Temporary Marriage Licenses: A Good Idea?

A friend forwarded me this article today and asked what I thought about it:

Mexico City Considers Temporary Marriage Licenses

Basically, there’s a bill proposed in Mexico City that would allow couples the option of choosing a temporary marriage license that would be valid for whatever amount of time they choose (with a minimum of two years).  When the temporary license expires, the relationship is over if the couple decides they don’t want to stay together– with no need for a messy divorce.

My friend, being divorced, thought it was a brilliant idea, except she thought they should have to be renewed every two years.

I’m not so sure how I feel about it.  I was a little taken aback by the idea, to be honest.  My faith in marriage has been damaged enough, okay?  Why are you doing this to me, Mexico City??  (Because it’s all about me, of course.)

Doesn’t this idea devalue the whole concept of marriage?  (Asked the divorced chick?)  I mean, “will you be with me till death do us part” is a heck of a lot more romantic than “will you be with me till this paperwork expires and then we’ll see where we’re at, no promises”.  The very definition of marriage is that it’s intended to be forever.  Signing a temporary license isn’t marriage, it’s… something else.  If it’s optional, and you’re choosing it because you’re not sure, why get married at all?  I wouldn’t think too many people would go for the option of a temporary marriage, because doesn’t pretty much everyone think it’s forever and for always on their wedding day?  (Prenups are a touchy enough subject as it is!)

On the other hand, it would reduce the burden on the court system, because marriages are most likely to end within the first few years, if they’re going to end.  And maybe people would take better care of their relationships if they knew an “annual review” was coming up.  Plus, divorce is so messy and awful– maybe it would be better for people to be allowed to reassess after a couple of years whether it’s really going to be forever, without the consequences of an official divorce.  I know firsthand that no matter how well you think you know your partner, you could have plenty of surprises in store for you, and some of those surprises could be dealbreakers.

Maybe they should make it so that all marriages only become final after a couple of trial years.  It’s not at all romantic, but maybe people should be forced to let the excitement and romanticism of the wedding and the parties and the showers all die down, give it a couple of years, and then see where they are, once reality sets in.

Marriage is a lot like having a kid, in my opinion– it’s totally over-romanticized, it’s a ton of work, and you have no idea what it’s going to be like until you’ve actually done it.  Maybe Mexico City is onto something here.

What do you think?  Are temporary marriage licenses a good idea?  Why or why not?

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  1. by Meg

    On October 3, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t understand how this would make splitting significantly easier just by a paper expiring and not calling it “divorce.” If children and property acquired during the marriage are involved, it would have to be divided somehow and it’ll get messy no matter what you call it.

  2. by Alana

    On October 5, 2011 at 1:31 am

    I think we’re just trying to figure out alternatives to our current system. Whether we like it or not, it ISNT WORKING ANYMORE. People are more selfish, more entitled, whatever. But the traditional marriage model we’ve had for so long is proving itself defunct. We can either sit back and say, “Marriage isn’t what it used to be!” or we can change the definition.

    I love that you wrote about this, though! Love your honesty. A lot of the bloggers I follow seem to be burnt out from hate mail and censor what they say sooo much more than they used to.