Starter marriages

Posted by $ jbrenner 4 years, 3 months ago to Culture
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I first heard about starter marriages a couple of Saturdays ago on Fox and Friends. This is something that Ayn Rand might have appreciated. I can't say that I will ever be in favor of starter marriages. I thought about bringing this up then, but definitely wanted to do so after richrobinson's post about his grandparents.

You may recall Dennis Prager lamenting a degradation of the culture via a secular philosophy instead of a religious-based philosophy. I am not going to defend him here, but this is undoubtedly one symptom of what Prager was talking about.

I would like to hear people's opinions on the effects of starter marriages on any children born of these relationships as well.
SOURCE URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starter_marriage


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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 4 years, 3 months ago
    Clearly, children have become an afterthought in any culture that would come up with a concept like this. The starter marriage, by the definition from the source, is not even supposed to produce any children.

    Rand said a lot about children, actually. She said it in her novels and even in her essays. She talked about teaching children self-reliance and a consistent view of the world that would enable them to make sense of it. But she never once considered what a gut-wrencher divorce really is for a child. I am not speaking of the custody warfare, though that's bad enough, but of the Great Shake. Divorce teaches impermanence and an overwhelming sense of hazard. It teaches tremendous risk aversion, to the point where marriage becomes impossible to contemplate.
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  • Posted by $ Susanne 4 years, 3 months ago
    There is a difference between sticking something out and making things work versus giving up when it's no longer a sparklepony fantasy. There ARE situations where the couple went separate ways for damned good reason, say, they were ready to literally kill one another, or, say, the spouse was dishonest to the point it was uncovered they were a secret serial murderer, and by the way, the bodies are buried in the vegetable garden... pass the salad, please...

    But a "starter marriage" to, I guess, "get your feet wet" just to walk away because, well, she or he is cuter/hunkier than my current spouse, this cow will drag me down, this guy will never be more than a fat janitor...

    It's the ultimate failure of taking responsibility for your actions. And what this - shitcanning a marriage for trivial, "sparklepony" reasons, teaches kids is why get married, when it will all just fall apart, anyway... and if you make a bad decision, you can always tale a mulligan rather than make Limoncello out of those lemons...
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 4 years, 3 months ago
    My first wife and I had a "starter marriage" in 1971. We met in 1969. We were divorced in 1976. We had no children. She, too, is a Rand Fan. (In the Gulch here: https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

    This has nothing to do with social decadence or West Coast airheads. This label has all the reality of global warming. Yes, the Earth does warm (and cool), but, no, we do not need to reduce our carbon footprints. Similarly, young people start out life along many paths. So what?

    Here's one for you. Have you ever learned about The Panic of 1857? Google it. I have 19th century history books that do not mention it. Maybe it was real; maybe it was not. So, too, with "Starter Marriages." The only "reality" might be on Fox.
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    • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
      My first marriage was a 'starter marriage,' too, although we didn't know it at the time. As we grew up and apart, we discovered the many mistakes we'd made in assuming "forever" in our vows and the best thing for us was to quit and start over elsewhere.
      The arguments for 'tradition' or 'cultural disaster' are like all the others. You/we won't know the real effects of these 'experiments' for decades or generations.
      Look at the increase in 'age at first marriage.'
      Look at the increase in the number of "Unmarrieds-at-all."
      Japan's youth has been reported as becoming 'disinterested in sex'... in a nation that's dropped below 'replacement rate' already!
      Lots of things change.
      To use 'we've always done it like that' as a justification or foundation for rejecting Starter Marriages is, to me, a joke.
      OK, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 4 years, 3 months ago
    Isn't that what us ole folks used to call living together back in the day...is this just a new PC version or just a repackaged look alike?
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 3 months ago
      This is a little different. Living together implies no 1+ year commitment. The starter marriage concept is more like an athlete's contract. It is an agreement that is for multiple years, with the possibility of extensions in the future.
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      • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
        I've read more than a few sci-Fi novels where those kinds of 'marriage contracts' were common and (fictionally) described as working quite well for both/all parties...
        :) Sci-Fi is often a surprising predictor of cultural as well as scientific changes to come..
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  • Posted by johnpe1 4 years, 3 months ago
    my first wife and I had a purely secular marriage,
    courtesy of a justice of the peace and her neighbor
    (a witness) -- to make our union legal as I went into
    the usaf. . we grew apart when she wanted animals
    and I wanted children. . we were together 15 years,
    and parted still in love. . neither of us ever had
    kids, though. . I desperately wanted to have
    natural offspring, but it's too late now. . my second
    wife and I have no kids. . it's just life ... and the second
    marriage was in a church ... but the promise which
    we made to one another was nothing like that which
    my first wife and I made. . more like "'til death."

    it turns out that my first was a kind of starter marriage,
    but we held on too long. . I just couldn't leave
    until she was standing on her own two feet, firmly. -- j
    .
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  • Posted by $ Radio_Randy 4 years, 3 months ago
    I and my wife removed the word "divorce" from our vocabulary, within the first few years of our marriage.

