Thursday, June 03, 2010

On marriage, spouses, annulment and divorce....

Foreword to the repost:

This is one of my most read blog entries, as well as one of my oldest ones, having been posted almost six years ago. Thought I'd post it again. Old or not, some people still find it interesting. That's one of the nice things about having posted a ton of entries. I can always recycle one if I'm suffering from writer's block. :-)

(Foreword to the repost dated June 3, 2010)




Foreword:

This is one of my very first posts, made more than a year ago. Just thought I'd post it again.

Since it is more than a year old, and written during the dawn of my blogging days, it doesn't really meet my present standards as far as the writing style and thoroughness are concerned, especially taking into consideration the fact that it deals with a rather touchy subject for some. Then, I just wrote for myself, about whatever comes to mind, without any regard for the sensitivities of an audience. A year later, some things have changed. Not only are there people kind enough to actually read what I post, my thoughts about the subject have also changed somewhat...mellowed down if you will, perhaps because of time and age.

However, I still think this post is still interesting, even a year down the road. Consequently, I didn't bother updating or rewriting it, and posted it exactly how it came out a year ago. As such, if you find it lacking in some aspect, don't forget to treat it for what it is...simply an old post, possibly written ahead of its time.

(Foreword dated November 25, 2005.)




I'm 32 years old, and I have been married once. That marriage had been over for the past five or so years, and declared null and void for the last two. Yet on occasion...like now for example...I still tend to reflect and ponder over it.

Divorce/annulment rates are on the rise, more so in developed and developing countries. I predict a trend: in a about a couple of generations...less than a hundred years...marriage would not be a prevalent custom or tradition between couples as it is today. It's just a matter of time before divorce/annulment rates take up a major portion of the marriage numbers...making marriage an inconsequential and insignificant undertaking.

Even now, we see the effects of this trend. Whereas marriage used to be an end in itself...a life decision...with lifetime consequences...it is common knowledge that marriage has not been as durable as a bond between couples as it was in the past. Instead, it is now considered more or less a stop over, a temporary and reversible state, much so that it is no longer unusual to see people move in and out of marriages repeatedly throughout their lives.

Don't get me wrong. I still respect marriage. In fact, I'd rather be married than single. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, or still cling to old morals and values, but a lot of people nowadays feel just the opposite.

Maybe it was inevitable. Historically, it has only been in the last forty to fifty years or so when we saw divorce/annulment rates skyrocket. And why did this happen? The number of broken marriages started a slow but steady upsurge when women started empowering themselves...the women's liberation movement of the 60's perhaps? Before, no matter how abusive, irresponsible, or downright unpleasant husbands became, their wives never left them, never filed for divorce, never separated from them. Why? Simply because they did what was expected from them at the time. Women were supposed to be homemakers, and unquestionably loyal to their husbands, no matter what. Nowadays, this sentiment hardly exists anymore, and women are hardly expected to remain silent in the face of spousal abuse. Of course, I do not condone abusive, irresponsible or unfaithful husbands...and women have the right to leave any environment...such as marriage...that is detrimental to their well being. But it seems that with our modern society granting equal status to women as a sex, the place of men being the traditional heads of families is now up for grabs. The logic is: if women can do anything men do, why can't they perform the functions of being head of a family?

Well, the reality is, yes, they can. However, this role as far as women are concerned puts them directly at odds with several thousand years of social traditions and customs which assume that the man is the indisputable head of a family. Perhaps this precept makes this pattern go against several million years of evolution as well. The end result of this is that there will be an inevitable clash for leadership of the basic block of human society...the family. And in the process, we can expect many families to be casualties of this conflict. I know I was. Maybe.

In the future, we will have women bearing children by different men. We have men living up to their polygamous nature. Marriage as a social institution will probably cease to exist, or probably still exist as an exception to general rule. In fact we can even see this happening today...just look around you. If this isn't the middle of some trend, I don't know what else it is. Scary? Perhaps. Society is changing faster than our sense of morals can keep up with it. And fear brings up a vicious cycle...fear of the weakening marriage bonds only weakens it further...in effect even less people would dare risk getting married.

This idea somewhat lodged itself in my brain after watching the movie The Stepford Wives. In the movie, husbands actually went as far as reprogram their wives with mid 20th century values...turning them into plain homemakers and housewives....The movie wasn't all that bad, and the premise was...intriguing to say the least. What will the family be like in the future? I cannot say with complete certainty, but it will be different from what we know. Same sex marriages are already in the horizon. What else is in store for us in the future? Whether it will be better...or worse, remains to be seen.

(Originally posted November 23, 2004)

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