I do not have to tell my readers that Marriage 1.0 is dead. That is, the institution whereby a man and a virginal woman enter into a permanent arrangement, the man begets children that are probably his own, provides for them and his wife, and is responsible for them. The wife’s debts are his own. If they divorce (exceedingly unlikely), he gets the kids. If she has babies out of wedlock, they are all hers. Under Marriage 1.0 a man effectively leases a womb and a help-meet.
Marriage 2.0 also seems to be on the rocks. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking – it ought to be on the rocks, but for some reason men still hurl themselves into that blazing inferno. Under Marriage 2.0, a man and a woman enter into a temporary arrangement wherein they mix and match who earns the bread and who cares for the kids, but on a limbic level the man will be considered primarily responsible for the former and will be resented if he does not, even if the woman earns heaps. No, especially in that case. The arrangement will often end when the woman becomes dissatisfied and wishes to enter into a new monogamous relationship, as is her instinct. Though she may have an affair or abandon the man, she will get the kids, the house and half the money, including a claim on the man’s future earnings. He may get to see the kids regularly if he’s lucky.
Yet, we must accept that we cannot simply go back to Marriage 1.0 any more than we can go back to T-model Fords or dial-up. The genie is out of the bottle, Pandora’s box is opened, the toothpaste has been squeezed, the soufflé will never again be eggs. Much less a chicken. Unless the chicken eats the soufflé, but now you’re just trying to sidetrack me and I shall not be distracted by anything less than your tit pics in the comments. Does WordPress censor that sort of thing? I’ve no idea.
Ya see, the Pill has been invented, as have various other forms of reliable contraceptives and prophylactics. That word always reminds me of pterodactyls. Imagine those big bastards wearing condoms! Maybe that’s why they went extinct. But anyway, the link between sex, virginity and marriage has been broken forever. It’s not coming back.
Also, technologies such as antibiotics and other medications have significantly reduced the risks associated with STDs.
Further, various changes have made work safer and less physically demanding, meaning that women can do it. This forever alters the official breadgetter role of man. It cannot return to the former situation without also abandoning all the social and technological progress that made it possible. Banning tractors, for example, would be a surefire way of getting men back behind the plough and women back to the kitchen, but let’s not do that.
Another factor is that people live much longer than they used to. Under Marriage 1.0, ‘until death do us part’ might only have meant five or ten years. Thirty years would have been a long time. Today, attached couples in civilized countries might suffer together for sixty years or more! That’s quite a commitment.
But Marriage 2.0 is an inadequate solution. We may some day reach the point where men are no longer interested in it, the incentives being so poor. They are already much shyer than they were, as Western and Asian birthrates testify.
What are we going to do?
May I modestly propose Marriage 3.0.
Marriage 3.0 assumes that the point of the arrangement is to raise children in a stable environment. Any questions related to the reasons for its particulars will best be answered by referring back to this point.
– Neither man nor woman are expected to be virgins upon entering in to the contract
– They will enter into the arrangement when both are still within the fertile window
– The marriage will be of 25 years duration, with extensions possible
– For each child resulting from the relationship, there will be a DNA test confirming paternity on the birth certificate. The man is not responsible for any child he is not related to unless by mutual, written consent.
– Financing the family and caring for the infants will be privately arranged between the happy couple
– A couple may divorce, but will lose tax advantages etc. if they do so
– If a couple split by mutual agreement, they may arrange by themselves how the assets will be divided
– If a split is not mutual, the instigating or at-fault partner shall lose all rights to the joint assets
– In any case, custody shall be shared to some extent unless otherwise arranged by mutual consent
– In addition to traditional causes carried over from Marriage 1.0, ‘fault’ shall include such breaches of contract as failing to consummate the marriage, being found infertile, failing to adhere to prenuptial agreements, or excessively contemptuous behaviour (video evidence will help here)
What do you think? Any feedback or chortling from the married members of the peanut gallery?