Marriage Reform

W.F. Price has a new page up at The Spearhead to gather material on Marriage Reform.  He explains his intent in a post announcing the new page:

I’d like to invite others who have some interest in the issue, especially those who have written on the subject, to visit the page and post links. Attorneys with experience writing prenups or simply in contract law are also very much welcome.

The goal is to give people who want a better form of marriage the guidance and tools to make it possible. Default civil marriage as it exists today has become an evil and destructive institution that must be changed. People who remain in civil marriages do so despite the incentives to divorce and engage in gender warfare. For the weaker and less sensible it is too often a disaster that literally ruins lives, including those of the most innocent — our children.

Feminism may have done a wrecking job on the Western family, but I am optimistic that this can be turned around. The fight against feminists must continue, but it’s time to start discussing reconstruction, and reforming the devastated institution of marriage is where it should begin.

In a previous post on the same topic he described the fundamental problem with the current legal definition of marriage perfectly:

Whether written down or not, marriage has always been seen as a binding contract, and it is only in recent times that this universally accepted basis for marriage has been undermined and rejected in favor of the modern civil marriage, which cannot be called a marriage at all, but rather more of a tax classification. Marriage does still exist, but none of its conditions are fulfilled by what is known as marriage under Western civil law. It is the only contract that rewards a party for unilaterally breaking it: a wife is under more of an obligation to fulfill the terms of a cell phone contract than to fulfill her marriage vows.

He also argues that marriage is a natural state for men and women:

Marriage is the natural state of relations between men and women who cohabit and engage in sexual relations, and has been for thousands of years across a wide variety of cultures, races and faiths. It comes in many different forms, but in all cases there is a contractual element, and the needs and feelings of each spouse are taken into account.

His proposed solution is for men and women to enter into their own specifically defined contracts which define the rights and obligations of each spouse:

Although laws surrounding domestic relations – VAWA and other incentives to accuse in particular – present some obstacles to marriage contracts, prenuptial agreements could remove some of these incentives and remain enforceable. Men and women can still enter into legally binding agreements under civil law, efforts of feminists notwithstanding, and many of the incentives to unilaterally break promises and vows could be removed with well-conceived contracts.

Furthermore, in the free societies of the West, contractual marriages could render the arguments over the definition of “marriage” moot, as the state’s role in defining the institution would decline as people increasingly defined it themselves. Lawyers who now profit from dissolutions could turn their efforts toward strengthening marriage and defending agreements, therefore contributing to families’ well-being rather than living off their destruction.

In the comments section, he acknowledges that this plan isn’t without risk:

The problem is that feminists will try to come up with ways to undermine the contracts, but they can’t undermine contract law too much without doing MAJOR damage to civil law in general.

I agree with him on the source of the risk.  This is the fundamental problem.  Unfortunately I don’t share his optimism that that the courts will honor marriage contracts.  If the courts held private contracts relating to marriage as sacrosanct then a good prenup would seem to solve most of the problems with marriage 2.0.  I’m not an expert in the law, but as I understand it this isn’t the case.  Either way, I applaud him in his noble efforts.  I sincerely hope he is correct.  If you feel you could be of assistance in this worthy endeavor, please drop by the Marriage Reform page and share your thoughts.

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14 Responses to Marriage Reform

  1. Country lawyer says:

    Marriage is not the natural state for men and women.

    I wish people would realize that.

    A person that thinks it is, is making a mistake, and everything else is fundamentally flawed and the whole structure collapses.

    Don’t get me wrong, marriage and the family is absolutely essential for civilization to exist and progress beyond stone knives, but civilization isn’t natural either.

    Civilization’s constructs, and marriage being the foundation. Life is better for everyone if there are checks on our basic animal behavior and make no mistake marriage was a huge check at one time.

    Further the idea of one man and one wife is so patently not the way marriage has been for most of history that to state otherwise is ridiculous.

    Finally Dalrock, those contracts are no better than prenups at best (and potentially patronizing or soliciting prostitution at worst).

    The idea is born dead.

    I have said it before and I will say it again. The only way to restore marriage is to kill what it has become now and have it resurrected later.

    There is no other way.

    In fact all these attempts to stonewall the inevitable are just that, attempts to forestall what will happen and you’re only making the situation worse.

    Just as our government continuing their debt spending only makes the economic drop that is coming worse over time, so to the longer marriage in the western culture is prolonged, the worse the backlash will be against it.

    You have pointed out before that for the sake of being good and kind, parents often do terrible things to their children. So to do good men trying to preserve and defend an evil situation promote evil.

  2. flyingsquirrel says:

    I think feminists and their (nominally) male allies will destroy this idea just like they destroyed marriage itself. No, I don’t think marriage can be restored until the culture itself changes. The West must arrive at a point where people like feminists who try to destroy male-female relations are viewed as nuthouse material.

  3. Kane says:

    I hope this works. There is certainly pressure from people who understand the current “marriage” laws.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Making a marriage contract mean just that again… I hope it works. What he have now– unlimited liability for the man and all the man’s money, kids and the house for the woman who says “I do, until I don’t feel like and find someone else”– just doesn’t work.

  5. Individual contracts will undercut the entire aspect of the social contract of marriage.

  6. Anonymous Reader says:

    Athol Kay
    Individual contracts will undercut the entire aspect of the social contract of marriage.

