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Marriage Definition Questions

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Married people, happy or not, please answer these questions for me!!! (Not trying to exclude anyone else's comments if they have them, but I just feel that this question will be difficult for anyone to answer unless they've been married).


What do you consider the definition of marriage?

Does a marriage certificate and your vows actually signify to you that you are to stick with your partner no matter what happens, i.e. if a partner cheats, becomes ill with any kind of problem, disappoints you, or goes against your beliefs, and are you to help them through it and even if nothing works are you to stay with them because you made this vow?

Ethically, would a person be wrong or selfish to not keep their vow?

What were/are you willing to give up/compromise, etc. for your partner, and why? How far does this go, I mean, how do you know when you're doing the right thing by sacrificing something for them?

(This of course does not include physical abuse).....


Thank you!

I welcome all your comments.

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An interesting question.

My definition of marriage is a vow that two people take to be devoted to each other no matter what.


Now, your second question has me torn between my religious side and my less religious side.


My religious side tells me that 'till death do us part' and 'what God has joined let no one part'. So that means yes, you stick to your partner no matter what happens and regardless of what they do. Luckily you excluded physical abuse (and I add sexual abuse to that) as I don't believe God is so unreasonable he would expect someone to tolerate that.


My less religious side says that if a person has really tried to stick with their partner, tried to work through the issues, gone to counseling, given them second chances (or third, or fourth). And even after all that, their partner still treats them badly or ignores their vows then yes I think its time to get out. But I think thats a last resort and not to be used for just being disappointed, or deciding you're not in love or have found somebody better (this addresses your question about selfishness).


What would I give up for my partner? Well I suppose it would be easier to say what I would not give up:

    My religion
    My ethics/morals
    My children
    My identity

I think most other things would be open for discussion. Compromise is essential for a marriage to succeed. I think its selfishness and unwavering positions that cause many marriages to fail.

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I am not the kind of person that will stay married "no matter what".


Id have to say their are three parts to marriage/union.


Legal Marriage, the recognition by the state of the partnership between a couple.


Religious marriage, traditional spiritual union brought under the church of the couples faith.


And the last union, Love, which should be the foundation of the marriage its what brought the couple together, its what will keep them happy together and its what will keep them together.


So what happens when that love ends? what happens when the foundation is gone the reason between being together in the first place has vanished?


What happens when one cheats, well in the eyes of the law, thats a breach of contract and cause for divorce.


In religion it varies a lot, depending on what religion and what part of the world your in. and even that has changed over time. but in our popular traditional "To love and honor" Those vows have been broken, those were promises that were shattered.


It all boils down to your values, do you hold honesty, trust, and sincerity of importance? is Love and commitment important to you?


or so you stay the rest of your life unhappy with a person that does not love you, doesnt honor the vows of marriage under Law, under the church and under the heart? Id have to say no.


Love is the most important factor of all. and when someone hurts another and cheats, lies, and breaks that trust love can no longer florish, only the love of the lost dreams and hopes remain to torment us.


I am a spritual person not a religious one, I do believe in a god, and his law is of love. I really dont care too much for the many many different interpretations that religious establishments have invented over the years.


We all know whats right and wrong, its so simple, cause pain or hurt someone else its wrong, allow yourself to be hurt, its wrong. follow that path and you cannot go wrong. who do you think gave us the gift of love?

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Well I go with the bible on most of what I say so if you don't like that, then just don't listen. Divorce is in the bible, but only under very few circumstances. The only two that I can think of is physical abuse, and adultery… now that last one get a little tricky though… Only the men were allowed to leave there wife is she cheated on him, but he could cheat on her. For that one, I chock that up to the politics of the day and throw that one out. I don't say that you can just throw out anything from the bible, but sometimes it takes a little study. For example Paul said that women shouldn't be allowed into the ministry, but if you look at the man himself, he was not only know as someone that would be sarcastic on topics like that, but women were a large part of his ministry.


Sorry to get off the topic… now fro your second Q….. that's a problem that I can't seem to figure out, so you'll have to draw your own line on that one.

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If anger is the only problem, then I would say that you need to keep on dealing with him, this is my opinion. there are a lot of good books on this topic-- one is called Excess Baggage I think the author is called Judith Silles, another is called The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans.


Both of these books will help you develop new insight into his behavioral issues.

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Bit of a long preamble to begin with:


About the time when Jesus was born, the average life expectancy was about 20 years. At around 1800, this number was now 24 years, 100 years later in 1900, it had reached about 48 years. Currently, the world average is 63 years, those that live in the so called first world coutries can expect to live well into their 70's.


