Monday, October 30, 2006

A Modest Proposal for the Abolition of the Institution of Marriage

by Uday Jhunjhunwala

It is with great enthusiasm that I put forth my modest proposal for the abolition of the institution of marriage. As you will see, the institution of marriage has been responsible for many ills of society for far to long, and it’s immediate abolition is not only wise but critical to the future of our modern society.

Marriage, Divorce and Children
Approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce. This statistic is the clearest evidence that marriage is not working and should be abolished. No marriage, no divorce. In addition, approximately 80% of the 50% of marriages ending in divorce involve households with children. We all know what an unfair psychological and societal burden divorce puts on children, not only over the course of the bitter divorce but long after. Study after study show that children of divorce grow up to be maladjusted members of society. This ultimately leads to higher rates of future divorces, child and spousal abuse, alcoholism, rape, and other violent crime. The picture is grim.

Marriage and Adultery
Adultery is rampant in the United States. Frequently, married men and women become overwhelmed with the commitment of marriage and begin to feel trapped. The psychological impact of this leads to lapses of judgment. Men sleep with their secretaries. Women sleep with their colleagues. Housewives sleep with the postman. House-husbands (another unfortunate phenomenon of marriage) sleep with their neighbors, or sometimes even the postman. The abolition of marriage would alleviate much of the unnatural, heavy psychological burden that is placed on individuals. They would able to lead happier, healthier, and more faithful lives outside the chains of wedlock.

Marriage and Alcoholism
We have heard these stories all too often. They are chronicled in the annals of great literature and Hollywood. Man and woman marry. There are rough patches. Then there is a particularly rough patch. Man and/or woman is driven over the edge and begins to drink. What starts off as one drunken night in the local pub, downing whiskey after whiskey in order to forget his problems and his marriage, ends up in months and years of drinking to numb the pain. Man beats wife. Man beats children. It can only get worse from there. Let us force writers and Hollywood to find inspiration elsewhere! Abolish the institution of marriage!

Marriage, Weddings, and Money
Marriage is costly from the onset. First, the young man must court the young woman with lavish dinners, extraordinary gifts, and exotic vacations. Once the young woman succumbs to the man’s charms (and wallet), the young couple must throw a grand wedding. Grand weddings cost money, lots of money. In addition, the planning of the wedding often results in bitter fights between the two sets of in-laws and other factions, resulting in damaged and often irreparable relationships going forward. The young couple is forced to play negotiator, mediator, and therapist. At the end of the wedding, from the moment the newly married couple drives off in the mini-van, because the limosine was far too costly, they are in debt and have years of therapy ahead of them. What was meant to be the happiest day of their lives has become the beginning of the end, one cruel sentence.

The debt from the wedding, the adjustment of marriage, and the family squabblings put considerable stress on the husband and wife, resulting in extensive marital strain. And we know where this leads. One out of two marriages end in divorce. The other one peters on out of indifference or disdain.

Divorce is no less costly than marriage. There are substantial legal fees and the cost of time spent negotiating the terms of the divorce. After all, time is money. In addition, the disentanglement of the husband and wife’s finances often results in the inefficient sale of investments and real estate, another example of an often overlooked cost of divorce.

Marriage and Bachelor Parties
Perhaps this is a bit redundant as certain aspects have already been covered under “Marriage and Adultery” and “Marriage and Alcoholism,” but I feel that it is necessary to shine some light on this specific issue. Bachelor parties are a well known ritual. It is an opportunity for an engaged man to spend some quality time with his friends, married and unmarried, before he goes into the doom and gloom of marriage and for his friends to show him a “good time.” Although what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, we have all heard lurid stories about drinking, drugs, strippers, prostitutes, and on and on. This ritual not only leads to conflicts between the bachelor and his fiancee, but also between the married attendees and their wives. Their wives have to relive their husband’s original bachelor party again and again. As a result, not only is the pending marriage threatened but so are many other marriages. The abolition of marriage would render the entire ritual of the Bachelor Party moot, since the man would forever remain a bachelor, and thus save many otherwise healthy relationships from disastrous turmoil. Similar issues exist with Hen Parties but being that women tend to be a bit more discrete, the consequences pale in comparison.

Marriage and Politics
I need not remind you that our once great country is bitterly divided. There is no issue more divisive than the notion that the institution of marriage should be extended to include relationships between the same sex. Why gays and lesbians should want to be a part of this institution is obviously unclear to me. I had judged them to be wiser and more evolved than that. But their demands are clear – the right to marry. By abolishing marriage all together, we would end the controversy, preempt further enmity and instead bring peace and harmony to our citizenry. No need for red and blue states. Purple will be the new color of American politics. What a victory for democracy!

Marriage and Single Friends
This is an often overlooked consequence of marriage. The marriage of a friend leads to the alienation of non-married friends. We’ve all heard of the once lively and social single guy or gal, who, once married, stops associating with his or her single friends, the excuse being that he or she has to go to a couples’ dinner party, or has to take ballroom dance classes with other couples, or is going away on holiday with another married couple. The single friends are left feeling abandoned, neglected, and alienated, and depending on the moral disposition of the married man or woman, he or she is left bearing deep guilt. What cruel and unusual punishment marriage inflicts.

In Conclusion
I hope that I have clearly made the points that support my modest proposal. Rest assured that this is not an exhaustive list of factors in support of the abolition of the institution of marriage, but merely a tasting. I hope that you will consider this matter seriously and render the only possible verdict – the immediate abolition of marriage – and that we may position ourselves for an era of unprecedented personal and societal growth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea Gary. In fact, you could add a list of woes caused by marriage to this list: marriage in most parts of the world results in children - eliminate marriage and birth rates will continue to decline thereby saving the environment.

5:55 AM  

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