When a society decides truth is whatever it thinks is true, there’s no end to the odd conclusions it can draw.
Witness an Aug. 4 opinion piece in the Washington Post by estate planning attorney Paul Rampell, who reasons that since “far too many marriages end in divorce,” the problem must be that the institution of marriage is failing to adapt.
When a college noticed that students did not use sidewalks around a courtyard but cut across the lawn for efficiency, administrators decided to move the sidewalks rather than continuing to post signs to “Keep off the grass” that people ignored. Similarly, why doesn’t society make the legal structure of marriage more congruent to our behavior?
His solution? Replace wedlock with “wedlease.”
Here’s how a marital lease could work: Two people commit themselves to marriage for a period of years — one year, five years, 10 years, whatever term suits them. The marital lease could be renewed at the end of the term however many times a couple likes. It could end up lasting a lifetime if the relationship is good and worth continuing. But if the relationship is bad, the couple could go their separate ways at the end of the term. The messiness of divorce is avoided and the end can be as simple as vacating a rental unit.
Literally, rent-a-spouse. Hey, if marriage is nothing more than a contract, how can anyone criticize any sort of arrangement between consenting partners?
If marriage is nothing more than a contract.
Narcissists value only what they want. When they get bored with last year’s e-toy, they toss it and get a new one. When “the new black” becomes, once again, just “orange,” get what’s on the cover of Elle or Glamour. When the lease is up on the Lexus, see if perhaps you like the new BMW better.
In a consumer culture, other people inevitably become nothing more than another product to be consumed.
What is it Paul says about always devouring others? Beware that you aren’t consumed yourself.
When too many marriages are failing, it’s not the institution that’s broken.