would be the children of subsequent relationships that could be if people were only allowed to marry once. Example: couple marries at 21, have a child, divorce a few years later and go on to have subsequent relationships and children with other partners. Does the child born of married parents have more social status than the children who's parents were not allowed to marry because of the once only rule?

    I read a statistic recently (uncited) that the divorce statistics are 75% when the bride is under age 25. If only marrying once is beneficial to society, doesn't society have responsibility to encourage the success of marriage by raising the minimum age to marry? For the purposes of your persuasive arguement, YOU are society, YOU get to set the rules.

    People stay in unhappy marriages for a variety of reasons. Why make marriage attractive enough to encourage such a choice? Would being allowed to be legally married only once make it more attractive and attractive to stay in an unhappy situation? Why?

    I don't believe legal marriage particularly benefits society and that it would be more fair to individuals if it didn't exist. Legal contracts would still have to exist for things like purchases on credit (they already do), inheritance (they already do), power of attorney for medical decisions made because of incapacitation (they already do). Child support has become more legally enforceable without a marriage contract preceeding it. As have child custody decisions.

    I don't see religious marriage and commitment ceremonies going out of fashion though. They would still exist for those who desired them, the only difference being they no longer had legal standing. Under law, all individuals would be treated as individuals. In this scenario the government gets out of the business of trying to legislate relationships. Which begs the question: with half of all marriages ending in divorce, why is it in the business of legislating relationships NOW?

    There's your arguement.
    When faced with a dilemma ask yourself, WWJBD... What Would Jimmy Buffet DO

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