This is a comment by wellokaythen on the post “Is Marriage Obsolete?”
There is actually no such thing as “Marriage with a capital M,” meaning there is no single, universal, agreeable, self-evident thing that is the same for everyone. There really is nothing very deep you can say about ALL marriages that can be covered by the expression, “that’s what marriage is.” There are lots of marriages of all kinds. Marriages exist, but “marriage” as a concept is something people define for themselves within a marriage. They may let other people define what marriage means, but that’s still a choice.
This also means that there is no such thing as “a real marriage” as distinct from any other kind of marriage. Maybe one marriage is more sustainable than another, but that doesn’t make it more real. Every marriage that exists is a real marriage. The article is asking whether something is obsolete without bothering to say what the thing actually is.
This is like asking, “Is technology becoming obsolete?” Well, some forms of it are obsolete, some are becoming obsolete, and some seem to be going strong. Marriage forms are a type of social technology. Different societies at different points in history set up different kinds of marriages, though they may not have used any word comparable to “marriage.” Some kinds of marriages seem to be disappearing, while others are becoming more common.
It’s like asking, “Are contracts becoming obsolete?” Some are, some aren’t.
If the question is, “Is the ‘til death do us part’ kind of marriage disappearing?” then I’d say yes. That’s just one definition of marriage, though. People who are married for 10 years and then get divorced had an actual marriage. That was a “real marriage,” like it or not. If one or both of them remarry, that will also be “real marriage.”
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