April 6, 2012

"So, should a jilted bride give back the engagement ring?"

"Today, the answer is often yes. But back when rings first came into vogue, part of the point was that she wouldn't. It was a security against a default on the engagement."

95 comments:

Aridog said...

If the potential bride was "jilted" by the potential groom, then hell no, she keeps the ring. Otherwise just what did it represent in the first place? A loan?

Scott M said...

A prof friend of mine, a strident feminist, is constantly dismayed when her female students constantly and overwhelmingly say not only are they going to take their husband's last name, but that they expect an engagement ring.

Nearly fifteen years removed from the dating game, I understand that it's growing in popularity for the woman to get the guy something approaching the value of the ring. Given the graduate rates and relative unemployment stats, I'd say that's a good trend, if truth. Just one question...where's MY !@#$% boat???

Tank said...

In NJ the ring is a conditional gift, contingent on the anticipated marriage. If the marriage does not take place, the ring must be returned. It doesn't matter who calls it off.

I'm not sure that's the right approach, but that's what it is.

Bruce Hayden said...

If the ring is the security deposit that the guy makes, then what is the corresponding security deposit on the woman's part?

Being a guy, my view is that the ring is his, until the marriage. Once she says "I do", it is hers.

fleetusa said...

If he dumps her, she should keep the ring. Certainly true if the engagement was more than say a month. Time and fault should be factors.

Aridog said...

I understand what @Tank is saying, but isn't the term "conditional gift" an oxymoron?

rhhardin said...

A second band is needed to say yes to the first, before it means anything.

Pogo said...

Why should men bother getting 'married'?

The word is to be redefined soon enough, reduced apparently to a contractual arrangement regarding two or more people (I'm assuming animals will be excluded, but I could be wrong).

What's the upside, seriously?

The legal world tilts against the male in all things marital, so why get so entangled? What's in it for men?

Pogo said...

As to the ring thing, meh.

Women want to pretend it's 1920 when discussing engagements and weddings, but post-apocalyptic when discussing marriage.

Matthew said...

Don't loan out things you'll want back.

SGT Ted said...

See? Women want money from the men who WON'T marry them as well.

If the ring is a security on a bridal price, then she is a whore; its just a matter of negotiation after that. This isn't the 1800s and she can go get a job if she wants money from men she won't fuck.

What the fuck, over?

ricpic said...

If a price isn't to be paid for reneging on a commitment then what kind of commitment is it? Of course the engaged bride-to-be who is jilted gets to keep the ring.

MadisonMan said...

Don't loan out things you'll want back.

This bears repeating. I tell it to my kids. If you would ever want something back, don't give it to someone else.

Scott M said...

Of course the engaged bride-to-be who is jilted gets to keep the ring.

With that logic, if she's the jilt'er, should she have to give it back to the jilt'ee?

Sorun said...

I've always thought of it as a down payment on a wife, and it should be treated like other down payments are.

David said...

Ariella Collection Round Pavé Cubic Zirconia Ring.

$38 at Nordstrom's.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

Ariella Collection Round Pavé Cubic Zirconia Ring.

That's what I should have bought my betrothed. Four years after we got married, she was out in front of our house on the phone, walking the dog and absentmindedly spinning the ring around her finger. She lost it and, due to the time of year, there were heaps of dried leaves on the lawn and gutter.

Apparently, her crying and raking through the leaves drew the attention of our neighbors because there was an army of them out trying to help her, including one cop who happened by, when I got home.

Seeing so many people pitch in like that took my anger from redline-enraged down to manageable, smoldering ember.

ricpic said...

...if she's the jilt'er should she have to give it back to the jilt'ee?

If there were any justice in the world, yes. But it's not a should world it's a will world and she won't.

Jasmina Boulanger said...

Keep it. Buy another one. Make earrings.k

MadisonMan said...

When my sister-in-law broke off her engagement, she kept the ring.

He was a jerk.

MadisonMan said...

@ScottM -- so did she find it? I'm guessing no. Insurance!

The diamond in my wife's ring was owned by a dead relative. Had it remounted.

traditionalguy said...

When given the diamond ring is a gift. When accepted the diamond ring is a pledge to marry the giver.

If she backs out, she gives back the pledge.

If he backs out, the ring stays with her. He could have kept the ring by staying with her and he made the choice to leave the ring with its wearer.

Aridog said...

Scott M said: Just one question...where's MY !@#$% boat???