    Marriage is not a "throw away" commitment...if it were, the vows would say "Till 2021 do we part", rather than "death".

    My thought is if people would return to taking responsibility for their actions, the divorce rate would drop to nearly nothing.
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  • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 3 months ago
    Actually you read it right hear some months ago.
    A starter marriage is a California airheads first go round of a planned three to four to ensure money to live on in more aged and mature (strike that) years.

    It's spread to Fox already???

    Back about ten or fifteen years ago it was a full blown wedding, honeymoon and the whole bit, very expensive as a preference that was planned to fail - other than a lot of expensive gifts.
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 3 months ago
      Sorry, I missed the starter marriage discussion in the Gulch.
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      • Posted by $ MichaelAarethun 4 years, 3 months ago
        It was a not much read but nevertheless posted comment on an incident i witnessed in San Luis Obispo, California ...Two young ladies in the suipermarker discussing the impending marriage of one of them who referred to it as her starter marriage . Back around 2002. It ended with serious planning discussion on three or four being required to assure a prosperous future.
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        • Posted by plusaf 4 years, 3 months ago
          Ah, I think you hit the nail on the head, if not purposely, Michael...

          "required to assure a prosperous future"???
          Sure: 'if we do all this and have a nice wedding, we'll have a prosperous future.' .... with unicorns, rainbows and a white picket fence around your fantasy.

          You can't 'assure a prosperous future,' for one thing, nor can anyone 'assure' that, as life goes on, "things won't change" in ways that make your marriage become a Not-Good Thing, either!

          That's sort of why divorce was 'invented,' eh?

          Calling it a 'starter marriage' may be cold and cruel, but it might also be an acknowledgment by 'the young' that they're interested in a lot of the good aspects of marriage (sex, tax deductions, sharing living expenses, and all that,) but they're not sure of the "'til death do us part" part.
          Maybe a nice Reality Check for them after watching what the last few generations have done in the way of marital success or stability.

          Not to even mention the Hollywood Marriages and such... :)
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  • Posted by $ Technocracy 4 years, 3 months ago
    Starter Marriages don't surprise me at this point.

    So many people have been conditioned to be risk and responsibility averse that they have to find a way to avoid them both. So they found a way to remove that from marriage.

    Cultural changes like this are just going to keep coming.

    Not a good thing culturally, or for men & women of reason specifically. When you begin breaking cultural contracts, others follow.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 years, 3 months ago
    I am still working on my first/starter marriage. What I can say is that mine is just getting better as we go along. ;)

    To your point, however, I think the real issue is that many don't enter marriage with the view of working through issues, remaining loyal, etc. To those, I suggest you never take on the commitment of marriage and most certainly do not have children. Once you decide you want to have children, you create an obligation to them to make your marriage work. My wife's parents got divorced just after all their children left the house and it still causes problems with the entire extended family on a regular basis.

    "Starter" marriages are for people who just don't know what to expect from marriage in the first place. They are people who want something slightly more legitimate than simply shacking up, but don't really want to make the commitments inherent in marriage in the first place. You are pretty much admitting that the first time something goes south, you're just going to abandon the whole thing rather than seek the satisfaction and growth that comes from working through issues and strengthening your marriage.
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  • Posted by jdg 4 years, 3 months ago
    The notion of lifetime marriage is from an era when the average life expectancy was 40. It is simply not realistic today.

    The purpose of marriage, of course, was to very publicly swear to a mutual agreement that ensured mutual caring, support, and stability, all mainly for the benefit of children. Thus it would make sense if such agreements could be made among any group of adults, and if (by default) they would automatically end when the children are grown and leave home. But every government is too paternalistic to give couples that freedom of contract.
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 3 months ago
    I've just kind of always had the opinion that anything you have to get a license from the state to do, particularly anything that says that the state enforces rules and property splits and something as evil as alimony is not something I ought to be interested in.

    What's the old joke, 'The next time I feel like I ought to be married, I'm just going to find some woman that hates my guts, buy her a new house and a new car and just get it over with.'
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  • Posted by Eyecu2 4 years, 3 months ago
    I have been aware of this term for awhile, and as a Christian (I know this is almost a dirty word around here, but I am a Christian). I find the concept of a "Starter Marriage" offensive. I find the very idea of the morays of America slipping away from what America has been, problematic to say the least.

