Marriage is an intrinsically outdated set of legal obligations, nowadays. And the centuries of precedent, common-law, and cultural baggage surrounding it are explicitly working in the opposite directions that it needs to go to make sense.

Why do people get married? For children, or for tax benefits and logistical smoothing when it comes to health benefits, next-of-kin things, and whatever.

For all the non-children cases (and let's not forget, ~20% of women in the USA or Europe never have kids at all in recent years), all of those things should be sign-uppable for any couple regardless of marital status.

Why? Because marriage is a gigantic, one-sided trap for people.

For both genders: if you have any assets whatsoever, you immediately sign half over. Vintage-level divorce rates are ~42%, then "mutually unhappy" results in marriage are probably half-again that number, for 60%-66% of marriages net unhappy.

For men: they're more likely to have assets, AND 70% of divorces are initiated by women. Do you really want to bet half your assets on something with a 2/3 failure rate, where 70% of the time, you didn't even want to split?? Also, in a split, the woman ends up with the kids much more often, and ends up spending a lot more time with them. You won't see your kids as much, or be able to influence their childhoods as much.

For women: the reason 70% of divorces are initiated by women is that men suck, and are basically giant babies who want to be taken care of just like a kid. You do the majority of the housework and cleaning and child-rearing, even if you have a career and income too. Not just that, but in the event of divorce, most women are worse off financially and standard of living wise, and men don't have a penalty on that front nearly as big. Oh, and if you have assets, you're going to end up giving away half of them to get rid of the chump in that 70% case.

Marriage's main result, empirically, is to increase net misery-years by making it harder and more friction-ful to break up. But the prior should be that ANY given relationship has a 70%+ chance of breaking up and being net-negative (assuming non-marriage relationships break up or end up net-miserable at a slightly higher rate than marriages). So we should not add any friction in terms of making it harder to break up a relationship, and we CERTAINLY shouldn't make it drastically expensive with a 70% rate of failure for anyone with assets of either gender!

What about kids? I submit to you that kids are worse off in a house with a net-negative marriage. They see and hear you fighting, too, you know. It's better to break up sooner for the KIDS too, not just for the marriage participants, because it reduces fighting and conflict at home.

Marriage: not even once!

Where we really need to go is to a place with shorter term, non-financially penalized breakups. 5 year contracts, or 10 or 20 year, with kids. Half your assets shouldn't be at risk in a breakup either, although of course children need to be supported financially by whoever the non-custodial parent is. But child support is WAY less than half your assets if you have any, and should be based on average cost of living for the area the kids live in.

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Fascinating statistics!

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