Thread winner!

Might be on to something with the mutual exchange thing ... still, if "conditional," it's pointless.

Just reading the good humored responses here, it dawns on me why some guys have "commitment issues." Now if the ladies were also "vested" they might have commitment issues of a similar nature.

Or both could could just say screw it, neither of us can afford it, and just do simple gold bands on wedding day. Been there, done that long ago. A diamond or CZ is a poor measure of love ... more a measure of the wallet. If a guy drops say $16 grand on a ring what is he saying?

PS: Ann, thanks for a thread that is just fun, not too serious.

Freeman Hunt said...

Of course the engaged bride-to-be who is jilted gets to keep the ring.

With that logic, if she's the jilt'er, should she have to give it back to the jilt'ee?


I thought both of these were assumed.

Scott M said...

ScottM -- so did she find it? I'm guessing no. Insurance!

Nope. It was a teaching moment, though.

Matthew said...

"Nope. It was a teaching moment, though."

-- The lesson: Good neighbors have metal detectors.

Freeman Hunt said...

Tradition in love is often a good thing. Much of it exists to poeticize the primal. You can throw out the poetry, but the primal will always be.

Sofa King said...

The legal world tilts against the male in all things marital, so why get so entangled? What's in it for men?

Nothing, nothing at all.

Scott M said...

What's in it for men?

Despite all of the hardships, having kids is still one of the most rewarding things you can do with your life. If you want to do it properly, you've got to dip into those marital waters...so to speak.

Patrick said...

Years ago, the Wall Street journal reported on a study of women who "upgraded" their engagement rings when they were able to afford bigger and better diamonds. It seems couples who do that have extraordinarily high divorce rates within a few years.

Jasmina Boulanger said...

"If a guy drops say $16 grand on a ring what is he saying?"

He's saying the bride-to-be better have good eye sight 'cause that ring is on the small side. I told my dearly beloved that I wanted a ring bigger than the one his first wife got and big enough to see without my glasses! Meow! Along with love, a sense of humor is a prerequisite to a good relationship.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

A jilted bride is not longer a bride.

That being said, a jilted bride should not give the ring back.

If there is a discussion and a change of mind before the wedding ... more likely.

Define jilted.

Freeman Hunt said...

Nothing, nothing at all.

My husband seems to like it.

I don't think he is alone.

edutcher said...

A lot depends on how we define, "Jilted".

If he is playing around behind she's back, keep it.

Otherwise, the classy thing is to give it back.

Of course, if she is playing around behind he's back, I think we can forget about her being classy.

Pogo said...

Why should men bother getting 'married'?

The word is to be redefined soon enough, reduced apparently to a contractual arrangement regarding two or more people (I'm assuming animals will be excluded, but I could be wrong).


You haven't heard about the woman in Oz and the dolphin, have you?

PS As what Walter Russell Mead describes as the "failure of the blue model" proceeds, I think we're going to see returns to a lot of traditional views.

Seems to have already started, somewhat.

WV "aasta" How the Thin Man called his dog when she misbehaved.

traditionalguy said...

A local writer named Louis Grizzard, married and divorced serially. Finally his friends told him that the next time he felt smitten by a pretty woman, that he should just buy her a huge house, and forget the marriage rigamarole.

That would have also saved Louis lots of money that hespent on diamond rings.

Saint Croix said...

What's in it for men?

It's called a baby. Maybe you've heard of them.

They way so many men just roll over and let feminism define our culture astounds me.

Tarzan said...

Absolutely not. In what culture is this even a question?

If she, however, chooses to throw it back at him, literally or figuratively, she has gone far to make a strongly positive impression of her own inner strength.

Tarzan said...

What's in it for the man?

Oh I don't know. Self respect maybe?

Like I said, if she gives (or throws) it back of her own free will, that's one thing.

For him to break the engagement against her will and then slump over asking for his ring back, sorry, no freakin' way. The man who does that is a dink in the eyes of his fellows.

Feminism has nothing to do with it.

Tarzan said...

If, however, the engagement is broken by her or as a mutual decision, it would be good form for her to offer the ring back.

Depending on his feelings, the man could take it or say, "Nah. Keep it!" and come out fine either way.

Sofa King said...

It's called a baby. Maybe you've heard of them.

They way so many men just roll over and let feminism define our culture astounds me.


Newsflash: you can have children without being married. The two have nothing to do with each other any more. What, specifically, is the advantage of getting married before having children? I'm not seeing it.

