Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

7 Year Marriages

Every day, I wake up with giddy anticipation, and I wonder: “what will be the dumbest idea I’ll hear today? I feel that has now been answered.

According to BERLIN (Reuters) yesterday, a German Bavarian politician, Gabriele Pauli, suggested in her manifesto, that marriage should last just 7 years!

She told reporters at the launch of her campaign manifesto Wednesday she wanted marriage to expire after seven years, she said

“The basic approach is wrong … many marriages last just because people believe they are safe,” she told reporters.

“My suggestion is that marriages expire after seven years.”

After that time, couples should either agree to extend their marriage or it should be automatically dissolved, she said.’

She has based this on statistics that demostrate the notion of a ‘7 year itch’, or the time at which statistically most failed marriages expire.

My partner and I discussed this news story, as he had been reading the paper on the flight deck during the cruise on his return from Bodrum yesterday… He didn’t say, but I imagined they discussed the story, with the Captain (probably a recent divorcee) advocating the theory as a wonderful solution to expensive divorces. He was actually saying how good this would be, as it would mean that only couples who TRULY wanted to be together would stay together, and it would ‘put all the unscrupulous family lawyers out of business’

This notion appalls me… In theory I can see why the idea might be ideologically popular with some people, especially those who, like her don’t take marriage seriously, and have been divorced twice already. But it undermines the whole principal and romance of marriage being a lifelong commitment to your ‘soulmate’.

We had quite an animated discussion about the pro’s and cons of it, and it seems that like her, he was only considering the surface ideology. In practice, it would never work, nor should it. There would be little point in bothering at all.

For example, the wedding vows would be a bit trite don’t you think? You couldn’t take someone ‘in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer until death us do part’… I can see it now; ‘do you take this man until there’s a bump in the road, or someone better comes along, for the next 7 years?!

What’s the point!? I seriously wonder what is wrong with some people. If you feel that way, there’s nobody forcing you to get married. Gone are the days of ‘shotgun weddings’ (thankfully); gone is the stigma of ‘living in sin’. If you don’t want to commit your life to somebody, there really is no social pressure to do so, unless you’re weak.  I certainly would not marry someone who was incapable of believing that he could commit to me for life.

This seems to me, a bitter and jaded dig at marriage at a fundamental level. In essence, what she is proposing (if you’ll pardon the inappropriate punn) is not actually marriage at all; but rather a 7 year legal contract. Couples may as well just live together, and draw up a certificate of trust for their finances! It seems that a joint mortgage would be more of a solid commitment than what she is proposing.

This brings me neatly onto my next point and criticism of the whole ridiculous notion. Even IF this were an idea worthy of consideration (which in my opinion it isn’t) I think setting the mark at the ‘7 Year Itch’ is hugely risky and irresponsible.

Its all very well putting a positive spin on the fact that only couples who want to be together would, but this makes it all too easy to give up, and normalise the dissolution of marriages, making them disposable like so much else in today’s society.

It would become normal and ‘natural’ to draw a line under the relationship and ‘move on’. It puts children at risk, as after a few years of marriage both partners (but especially men who can blame it on evolution if they want ) could start to think of life in greener pastures.

Aside from the war on the romance of marriage that this ludicrous manifesto commits; it chips away at the resulting family securitytoo… Marriage as a contract protects the financial interest of stay-at-home mums and the children dependant on the economic security provided by the primary financial bread winner; not in every case but certainly as an average. It makes it much more practical to work at the relationship, and not simply walk away from it at the first sign of trouble.

If some limit is set on the marriage contract, I hope that at the very least: econmic considerations for the stay at home spouse or spouse earning less who is also going to be taking care of the children (most often the woman), would be made and a support structure implemented.

In a country with an already declining birthrate and terrible childcare options for working parents, I believe it to be inpractical and economically down-right stupid.

By the end of our discussion, I think Bf could see my point of view, and said that he couldn’t see that it would ever happen… I do hope he’s right.


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