Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Random Answer

Back in the day, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer posed what it posited was a Burning Question:

Is the eclipse of marriage a threat to our civilization or a step toward liberation?
While I never sent it in, I did take a stab at an answer:
Neither. I would submit that it's a recognition of a changing reality. I have always understood that in the past, marriage was primarily for the families and the community, rather than the individuals involved. With love between the individuals involved having eclipsed the traditional political and economic reasons for marriage, it is little wonder that fewer people are choosing to go through what is more and more simply a ritual. As time goes on, marriage is ceasing to be the commitment, and is becoming more a public affirmation of said commitment. But the more personal nature of the relationships involved, as well as the greater role that personal satisfaction with one's partner is playing, are working to undermine the idea that marriage will be a lifelong commitment. What is causing us difficulty is that we are having problems adapting other family institutions to the more fluid nature of the relationships involved. This, coupled with the staunch opposition of traditionalists to allowing the marriage relationship to evolve to track broader social trends is leading to problems becoming more difficult to solve than they need to be.
Looking back on it, I think that I was overly serious. Given the clear false dichotomy involved, perhaps I should have had a bit more fun with things.

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