Sofa King said...

Nothing, nothing at all.

My husband seems to like it.

I don't think he is alone.


Are you saying that you wouldn't love him if you weren't married to him?

Is your love for another person really sincere if it is contingent on a ceremony that is of no benefit to them whatsoever?

You seem to be saying, that it is advantageous to men because it gives them an opportunity to sacrifice their own best interests in the hope that it works out for them in the end. I submit that is a lousy value proposition.

Sofa King said...

Do I have to bring up Lillian Rearden?

Scott M said...

What, specifically, is the advantage of getting married before having children? I'm not seeing it.

Have you ever been married or had children? It would be difficult to describe all of the subtleties involved with a wholly correct answer to your question.

Suffice to say that it is MUCH better to be a couple before you're a family. MUCH better. You get to grown closer together and figure out exactly where each person's strength/weaknesses are and, frankly, you get to figure them out during this period. If there is any doubt that your spouse is in the for the long haul, or if you question your own staying power (no pun), children will not make that situation any better.

There are an entire raft of things that single people take for granted that cannot be so treated once you're married. You've got to figure out those boundaries and responsibilities LONG before that baby comes home from the hospital...or Africa if you're Branjelina.

Having a newborn is hard enough, trust me, without being able to fully and unquestioningly being able to rely on your spouse.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

No, she shouldn't have to return the ring. This is just another example of the Republican war on brides.

Sofa King said...

Suffice to say that it is MUCH better to be a couple before you're a family. MUCH better. You get to grown closer together and figure out exactly where each person's strength/weaknesses are and, frankly, you get to figure them out during this period. If there is any doubt that your spouse is in the for the long haul, or if you question your own staying power (no pun), children will not make that situation any better.

Well, no shit. What does marriage have to do with this? Nothing, is what. Getting married itself imparts no actual knowledge about another person. Living together, sharing a house, getting to know a person: none of those things require marriage. Marriage doesn't even make any of those things substantively easier or more likely. Maybe this used to be the case, but the world has changed.

Saint Croix said...

What, specifically, is the advantage of getting married before having children?

Flip the question around. What's the advantage of not being married? You're still on the hook for child support. The legal liabilities are still imposed on you. Meanwhile, your kid is being called a bastard in school, and your non-wife wife is constantly worried about your failure to stand up in public and declare your love.

Scott M said...

but the world has changed

Sounds like you've changed, but don't speak for everyone. You sound jaded about the topic, but don't think that it applies to everyone. For a number of reasons and even despite the ridiculously tipped scales men face these days, I still take the institution seriously. It's that extra layer of deep commitment (not love) that can keep people of like mind to keep going even when things get extremely tough.

If that's not for you, it's not for you, but it doesn't mean the rest of us are idiots.

Scott M said...

Meanwhile, your kid is being called a bastard in school

Only if you don't send him to the Wall. Even then, it doesn't get much better, what with winter coming and all.

Freeman Hunt said...

Are you saying that you wouldn't love him if you weren't married to him?

I wouldn't have babies with him. He likes having babies.

Is your love for another person really sincere if it is contingent on a ceremony that is of no benefit to them whatsoever?

There's a huge benefit to him. The benefit is that I'm reserved (so is he) unto death, and I'll make a family with him. Marriage is not a mere ceremony. It is a lifetime commitment that comes with enormous costs for breaking it and enormous benefits for holding to it.

As to the specific question, yes and yes. I would not waste my time loving someone who didn't want a family, and I wouldn't have a family without first getting married to provide some insurance of stability in the family's foundational relationship.

Freeman Hunt said...

Being boyfriend girlfriend is entirely different than being married. If you're not married, you can just leave. If you're married, there are major consequences to that. Marriage is, therefore, more stable.

Sofa King said...

Flip the question around. What's the advantage of not being married?

1. You aren't required to donate half of all your assets to another person.

2. You don't have to put yourself or your parents in the poorhouse so that you host a lavish party.

3. In the probable event that one of you changes his or her mind later, you don't have to drag yourself through legal proceedings, or at least, not as many.

4. Statistics prove that sexual interest and desire both fade after marriage. But most of all and most importantly,

5. It provides a FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY.

Sofa King said...

If you're married, there are major consequences to that.

Consequences for one party is benefits to the other.

Freeman Hunt said...

Consequences for one party is benefits to the other.

