What Would It Take to Un-Marry You?
A set of hypotheticals for all the married folk out there. Each is intended to stand alone. They don’t escalate from one to the next, and I’m not fishing for any particular conclusions here.
- The United States government, at both the state and federal levels, peacefully dissolves into anarchy. The functionaries all read David Friedman, agree with him, and close up shop. Are you still married? Or not?
- Your church, if you have one, decides that your marriage was never valid, owing to a technical error in the ceremony, a mistake no one noticed at the time. Are you still married? Or not?
- Your entire family, on both sides, and any children if you have them, all reach a consensus: You and your wife are all wrong for each other. They’re not going to recognize your marriage, no matter how happy you are, and regardless of how you conduct yourselves. Still married? Or not?
I’m genuinely curious how people will respond. How much of what makes a marriage is individual? And how much of it belongs to the community? How are the communal aspects of marriage allocated among state, church, and family?