Thursday, 18 June 2009


Justice Coleridge may have 'carefully' added bits and pieces to soften what he said. He still insulted committed parents by babbling about 'marriage' being best (oh how I detest breast is best, marriage is best etc)

The public trend is clear: marriage is on the way out. Less than half of all couples go for it.

We therefore need to look at how to build in procedures and customs that will strengthen everyday partnerships. Flogging a dying horse on an outdated system just won't work. People have been ignoring these attempts to foist marriage on them for some time.

I agree with Deborah Orr that the practical and traditional stages of celibacy, courtship, contract, are desirable. I'd further divide the Contract stage into an Early Contract (1 -7 years) Longterm Contract (7- 20yrs) and Life Contract (Over 21yrs) because these stages have different needs and different outcomes. A partnership just can't be assessed, or supported in the same way without looking at its stage.

If we got away from the ridiculous Christian custom of making "eternal vows" for a whole life, often when very young, it would help. The old Celtic laws (Hywel Dda, Brehon system) of different kinds of marriage, some resident, visiting, short term, long term etc was much more realistic. The Celts incidentally had women's property rights and divorce.

Deborah's analysis is good, but overlooked that the traditional model included close family supervision of the stages of a partnership. Arranged marriages have a bad name but in reality, as long as the principals are fully involved, they help a lot. If the family investigates a possible partner they can dig up the dirt and save much pain. Older people can often see a chancer and give warning.
An involved family will also contribute more, not just a wasteful splashy wedding, but real financial help for bills and babies over the years, where a family shut out is less likely to. The biorth family can also champion a partner getting abused.

But most of all I found this article lacking in its economics. The Judge is not living in the real world - presumably cushioned by high pay, gated living and a solid pension.
Real people are struggling to survive among debts, repossession, unemployment - if not actual, threatened. Then there's an ugly culture driven by the greedy wealthy barons where alcohol is sold with weak controls fuelling violence; drugs are linked to crime, more violence; both parents MUST work to pay ruthless property prices.
More than anything this last item, forced double employment for parents, is destructive. It means partners have little time to BE partners, to simply be with each other at home. When they are, they are exhausted and exhaustion breeds aggression and shuts down sex.
Additionally children are necessarily neglected, left to makeshift arrangements or institutionalised. That means their social abilities are very poor and they cause endless crises and stress.

Meanwhile a proft driven sleaze media recommends sex sex sex, affairs and orgasms as the golden remedies. Naked bodies are displayed everywhere to urge people to do it dot it, it'rs your right. Exhausted, frightened, lost, people unsurprisingly either shut down and give up, or reach for forbidden fruit.

All this goes back to the early 80s and the deregulation of the economy. As the biggest result the economy has just collapsed. It will happen again if banks are not regulated.
But that's the big level/. On the everyday level all kinds of misery is hitting people, and has been for 30 years. We cannot run a society on greed and ruthlessness with out families being damaged.

Actually I think it's a tribute to families and their brave, diogged, determined members, that the damage is not far worse than it is. It's time that our authority figures started PRAISING the families that work, and looking at how they do it. Rather than generate more despair by hammering people with disapproval, be practical, look at what works, and rty to spread it around.

I think any such study would find that 'marriage' - big weddings, flash sounding vows, certificates, have little to do with it. Nor do huge long contracts as very few people can achieve them - a life contract was historically around 15 years maximum, often no more than 3 - 7 years with deaths in childbirth, war, epidemic etc.

Let's start being realistic, instead of pompous and disapproving.
Again, I'd recommend a look at the Celtic laws. Short and longer contracts both, building long ones from short ones. Residential and visiting contracts. Cut the fuss at the start: get a celebration custom going when there's something to celebrate at 3 years 7 years 10, 21 and so on.


Post a Comment