There are severe consequences for both.

Or are you only looking at the financial?

If that's the case, the family is far wealthier if they stick together. Women who divorce are much more likely to end up in poverty than women who stay married.

Sofa King said...

There's a huge benefit to him. The benefit is that I'm reserved (so is he) unto death, and I'll make a family with him. Marriage is not a mere ceremony. It is a lifetime commitment that comes with enormous costs for breaking it and enormous benefits for holding to it.

For you, maybe, because you have honor and are trustworthy. But for someone without such honor, it really offers no protection at all, in fact it offers INCENTIVES to defect. In other words, marriage works for people who don't actually need it, and it doesn't for the people who really do. Which makes it utterly useless and stupid.

Sofa King said...

There are severe consequences for both.

Or are you only looking at the financial?


Yes, because someone who considers the other consequences doesn't NEED marriage to conclude that the relationship is more beneficial than not.

Scott M said...

In other words, marriage works for people who don't actually need it, and it doesn't for the people who really do. Which makes it utterly useless and stupid.

You missed Freeman's point entirely. Jaded much?

Sofa King said...

Women who divorce are much more likely to end up in poverty than women who stay married.

Well, good thing for her that marriage exists!?

???

Sofa King said...

You missed Freeman's point entirely. Jaded much?

Perhaps I didn't understand the point.

I am trying to tease out the difference between what the actual effects of marriage are, versus the pre-existing ethics of people who are predisposed to get married.

Scott M said...

I am trying to tease out the difference between what the actual effects of marriage are, versus the pre-existing ethics of people who are predisposed to get married.

Let's go on a tangent for a moment. Do you acknowledge the phenomena of time being organic to the conscious mind, ie, time flies when you're having fun (or busy) but tends to crawl when you're bored or such, regardless of the intellectual fact that you know it's proceeding at exactly the same rate it always has?

Sofa King said...

Do you acknowledge the phenomena of time being organic to the conscious mind, ie, time flies when you're having fun (or busy) but tends to crawl when you're bored or such, regardless of the intellectual fact that you know it's proceeding at exactly the same rate it always has?

Our perception of time is imperfect, if that's what you're getting at. It's also been scientifically proven that our perception of time decreases as we age.

Joe Schmoe said...

I'm glad to see the debate over the merits of marriage and children. I thought this thread was going to go down the sinkhole about the modern woman obviously giving back the ring so as not to impart a sense of dependence on the man.

If she does give the ring back, hopefully the jewelry store will give a full refund. I wonder if there's an expiration on the return date for a ring.

Scott M said...

Our perception of time is imperfect, if that's what you're getting at. It's also been scientifically proven that our perception of time decreases as we age.

I like to think of it as maturing to the point of not sweating it so much anymore, but whatever. Yes, or perception of time is imperfect, but that has very real consequences us, does it not?

Sofa King said...

The primary consequence I can think of is that we must always be skeptical of our own feelings of how much time has elapsed. But then, I find most feelings untrustworthy.

Joan said...

I tried to give it back, but he wouldn't hear of it. Breaking off the engagement was his idea, after all.

I've never known what to do with it, even though I had it reset into a pendant. I never wear it. I'm thinking I will have it reset again for my daughter's sweet 16...

Scott M said...

I wonder if there's an expiration on the return date for a ring.

One of the jewelry stores here in STL runs a full spectrum of ads, but about every fourth one in the rotation, played in heavier rotation when there's a simulcast ball game on, I've noticed, is the one where they sell the point that they will give a refund for a called-off engagement. They never say full refund, but they are the only one I know of in town that does so.

Scott M said...

The primary consequence I can think of is that we must always be skeptical of our own feelings of how much time has elapsed. But then, I find most feelings untrustworthy.

Well, there we have it, then. Vulcans aren't really cut out for human marriage anyway, Spock's father not withstanding.

Sofa King said...

So, a tacit admission that there is no reason (that is, a rational explanation using things like facts and logic) to get married. I guess I'll grant that it might feel good sometimes.

Sofa King said...

I'll also grant that it is a tradition. So, getting married is a way to do things that other people have also done.

Scott M said...

Not at all. No reason for you to get married, but that doesn't apply to others. The point Freeman was making was that she was not going to commit to him without a commitment in return. That doesn't change how trustworthy she is or isn't, it's merely the bar she had set for herself.

You never answered my question. Have you been married and do you have any kids?

Sofa King said...

