Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Theory and Metatheory of Marriage

I do not approve of the following decision! But I got outvoted. The wrongfolk have, wrongly, decided that everyone gets to make up their own form of marriage and to have it proclaimed a legal form of marriage by the legeriat.

This takes something that I think is perfectly reasonable -- everyone gets to make up their own marriage vows -- and generalizes it to madness. So, for example, Phaniet and Este want to make up an Binary-Open Marriage, which is a pretty conventional couple marriage, except that they can take lovers but they have to do it together. Arfaen, for her part, has decided that she likes having a tofyof, and wants something like that allowed by law too.

We're going to have a great big book listing all the currently available varieties of marriage. We already have the book itself -- a massive ledger book bound in green leather -- and I did manage to get some agreement that, when the book is full, we stop this game.

Anyhow, I'm worried about the game. It needs some rules, or someone's going to get hurt. Here are some rules I am thinking about, or that various of our more enthusiastic Rassimel and mock-Rassimel have discussed.

  1. Marriages concern emotional and sexual bonds, long-term life plans, joint living situations, rights of kinship, and selected property matters. (Rationale: We probably have left some things off this list. But we don't want, say, two people who ought to be entering a business arrangement to phrase it as a marriage.)
  2. A form of marriage must concern the attachments of a collection of consenting adults (called "spouses"). The collection of spouses is fixed at the time of the marriage.
  3. The spouses must know, understand, and agree to the terms of the marriage before they can enter into it. (Rationale: You can't, say, marry the Duke of Vheshrame in a form marriage that gives you half his wealth, unless the Duke wants to.)
  4. A spouse may unilaterally proclaim divorce, dissolving the whole marriage unless the terms of the marriage explain what will happen in the case of divorces. (Rationale: Divorce seems essential in various situations. Dissolving the whole marriage may seem rather drastic, but the alternative is chaos -- e.g., if five overzealous Orren have put together an intricate arrangement heavily based on the numerology of 5, and one leaves, there'll be no sensible way to interpret the remaining arrangement for 4. But a standard Cani marriage of 13 adults will turn into a standard Cani marriage of 12 in the natural way.)
  5. Marriage vows never supercede other legal requirements. Prior marriage vows have precedence over newer ones. (Rationale: This system is going to be ridiculously unstable, but this rule makes it a touch more stable. Besides, if you don't like the prior vows, you can destroy that marriage and make one that fits your needs.)
    1. Anyhow ... any ideas, suggestions, demands, proclamations, assertions, distractions, uglifications, or derisions?
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