    Could you expand on that? From where I sit, the social contract of marriage is extremely frayed and damaged, outside of some religious groups and the upper classes.

  7. The social contract is frayed and damaged yes. But it’s at least understood as to what husband and wife mean. Individual contracts mean every single time someone says they are married, you’re going to have to ask what that means.

    Something as simple as visiting your husband or wife in hospital might require hardcopy proof and legal review of your contract before being allowed in to see them for example. Individual contracts are just simply not going to be practical.

  8. Twenty says:

    The crux of the problem with Price’s approach is that the State can stick its nose into whatever it damn well pleases (note that’s a positive, not a normative, statement) and that, therefore, you can’t order your personal or business affairs in any manner you see fit.

    Sometimes these restrictions are, on net, beneficial: I think we’d all agree that the abolition of slavery and indentured servitude were good things, and a strong argument can be made that the almost total unenforceability of non-compete clauses in California contributed mightily to the development of that state’s high-tech sector.

    On the other hand, those restrictions can be deeply problematic, as they are in the realm of family and custody law. It’s hard to write a pre-nup that will be reliably enforced by the courts, a little tricky to avoid wandering into the jurisdiction of those courts (palimony, common-law marriage, &c.), and damn near impossible to write a private contract governing custody, child support, etc.

    Good or bad, however, those restrictions can never be ignored, and it looks to me as if that’s exactly what a contract-law approach along the lines that Price advocates attempts to do. Good on him for trying, but I don’t think marriage reform absent legislation is possible.

  9. Anonymous Reader says:

    The social contract is frayed and damaged yes. But it’s at least understood as to what husband and wife mean. Individual contracts mean every single time someone says they are married, you’re going to have to ask what that means.

    That’s happening anyway. What does it mean for a man in New York City to say “I’m married” as of earlier this month?

    Something as simple as visiting your husband or wife in hospital might require hardcopy proof and legal review of your contract before being allowed in to see them for example.

    That depends on the contract. Suppose there is a standard marriage contract from a large church denomination, that’s available via the web as a PDF as well as hard copies in files — how long would it take to review that? No time, the legal department would have already reviewed it, and would have a checklist for nursing staff to follow IMO.

    Individual contracts are just simply not going to be practical.

    The current status quo isn’t working, either, and becoming fuzzier by the month. After homosexual marriage is mainstreamed, I fully expect the various poly groups to start pushing for group marriage (triads and larger). That will only make things more complicated; does first wife have the same visitation rights as second wife? How about senior husband vs. junior husband?

    Contractual agreement begins to look not so outlandish, after a while.

  10. Eric says:

    The way to reform marriage is teach men that relationships with American women can’t work. ‘Buy American’ is sound economics, but disasterous relationship advice. American women have swallowed feminist ideology—which is anti-marriage and anti-male—for 50 years. Rebuild marriage on a new foundation.

    Twenty is right in that political solutions won’t work because our leadership and media are too feminocentric to do what needs to be done. The only time I know of historically where the state successfully intervened to save a crumbling marriage social infrastructure was when the Roman Empire took over for the Republic. But that was Caesar Augustus, and his laws had a little more teeth to them than US presidents can muster LOL.

  11. mjay says:

    The marriage “contract” is adjudicated in family court, which is a court of equity or chancery, and a venue which certainly has little to nothing to do with the standard perception of contracts between two parties.

    The thought of “marriage reform” is quaint and bound to fail. Why not bring back buggywhip factories or steam engines? Men should stay single and enjoy life, not invite the State to f*ck you up the ass by getting married.

  12. Pode says:

    “The problem is that feminists will try to come up with ways to undermine the contracts, but they can’t undermine contract law too much without doing MAJOR damage to civil law in general.”

    The flawed assumption here is that feminists are capable of realizing the second part or of giving a rodent’s posterior even if they did.

  13. serpentus says:

    Feminism and easy sex go hand in hand. Why would you want to change that? The solution is simple: Don’t get married…period. Do you really want the pussy well to dry up?

  14. WITH HOPE 2012 says:

    My “anti-marriage” wake up call came about around 1995. A man & woman that I had known personally as individuals before marriage. They had each shown a strong understanding of the value of marriage. I was so happy for them. As the prospect of divorce (she filed) entered the picture, HE was devastated but he KNEW that, when SHE had made up her mind, that this was going to be a forgone conclusion that could not be altered. After speaking to both of them separately it was acknowledged, by both, that neither party had done anything wrong to undermine the marriage. Now there were 2 children, 5 and 7, that needed to be considered. HE tried to make this inevitable divorce as respectful and considerate for all parties, including the children’s future. SHE however, decided to go for the jugular. SHE used any and all means available to HER to inflict as much pain & suffering on HIM as possible. When I asked her why SHE is proceeding in such a manner, she looked at me with the most cold an chilling stare I have ever encountered. SHE glared at me, right into my eyes and stated, “BECAUSE I CAN”. I was horrified by the lack of human consideration with that reponse. Horrified as I was by that statement and, by doing a little more research, I must admit that SHE was absolutely right about the avenues that were afforded HER. HE had no recourse, or avenues at all, as an responsible respondent. This is was so SAD. MARRIAGE REFORM IS LONG OVERDUE!!! Perhaps, it should be abolished in its present form.

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