Could a marriage back-up plan really work?

1 Jun

According to a recent Australian survey, nearly 40% of single people in NSW are prepared to consider a marriage back-up plan, that is, a pact with  friend whereby if both are still single by a certain age, they agree they’ll marry. Let’s look at that figure again. 40%. That’s nearly 1 in 2 people. That seems quite incredible to me. Admittedly, the ‘survey’ was carried out by a computer software company called PC Tools – not exactly the Bureau of Statistics. But even if the figures are out by a couple of percent, it’s still a very high number. Do I actually think that any of the 40% would actually make good on their pact? Not at all. However, it does tell us a little bit about young people’s attitudes towards marriage.
 Clearly, the singles out there still believe that, ‘if you like it then you better put a ring on it’ (thanks Beyonce). They want marriage – why else would they be making a back up plan for it? However thinking that you can marry a friend, without there being a deeper love underpinning it, displays a deep confusion about just what it takes for marriage to succeed. I guess in theory it seems possible. In India, many many marriages are ‘arranged’ and the divorce rate in that country is among the lowest in the world. Perhaps they’re on to something – maybe love is something that can grow in a marriage. Or perhaps many of those marriages are unhappy ones, but it’s just not socially acceptable to get divorced. Here in Australia, about one in three marriages end in divorce. And – is it any wonder when young people think they can marry a friend and all will be OK. Even when you’re deeply in love, marriage takes effort – putting someone else’s needs above your own doesn’t always come naturally. And then there are the day to day annoyances – wet towels being left on the floor, the toilet seat always being up, your wife using your razor to do their armpits etc, etc. Sometimes, it’s hard enough to be married to someone you really love, let alone someone you just like a lot. It’s kind of like the difference between climbing Mount Kosciuszko and Mount Everest – both take effort, but one is achievable, the other less so. So – my advice to singles out there – don’t settle for marrying a good mate, hold out for your soul mate. Because when the going gets tough, you’ll have a basis of deep love and commitment to help you through. Friendship in a marriage is certainly important (crucial in fact) but it’s not everything. When times are tough, you might not like your husband/wife very much – but at least, deep down, you know you love them. 


One Response to “Could a marriage back-up plan really work?”

  1. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    got it…wet towels…toilets seat…no problem…

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