real life

Should your relationship have a use-by date?


Put a time limit on your marriage. Sounds interesting, right?

With a large number of marriages now ending in divorce, “happily ever after” might be a thing of the past. Well, hold the phone … Mexico City (where over 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce) is now considering a radical change to its marriage contracts.  An out-clause after two years.

No, I’m not joking.

Basically the change would allow the city to issue marriage licences with time limits. This means that couples wouldn’t have to agree to spending a lifetime together – instead, they could opt for a renewable contract with a minimum of a two-year term. So if you’re worried about cold feet, there’s nothing to worry about anymore. You might only be married for as long as 24-months before you can legally call it quits, without going through any divorce proceedings.

According to assemblyman Leonel Lewis, the whole idea is to help couples avoid ‘the tortuous process of divorce’. “If the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends,” he said.

From Salon:

Love, even under the best of circumstances, is not a static condition. Even if you’re with the same person, the relationship you’re in at 24 isn’t the one you’re going to be in at 64. And though it may sound harsh to subject it to periodic review, there is in fact both a pleasantly incentivizing reason to do so and a luxuriously liberating one as well. Think of any couple you’ve ever known — or possibly participated in — in which domesticity was taken as Let Yourself Go pass. Partnered life doesn’t have the urgent frisson of early dating, but it’s not an excuse to stop putting in the work, either.

Not everything about the temporary marriage idea is perfect — it certainly could make it easier for partners to absolve themselves of responsibility when the going gets tough, either because of money, kids or any number of real-world challenges. But guess what? Marriages bust up all the time over those issues anyway, and with plenty messy consequences.

What do you think – could a renewable marriage contract be a brilliant idea, or a disastrous one? What’s the shortest and what’s the longest relationship you’ve ever been in?

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