My friend has an interesting idea. I don't know if she read this somewhere else or if it's something she came up with on her own, but she thinks that marriage should be a contract that comes up for renewal every few years. For instance, after five years of marriage the couple then decides if they want to renew the marriage contract or if instead they just want to let the contract lapse and then suddenly they aren't married anymore.
No messy divorce, just the ending of a contract.
My first thought was, "Now that's a really great idea!" and then I realized that maybe it's only because of my recently cynical views toward marriage. I think if I was in a truly happy marriage where I envisioned staying with my husband until the day I die, then the idea of a lapsing marriage contract would horrify me. I guess it's kind of like prenuptial agreements in the sense that it simplifies things in case the relationship ends, but it's awfully pessimistic nonetheless.
It's no secret that I'm pessimistic about marriage in general right now. In fact, if you want to know the truth, I honestly have a hard time believing anyone who makes the claim that they are in a truly happy marriage. Sure, on some level I know that it's possible, but I have to wonder how many of these "happy marriages" would end if it was a simpler process to dissolve a marriage.
At the very least, I think a required marriage renewal would force couples to come together and talk about what's going on in the relationship and help them to figure out what might need to be improved upon. Then again, my guess is that those couples that are truly happy probably don't need to be forced to keep communication lines open because they probably already do that naturally, and consequently they have a good marriage.
Do I think renewal terms for marriages are feasible? No, of course not. Would I have renewed the terms of my marriage if it was an option to dissolve the marriage without a messy divorce? That's a pretty loaded question, and I have no idea how I would answer that right now.