Okay, so you're living sometime in the early 1800's. You are able to have kids at about the same age we do these days, so if you want to do everything "by the book", you'd likely be getting married about age 16 to 18. If you're somwhat lucky, you'll see your child's 10th birthday. If you're really fortunate, you may actually get to attend your kid's wedding. Infant mortality rate was still very high, you would not expect all your kids to survive childbirth and the first few years of life. It may take 6 or 7 years to rear a couple of kids to the age by which they don't need constant attention. That gives you a scant few years of life left, divorce just doesn't enter into the picture anywhere.


Jump ahead to your grand parents and parents generations. The typical famliy saw dad out working, easily (most to the time) supporting a family with a single income, while mum stayed at home and took care of things. The stress level must have been lower.


In current day, for example, my wife and I hit the driveway usually a bit after 5:00 pm. One of the kids has a dance lesson soon, my wife drops her off on her way to her night class. I feed the other two, making sure another one get's off to her swimming lesson fed and on time. All three kids have homework they need help with, after that there are dishes to wash, groceries to buy, invariably something has broken in the last few weeks and needs attention. In short, things don't wind down until about 10:00 pm at night. By then, my wife and I are so exhausted from a long day, there doesn't seem to be anything left in us for quality time together. (By the way, I have no idea how single parents handle all this!!)


So, to summarize, since the social and cultural climate under which the rules (do's and do not's) of church marriage were established, there has been a drastic change in life expectancy, and a drastic change in personal circumstances, interactions and stress levels. It's not wonder things aren't as rosy as they could be.


Having said all that, I'll adress the questions asked. I'll cheat and use Gilgamesh's categories of legal, religeous and love (emotional) issues.


Legally, marriage is a piece of paper which is essentially a licence to do things in a certain way. For example, taxes, mortgages etc are affected by a legal state of marriage (and sometimes not even that these days with the concept of common law marriage). There is no time frame specified on this piece of paper, and I would think from a purely legal standpoint that two people who decide they want a piece of documentation like that to be anulled shold be able to do so. The same as for an employment contract, it can be broken under various circumstances. In theory, I don't think there's a legal situiation that should be forever binding, but in practive it's not that easy. All this aside though, for most people, marriage doesn't tend to get viewed as a legal issue.


My personal feeling on the legal issue is that perhaps for a lot of people, a limited term contract might be more fitting, with options to renew the licence as and when wanted. Many poeple would not agree with this of course, I'm just tossing it around as an idea. Those with strong religeous beliefs will not like this idea.


Religion as it relates to marriage was established in that time period when life spans were so much shorter, and divorce simply wasn't prevelant enough to be a big issue. It was reasonable to expect people to live together their whole lives, as that may only have meant 10 or 15 years after marriage. Now we see couple celebrating 50 even 60 years of marriage. I find it hard to believe that a decision made by a couple in their late teens would be expected to have seen them through an additional 50 years of marriage. If they made the wrong choice, that's 50 years of having to live with it. And people do make wrong choices. We grow and mature. Our feelings change. Our focus in life shifts. People who are completely compatible at age 20 may be completely wrong for each other at age 40 due to the various factors and influences we face each day. It somehow seems wrong to me to require that couples stay together forever when they are unhappy because that's the way ot was done 200 years ago.


Love. Now love of course if the big issue. Is it really possible to love somebody for that long? Yes, it most likey is. Ho wmany of us will manage it? Not very many I would imagine. Here I refer to the changes in lifestyle over the centuries, or even the past few decades. Stresses are so much higher these days, and when you live with a person in a stressful situation for so many years, regardless of why the stresses occur, it can cause friction. Slight differences of opinion become increasingly hard to see past.


Think of it this way. Many people think their first job is great. Now, we all know of people who kept the same job for 40 years, but how many of us think that we'll be doing the same job for that long. Even the 40 year folks who have been at the same company, have not been doing the same thing.


It would be great if our vows were as strong on our 50th anniversary as the day we made them. But I think they will be in very few cases.


I think when we are married though, that we should make every attempt to abide by our vows. Not all of us have. Illness, disappointment and different beliefs shouldn't make a difference. But they do sometimes. Regardless of how hard we try, if something goes against our nature, there comes a time we can't live comfortably with it any more, and problems start to develop. Loss of communications results. A feeling of isolation, and being alone starts to surface. You try to hold on to things, but it just isn't happy any more.


We have to be willing to give up come things for our partners, and to compromise on others, but when something really major happens, we do a lot of soul searching to try and figure out if we're going to be making so many changes, that we're not the same person we started into the relationship as. And if we're changing that much, does it make sense? Should we constantly change in significant ways to keep the other happy in our marriage? Personally, I think not.


I don't know if I've helped at all, or I've just rambled.