    Of course I know that in the history of mankind, that we as a species are more serial monogamist than anything else. Which is basically what the term "Starter Marriage" implies. Still I am uncomfortable with the moral direction that society is taking.

    As for "the children." My view is that ANY instability is detrimental to their development. As a divorce is the very epitome of instability for a child, I take the position that it should be avoided unless absolutely unavoidable, and even then it should be discouraged. Children need both parents unless for some reason the parent in question just should not be around the child.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 3 months ago
    In the era of "friends with benefits" a "starter marriage" seems inane. Not because of any emotional entanglements because obviously that does enter into the equation, but because of all the possible legal entanglements, of shared property, bank accounts, etc. It seems to me that a couple would be better off if they either wanted a long term commitment, or merely a consensual hook-up and keep everything separate .I doubt if human relationships can be likened to learning how to bowl.
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  • Posted by JohnConnor352 4 years, 3 months ago
    I wonder if anyone can give me a rational reason to support getting married, and making it as a life-long promise, in the first place. Remember "good of society" is not rational. And neither is self-sacrifice.
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    • Posted by $ 4 years, 3 months ago
      I expected this attitude to be fairly common amongst Gulchers.
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      • Posted by JohnConnor352 4 years, 3 months ago
        It's not an attitude but a legitimate question.
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        • Posted by $ 4 years, 3 months ago
          I wasn't trying to be snarky or critical. Yes, it is a legitimate question, and it is why I brought the discussion up in the first place. I apologize if I offended you; it was not intentional. I am "checking my premises" regarding 'til death does my wife and I part". Fortunately for me, my wife and I have had and will always have a mutually fulfilling relationship.
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          • Posted by JohnConnor352 4 years, 3 months ago
            Thanks for the clarification. And I wasn't in the least offended, but I did read it as snarky so I'm glad it was an honest question.

            But apart from tradition or religion, is there any reason to expect or desire that you and your partner will even want to be together in 15, 25, or 35 years? If neither of you wants it, then you ought not to continue based on some mysticism of "vows." Promises and contracts are only morality bound when at least one party still desires it. And if your promise is to stay together, and you are the only one left in the arrangement that desires it, then it would be rational to end it. If he no longer wants to be with you, will his presence actually benefit you any longer?
            Very frequently people change in their lifetimes. Sometimes those changes don't follow their partners' and they are no longer the match they once were. Both could benefit from a change, even if it's not due to violence or unfaithfulness. What is wrong with changing your mind? Marriage is not "sacred" because there is no mystical existence. Its significance is limited entirely to the two people involved.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 3 months ago
    I have never needed permission from or threat of government to be responsible. If a potentail partner needs it, I will take time to explain objective reality. If she trusts government more than she trusts me, we are not a good match. Law has changed. Marriage contracts today are not what they were in our parents era.
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  • Posted by Kilroy 4 years, 3 months ago
    Somewhere I read about two kinds of marriages that resonate with me. The first kind was easy to get into and out of but children were not allowed. The second kind required that one had been in the first kind at least once, children were allowed and it was much harder to get out of. I like the idea because most people don't know what marriage is about and what they really want in a spouse, so the first kind is a learning thing. The second kind of marriage protects the children. I have no idea how such a condition could be enforced however. :-)
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  • Posted by term2 4 years, 3 months ago
    I am thinking that marriage itself (at least the legal version of it) is no longer relevant. In the past there were practical reasons for two (or more) people to choose to spend their lives together. Survival reasons have pretty much disappeared now, and the advent of social media presents alternatives constantly. If two people want to be together, I say they should just do it. If its not working out, then split and start over. There are practical reasons to not just jump from one relationship to another too frequently of course.
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    • Posted by mspalding 4 years, 3 months ago
      After 33 years of marriage I find that an eternal commitment allows you to grow and change within the framework of unconditional support. You aren't spending your effort looking for the next one. You are spending your effort enjoying this one.
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      • Posted by term2 4 years, 3 months ago
        absolutely. and one doesnt need a piece of paper to secure that from some government. The only practical reason is to be able to delay death taxes.
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      • Posted by $ Dobrien 4 years, 3 months ago
        36 years and still strong. Relationships aren't for everyone they require work,whether it is a friendship, marriage or a partnership . You have to be a friend to have a friend.
        If it is in your makeup to be successful in all your endeavors, then in your marriage you will be attentive ,supportive, committed ,compassionate, loyal, cooperative and have a virtuous character.

        To create a fine product you need a vision, knowledge , attention to detail, a high standard for quality, a strong effort to succeed.
        A quality relationship is similar.
        Enjoy the process, the journey, the intimacy of your humanity together.

        I suspect the "grass is always greener" relationship requires the same work.
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