Monday, September 24, 2007

Marriage Expiration Date?

BERLIN (Reuters) - Bavaria's most glamorous politician -- a flame-haired motorcyclist who helped bring down state premier Edmund Stoiber -- has shocked the Catholic state in Germany by suggesting marriage should last just 7 years.
Gabriele Pauli, who poses on her web site in motorcycle leathers, is standing for the leadership of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) -- sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) -- in a vote next week.
She told reporters at the launch of her campaign manifesto Wednesday she wanted marriage to expire after seven years and accused the CSU, which promotes traditional family values, of nurturing ideals of marriage which are wide of the mark.
"The basic approach is wrong ... many marriages last just because people believe they are safe," she told reporters. "My suggestion is that marriages expire after seven years."
After that time, couples should either agree to extend their marriage or it should be automatically dissolved, she said. (Madeline Chambers).

When I do premarital counseling I often tell my clients that I have been married for 33 years. I also tell them that in that 33 years I have fallen in love with my husband 6 or 7 times, and, if I were to be honest, there have been at least 6 or 7 times that I have thought, "Oh my goodness....what was I thinking?" So, if I do the math, about every 5 or 6 years I might have opted out of marriage if I had been given the chance. No doubt one of those times would have fallen at the same time as the expiration date proposed by Gabriele Pauli.
I have never done premarital counseling with a couple that believes that their marriage will end in divorce. As a matter of fact, most of the time when I talk about common problems in marriage their eyes glaze over an they tell me "that won't happen to us, we're in love!" And yet, almost 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce...many of them within the first seven years.
So, is it impossible to stay happily married? I guess it depends on how you view it something that you only stay in as long as you are happy? Or did you mean the vows you repeated at your wedding:
"To have and to hold,
From this day forward,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and in health,
To love and to cherish,
Till death do us part."
Those are tough promises to live up to on the days when you not only don't feel love for your spouse, but you really don't even like him or her!
I wonder how many people would still be married if they were given a legal out every seven years. For me, marriage is more than a contract that can be broken if I'm not happy. My commitment to marriage is more about my faithfulness to the vow I took before God than my "love" (or feelings of love) for my husband. Feelings are fleeting and dependent on circumstances. While there may be many days that I do not have "in love" feelings for my husband, my love for him is a decision that I act upon even when I don't feel like it.

1 comment:

Missy said...

You are so right about this. Marriage can be tough, but you've got to stick through those bad times. Great post!