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finished your post and I found a couple more flaws, though these are only form my perspective. First, not that Im right on this one, I personaly find a flaw in you're view of love. I'll just say I don't agree with you unless you ask me to elabrate. Second is that I have spent a little time liveing the life of my grandparents, and it was a far cry from less stressful, but that may just be becouse I'm from kansas. Women in the house get up at 4:00 in the morning and start breakfast spend the rest of the day taking care of the house, the chickens, smoking hogs, cleaning and cooking dinner. Men get up at 5:00 eat breakfast and go out and work untll well after dark. Back then, or now for some of us, life started earler, and ended at the same time. Haveing lived a couple years in both lives this one is much less stressful. I guess that would give you the argument that marrages lasted longer then becous you never saw who you were married to most of the time, but that seems to be what drives many couples apart today. Thats only from my experiance, and famlies not "out on the Farm" may have had things better, but I don't think so.


I just see things a little difrent I guess.

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Ok... I guess most recent stuff first...


Less stressful my fanny - I used to work full time, when I had to stop because my one child showed severe emotional disabilities that made even school an issue - let me tell you, I had no idea what I was getting into. Working outside, you automatically keep an identity beyond wife and mother - staying at home, most days you can feel like a combination of Merry Maid, Motel Six, and Denny's. Your day starts before anyone's and ends after. I found it more stressful, not less.


Ok, back to the topic, I'd have to say I don't think divorce should simply be a convenience to be exercised when things aren't "perfect." Marriage is work. But I don't feel anyone is obligated to stay in an adulterous or abusive (even verbally abusive, which if you haven't been there, it can be MORE emotionally and mentally destructive) situation. You are supposed to try - but face it, if only ONE party is trying, you're not going to get anywhere, it's supposed to be a partnership, not one person subjugating him or herself to the other's needs.


As far as if the love goes? This isn't something you can pick a right and wrong either. What if you marry young for the wrong reasons? Does this mean two people should be condemned to live in bare civility with each other for as long as 50-70 years instead of being free to find someone they can have a much better relationship with? Because, if one person who doesn't care about their partner the way they should anymore stays purely for ethical reasons, they're not just trapping themselves, they're cheating the other person as well, of being able to find someone who DOES love them the way they deserve. Though it's another way of looking at it, it's basically saying you put your ethics before THEIR happiness as well, and something about that sits very wrongly with me. You simply can't make someone else happy if you're miserable yourself, and life is too short to live that way.

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Less stressful my *beep* - I used to work full time, when I had to stop because my one child showed severe emotional disabilities that made even school an issue - let me tell you, I had no idea what I was getting into. Working outside, you automatically keep an identity beyond wife and mother - staying at home, most days you can feel like a combination of Merry Maid, Motel Six, and Denny's. Your day starts before anyone's and ends after. I found it more stressful, not less.


Err, I think that was my point exactly. By parent's generation, I was meaning more the 60's.

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I wanted to add that I agree with what Morrigan posted in that, couples need to work at the marriage. if there are minor differences or little problems those can be worked out.


So many people today divorce over silly things, so many just want instant harmony, and dont put much effort in relationships.


But when you get to abuse, or cheating, etc. thats it.

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Err, I think that was my point exactly. By parent's generation, I was meaning more the 60's.


LOL - didn't mean to jump at you there - but believe it or not, a lot of people honestly think that it's easy, I'm not sure why it was less stressful in "earlier days," maybe because that's what you (as a woman) were brought up to think of as your identity? And were thus prepared mentally to deal with it? I'm not sure, but I know I thought it would be easier, and it was... enlightening


I'm gonna throw another screw in the works here - how do you think the perception and expectations of marriage have changed over the past 20-30 years or so? Do you think you expect something vastly different than your mom or dad did when they were thinking of getting married, and do you see the "institution" itself the same way? (I don't put that in quotes meaning disrespect, but rather because I don't care for the word much lol)

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This would make a good topic on a separate post,


I am not traditional in the sense that the womans place is in the home, or any of that stuff.


I believe in shared responsabilities, its really something that has to be worked out between me and my parnter.


Society has changed, life has changed, economics have changed, so have families, a typical mid class family both people work, not necessarily because they have to for economic reasons but sometimes because people want to practice what they studied because they enjoy it.


I was old fashioned, i might say to my wife, "hey honey, no need for you to work, I make enough" but I understand that she has her wants and needs too. if she wants to be a housewife, fine, if she wants to be whatever she wants , thats good too.


My ex wife was a Lawyer, made 5 times more than what I did, I didnt have to work, but I did. there are no "roles" or "rules" in my book when it comes to those things.


My only expectations are those of what I value in a partner.

Honesty, Loving, good mother, passionate, romantic etc etc. all the reasons Im with her and attracted me to her.

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