Is Marrige Being Legislated Out of Existence?


This morning, I woke up to an interesting news article
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/08/20/bullying-husbands-who-control-partners-lives-would-face-jail-time-under-proposed-u-k-law/

The law would make the worst cases of non-violent “controlling behaviour” a jailable offence.
Exact terms of the offence are yet to be defined, but it could involve humiliating, frightening or intimidating a partner, keeping them away from friends or family or restricting their access to money.

I fully understand the kinds of cases this is most likely trying to target. The extreme cases of isolation or limiting finances to the point of deprivation. However, like many things in the law, they tend to creep. The slippery slope argument has sadly proven itself to be very slippery indeed.

Rape used to be a pretty straight forward thing. A person physically forces themselves on another. We can all picture it happening and can identify what rape is in the extreme.

But that line has been blurred in many countries. Is marital rape still rape if a spouse, typically a husband, demands sex from his wife even if she is not in the mood? How about if two people are drunk and they have sex, is that rape? And we all know that normally means, that if a drunk guy and a drunk girl has sex, that means the guy raped her if she wants to call it that. There have been a flood of cases in recent times about this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/california-debates-yes-means-yes-sex-assault-law/2014/08/10/b7ffa86c-20cd-11e4-958c-268a320a60ce_story.html

That would be defined as “an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” by each party to engage in sexual activity.
Silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. The legislation says it is also not consent if the person is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep.
Lawmakers say consent can be nonverbal, and universities with similar policies have outlined examples as maybe a nod of the head or moving in closer to the person.

These are all complex cases with a lot of nuance, let's not pretend otherwise. Yes, a drunk guy and girl at a bar who then go home together in what seems like a night of fun and later she claims it was rape is horrific to the guy. Similarly, a girl getting so drunk she passes out and is then taken advantage of is also pretty horrific to the woman.

The Clarity Of The Law

There is a definite clarity when the law is easily understood. We all know what theft is. Theft is the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another. The way many of these laws are coming across, it would seem like McDonalds could accuse me of theft for making my meal at home instead of buying from McDonalds. I am depriving McDonalds of money.

Today, even things like not talking to someone is 'abuse' in some circles or not showing someone the proper amount of 'love'.

It would actually be a serious question of law if a husband didn't want his wife to spend money on a new pair of shoes or a new car or vice versa.

These Are Avenues Outside the Law

Really, these are issues that should exist outside of the law. The law is a very blunt instrument with very real legal consequences with a general tendency towards victims and criminals. Just because something is not addressed in the law does not mean it should not be addressed. Community centers, churches, family, friends, social workers, norms, social morals... could all help in such cases.

If someone is not getting the right amount of love, maybe they should be counseled with their partner and possibly end the relationship.
If someone thinks they were taken advantage of sexually while in an intoxicated state, social morals about not getting drunk; especially around the opposite sex or when not with good friends, is a definite avenue.

 The Law Is Meant To be Universal

In the law, murder is murder. A rich person murdering a poor person should be treated the same as a poor person murdering a rich person.

So consider this 'bullying law'. I am sure the creators of the law have in mind a man controlling too much of his wife's spending or keeping her form her friends.

But how about the following:
  1. A wife controlling her husband by making him go places he does not wis
  2. A wife controlling her husband by keeping track of where he is
  3. A wife abusing her husband by spending too much money placing him in a state of duress trying to support the family
  4. A wife controlling her husband by keeping sex away from him
  5. A wife controlling her husband by preventing him from taking a vacation with his friends in Thailand. 
  6. A wife controlling her husband by sexually restricting himself to her, while not being attractive or doing sexual things he desires.
  7. ...
Strictly from a legal perspective, these could easily be issues of control.

 Marriage Versus Individualism

Ultimately, marriage is a contract. It flies in the face of individualism that is dominant in our culture.
If the terms of marriage are not making either side happy or getting something out of it, divorce is there and has been used to a large extent. It should come as no surprise that about half of marriages end in divorce.

Trying to control marriage in these legal ways makes it a very risky proposition.
Heck, knowing the divorce laws and that you could lose half your wealth to your partner and more if you have children, marriage becomes an increasingly risky proposition.

Now, not only is divorce risky, but marriage itself is risky. Not spending money the 'right' way or loving the 'right' way or arguing the 'wrong' way, approaching sex the 'wrong' way... is now increasingly seen as criminal. Yes, most of the time, these are geared against men, but the law is universal. Just as wealthier women have been on the other end of divorce and alimony and hate it, in time, they will find themselves on the opposite end of these laws.

Marriage is the Ultimate Form of Control

Marriage is actually the ultimate form of control.
It is however worth it for that goal. It is a wonderful thing when it is understood.

To restrict yourself sexually and emotionally to one person for your whole life.
It controls your very sexuality and emotions. So the question remains is why the focus on avoiding control in marriage? Imagine the irony of talking about financial control, when the definition of marriage is about absolute sexual and emotional control.
It makes the financial control seem trivial doesn't it?

To put it in a male perspective. Historically, men have been allowed harems of women and concubines. Just let that sink in for a second. Men are now required to  give that all up for a monogamous marriage. Which is in itself a great form of control on your wants and desires. Just look at how far the pendulum has swung. So the idea that marriage is not about control is silly at best.

Ultimately, there is this underlying notion that people should be able to be whatever they want, and yet still exist within the confines of marriage.  It seems almost contradictory. To now have the government start micromanaging this relationship is pretty scary.

Perhaps marriage as an institution has already died out with the advent of strong individualism and relative material well being for both sexes. It's need has died out. Women do not need men to support them anymore. Men do not need women to cook or clean or deal with children. Both sexes today do not value subservience and two leaders on one ship is a recipe for conflict unless they agree on most things. The only confusion is with respect to children, but single motherhood is pretty common anyways. Yet, these legislative avenues are putting the final nail in the coffin so to speak.

I suspect I feel a certain loss about that as I do enjoy the idea of the simple nuclear family. I am kind of traditional in that sense. But it is not a matter of morality for me, it simply is. Perhaps it is an outdated idea given the direction of the law and society.

Ultimately, any contract eventually dies out if it ceases to benefit both sides. This is true of any business relationship and it is ultimately true of any social relationship.


Perhaps the future is about single parents. Men could have surrogates if they so wished. Women of course have that within their power today. And so it shall play itself out.











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