Also, for the record, canonical Vulcans do get often married. Interestingly, their marriages are usually arranged, so that marriage is about learning to love the person you are with, not trying to force someone you love to be with you.

Scott M said...

Also, for the record, canonical Vulcans do get often married. Interestingly, their marriages are usually arranged, so that marriage is about learning to love the person you are with, not trying to force someone you love to be with you.

Nerd.

Answer the question.

Sofa King said...

Not at all. No reason for you to get married, but that doesn't apply to others. The point Freeman was making was that she was not going to commit to him without a commitment in return. That doesn't change how trustworthy she is or isn't, it's merely the bar she had set for herself

It's a commitment without much meaning any more. Let two people jointly buy a house to live in: that's much more of a commitment in any real sense than a marriage license is.

You never answered my question. Have you been married and do you have any kids?

No, and no. Does that make me a bad person in your eyes? Foolish? Deluded? What is the relevance to this line of questioning?

Scott M said...

No, and no. Does that make me a bad person in your eyes? Foolish? Deluded? What is the relevance to this line of questioning?

Were your parents divorced? Widowed?

Aside from that,

It's a commitment without much meaning any more. Let two people jointly buy a house to live in: that's much more of a commitment in any real sense than a marriage license is.

This is the singular most bullshit statement you've made so far. There is absolutely no way you can discern what a commitment means to Freeman, me or anyone else other than yourself. That fact that you've never been married and never had kids just compounds the error. You simply cannot know fully what you're talking about.

This doesn't make you a bad person. It just doesn't make you good enough to judge others. There are people in this world to whom honor and commitment mean a great deal. A marriage is the greatest commitment to those that hold those things dear.

I didn't get married because my parents were married. I didn't get married because my faith requires it. I got married because it is, day in and day out, immeasurably better. And that's just for me personally. That's not even getting into the benefits my children get from it or I do from my children with my spouse at my side.

Unfortunately, there are simply things that are extremely difficult to convey to someone that's not experienced them before and blog is one of the worst to attempt to do so. I pretty much said this upthread before we even got started. I find it puzzling that someone can be so deadset against something they really don't have any experience with. No amount of cultural osmosis is going to prepare you for dealing with your own situation, so its very difficult for someone on my end of things to sum it up for someone on yours.

Sofa King said...

Were your parents divorced? Widowed?

No, my parents are happily married. But I suspect that they would be happy together even without being married.

On the other hand, I also know people - good, honorable people - who were devastated by a marriage gone bad, stripped of everything they worked for and future chances at happiness because they were too honorable to break their oath to a person who wasn't. We live in a society that largely doesn't value honor and loyalty any more, and as such our institutions - including marriage - increasingly reflect that fact.

I mean, I get that things can work out really wonderfully, if you're really lucky. But...that doesn't make it a rational pursuit. Lots of young black men dream about making it into the NBA and having a really great life. Most of them will be lucky to avoid prison. A responsible person - even a successful NBA player - would, I think, advise them not to plan their futures on that contingency.

Sofa King said...

I will add that the majority of my generational cohort that I know are not married. Of those that are, about half wouldn't recommend it. Of those that were and aren't any more, all of them regret it and wish they hadn't.

Joe Schmoe said...

It's a commitment without much meaning any more.

If that were the case, gay marriage wouldn't be such a contentious issue.

Sofa King, you seem like a bright guy, and I have no problem with your choices in life. Not at all.

But, I think you objectively underestimate marriage. It is a powerful force. Most people want to be married, whether you want to be or not. Awhile ago we were discussing divorce in an Althouse thread, and it was noted that once you got beyond the 50% divorce rate of first marriages, reliable stats show that anywhere from 75% to 85% of those people get married again. Those marriages endure at a high rate of success as well. Divorce sucks, but the allure of a good marriage is very powerful. That's not just my opinion; it's borne out in the actions of most people in this country.

Sofa King said...

If that were the case, gay marriage wouldn't be such a contentious issue.

It largely isn't, among people who are not already married.

But, I think you objectively underestimate marriage. It is a powerful force.

The force it has is only what the participants imbue it with, and no more. Actually, I would say that the force it has is only the minimum value of what either participant imbues it with, since it must be bilaterally entered but can be unilaterally exited. But as such, that makes it no different than any other commitment between two people, by any other name.

In other words, (sorry Tom) marriage is like a sewer: what you get out of it depends entirely on what you put into it.

shirley elizabeth said...

