Should Marriage Vows Expire Every Seven Years?

photo via flickr

Driver’s licenses expire. Professional licenses expire. Even dog licenses expire. But marriage licenses are for life! On the one hand, this is kind of the whole point of marriage, right? That you can’t just walk away from each other, that you are committed, even when things get tough, even when your kids are keeping you up all night, even when you’ve been so busy at work that you’ve taken each other for granted for months at a time, even when you’ve aged beyond all recognition since the day you met and fell in love. There’s a comfort to knowing that you don’t have to decide to stay together: You are together. Period.

But on the other hand… Would we be less likely to take each other for granted if we did have to decide to stay together? We’re not talking annual renewal, a la Heidi Klum and Seal (because look how well that worked out for them), but rather every seven years. (Did you know that human cells renew every seven years? So you are quite literally a different person by this point!) Every seven years you’d have to ask your partner all over again, “Will you be mine, to have and to hold, for another seven years?” Imagine how awesome it would feel, seven years into your marriage, to learn that your partner says yes all over again.

And if your partner decided not to re-up the contract? Well, maybe you just dodged a bullet. Would that really be so much worse than staying in a so-so marriage for the rest of your life just because you said you would?



  1. Is there an actual definition of what marriage is in the eyes of the state? I never saw anything explaining how the state views marriage when they issue licenses. It seems quite ambiguous. So is it up to the individuals and what they promise in their vows? Or is it up to the religious entity to which a person belongs? Is it up to the culture to which they belong?

  2. If something like this happened the government, and corporations, would find some way to cheat couples who do want to stay together out of benefits / retirement.

    As for the comment about child support and alimony. Child support technically should be 20% of the non-custodial parents income each month. I don’t know about you… but my father NEVER spent 20% of his income on me in a single month. Furthermore, our family of four never spent more than $150 on food each month. Yet I know guys who are paying $400 per month, or more, on child support. It is insane.

    It is just a way to punish men for being men. Period. And I say that because most non-custodial parents who happen to be female end up not having to pay a cent of child support. In those rare cases — the man getting custody — the woman rarely has to pay child support.

    Most of the guys I know who pay child support are the victims of a cheater. I think the same rules surrounding alimony should apply to child support. If it is shown in court that one parent cheated on the other that parent is on his or her own financially… and the kid(s) should go to the parent that is most financially fit without the need for assistance.

  3. Well sure but…what if children are involved? What if both partners have agreed that one of them would stay at home with children while the other works for pay, furthers his or her career (with the support of the other)while accruing retirement benefits and everything else that comes with a good job, only to decide” “You know what? Being here and raising kids is a pain in the ass! I think I’ll go do something else now,” which leaves the stay at home parent with no income, no career, no resources to raise their children. Should a person be legally allowed to just walk away? Sure there’s child support, but what about alimony?

  4. Maybe this is another reason America needs to look at creating a civil union as an option for all couples. Marriage could keep it’s permanence and religious connotations while civil unions could have a periodic renewal. (Nobody get mad at me please. I’m not anti gay marriage, just supplying some food for thought.)

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