Between the 13th chapter of Law’s Order and the discussion that we have had in our classes I think that it is really interesting to think about marriage as a contract. This isn’t the first time that I am thinking of it in this manner but it is the first time that I have attempted to think of it in economic terms, which this class has me doing now with most issues in my life.
Within the first few years of being married there is a huge learning curve. Assuming that you weren’t living with the person for a long time before hand. You spend time together creating traditions, memories, and having all of the same friends, hobbies and interests for the most part. Not to mention both names of the couple are on deeds for houses, credit cards, cars, and other expenses that needed financing. By the end of being married for even a couple of years you have invested so much that if one or the other of you were to try and end it, both parties would suffer greatly for a number of years following.
Marriage is in itself a great way of scaring people from getting married. I am someone cynic and I much of the time believe that things are going to work out. I actually prefer the term realist, and when 1 out of 2 marriages are failing in the US all I see is a 50 percent chance of having child support payments, half of my friends, awkward conversations for months, and terrible credit. Divorce is definitely something that is always at the back of my mind.
I heard this story once of a man that caught his wife cheating. He was married in a state where the law says that no matter what happens if there is a divorce then the two parties will split all monies and properties. SO he decided that he would spend the next couple of years saving money into his account, getting a high paying job in a new state with different laws that were more in his favor and he then confronted his wife. He got the kids, the cars, and the majority of the money and left his cheating wife with a house payment she could never afford and her cat that he never liked. That was a man that showed an impressive amount of patience and organization. He understood the costs and benefits for divorce and decided to move to a state more favorable. SO the moral of the story is that chances are you’re going to get a divorce. Sad right? So understand the potential repercussions of what you are doing. Identify the sunk costs and try to do as much damage control as possible.
Get married. Even if it’s only once ( and hopefully it is!).