There They Go, Bad-Mouthing Divorce Again

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From: Dan Kohn (
Date: Tue Sep 12 2000 - 01:42:33 PDT

[* I wish more people thought seriously about the implications of marriage
(and were equally thoughtful about other societal norms), rather than doing
things because they have always been done that way. (And for the record,
yes, I know some truly happily married couples, though less than 5.) - dan

The fact is, the goals of marriage have changed. In the first half of the
century people married to survive, reproduce, join properties, become a part
of the mainstream community of adults. Individual happiness might have been
foreseen and desired, but if as the marriage wore on happiness came to seem
elusive, other goals dominated....

Americans born since mid-century marry for the same reason they do anything
else - to be happy. Yet literature of all periods tells us that marrying to
be happy is at best an iffy proposition. Historians of domestic life have
suggested that marriages in the premodern period were usually short - death
did the work of divorce.

Marrying with the overriding goal of being happy for all your adult life
with a single other (since survival, reproduction, property joining and
being part of a community of adults can be achieved now without marriage) is
a new experiment. Divorce is its corollary. This is an experiment that our
children will engage in, whatever models we give them.

                - dan

Dan Kohn <>
<>  <tel:+1-650-327-2600>
 <<There They Go, Bad-Mouthing Divorce Again.url>> 

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