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joy faber

recycling artist, Read "Write" Literacy of Torrance County

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Do you think marriage, as a social commitment device, still works? Or did it ever work?

I'd like to see what people think of marriage as a social commitment device.

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    Dec 27 2011: In some respects marriage seems to act as a reflecting mirror of other societal 'contracts'.

    It used to be that employers took care of their employees and that these in turn tried to protect the interests of 'the company'. (I remember my father's insistence we buy American Cyanamid products like Breck shampoo or Lederle drugs since they were 'company products'. The way one rose in an 'old style corporation' was by tying oneself to a mentor. He would look after your interests and you looked after his. There was therefore 'commitment to the team'. (Side note: This has survived in Japan, though there too it's a waning view).

    In the U.S. many people approach marriage just as they do the 'job market'. You find an employer who offers a good 'benefit package'. If he finds you inconvenient or finds someone more to his liking, you get a few hours to 'clear out your desk'. If there was no written agreement for a 'termination package', you head out the door to find a new employer. Likewise, if you find yourself a new job that pays better, you arrange for a starting date, and then -- if you feel like it -- you tell your existing employer you found 'a better deal.' If there are uncompleted projects, you leave the mess for him to clean up.

    Likewise (many marriages). It's all about 'shopping for a better deal' or 'getting rid of deadwood'. I have no idea how the 'new model' for both marriage and for work relationships interrelate, but I suspect they're both the result of more options, optimism that one can 'improve' one's station in life, a disregard for the interests/feelings of others, and a basically self-centered and individualistic approach to 'the world'. It's just more and more Gesellschaft and less and less Gemeinschaft.
    • Dec 28 2011: Sadly, I can't say I disagree with your job market analogy and thus my pessimistic view of marriage. A lovely dream grossly exaggerated by Disney...

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