I think one reason Sofa King can see no point to marriage is because many people today just give all of themselves away for free. When that is the case, there really IS no point to marriage. He also is probably deluded by what movies/TV shows have portrayed as couples "just growing apart," but are still great friends as divorcees. That doesn't really happen. One or both of them have broken their vows for the growing apart to happen.

On the ring discussion, when my husband and I decided to marry, we knew we would be really poor for a while, so I went with a relatively plain pearl ring. It was a heartbreak when I lost it a couple years later on a run. The stand-in ring is a few bands with little diamonds that we found at a greatly marked-down price. A huge diamond ring would be pretty, but it would not do much for our marriage.

Matthew said...

"Women who divorce are much more likely to end up in poverty than women who stay married."

-- Isn't that true for men too?

Divorce destroys more than love; it eats property wholesale as people need to find new places to live, downsize to affordable areas, etc., etc.

Divorce is bad for anyone's economic position, though I'm not sure if men are going to be in poverty from it, or just worse off.

WV: Kileg Igore -- this needs to be a super villain

Joe Schmoe said...

Well, I'd say the continued allure of marriage makes it more of a cultural force that goes beyond how individuals within the culture may feel about it. Marriage has been under siege for decades now, but even people ideologically inclined to post-modern views of established religious norms like marriage still want to get married. I'd say it goes beyond how you intellectually view it, but appeals to a more primal sense. The numbers bear out that it is more than just two people brainwashed into it by their church/parents/ethnicity. If that were the case, then people wouldn't be getting remarried at the rate that they are.

Scott M said...

Awhile ago we were discussing divorce in an Althouse thread, and it was noted that once you got beyond the 50% divorce rate of first marriages, reliable stats show that anywhere from 75% to 85% of those people get married again. Those marriages endure at a high rate of success as well.

This is something that is constantly overlooked when you hear the "more than half of all marriages end in divorce". That "all" is the key. It's a clue that the speaker/writer is being lazy and meant to say "first". The divorce rates for second marriages is extremely low when compared to firsts.

No, my parents are happily married. But I suspect that they would be happy together even without being married.

Have you asked them? Please do so. In fact, print them off and invite your parents to read your comments on this thread and have a meaningful discussion with them over a dinner of your choice. I would certainly read any post-mortem on that discussion.

I will add that the majority of my generational cohort that I know are not married. Of those that are, about half wouldn't recommend it. Of those that were and aren't any more, all of them regret it and wish they hadn't.

Appealing to an authority that doesn't exist doesn't bolster your argument. Are you talking twenties here? If so, that undercuts you even more given the extended childhood twentysomethings seem to be enjoying these days. Bear in mind that I've got a 21-year-old son in college, so I'm as well-versed at the opinions of his cohort as you are with the circles you run in.

It's highly unlikely that we're going to change your mind based on an internet blog thread and there's zero chance you're going to change ours. Here's hoping you find someone that you find you care about on a level you've never found yourself at before. Maybe a decade or so hence, you'll look back at your opinions from 2012 and realize what a fool you were.

Joe Schmoe said...

If studies show that reduced sexual interest and desire occur in marriage, I'd speculate that the same would occur with any non-married, long-term, live-in couple. Throw in some kids, and yeah; things definitely slow down, but the joy that comes with a family more than makes up for it.

Sofa King said...

Imagine a hypothetical society with no cultural institution of "marriage." Is it your contention that nobody would enter long-term committed relationships? Or that it would be meaningfully more difficult to do so?

Joe Schmoe said...

Hmmm. Good question. I can't think, off the top of my head, of a society with any recorded history where this was the case. Every society/culture that I can think of has had some sort of formal recognition and heirarchy of mating/pairing, whether polygamous, polyamorous, or monogamous.

So I guess my return question to you is, even as we evolved from cavemen, how is it that most, if not all, subsequent cultures established some sort of mating construct?

You seem to think that there is no marriage without a conscious, intellectual inclination; I say there's a much more visceral aspect that drives us to that inclination. Secular postmodernism actually relies on us using our intellect to override our impulses towards some sort of defined relationship that is recognized by the others in our 'tribe', for lack of a better word.

Freeman Hunt said...

Imagine a hypothetical society with no cultural institution of "marriage." Is it your contention that nobody would enter long-term committed relationships? Or that it would be meaningfully more difficult to do so?

My contention is that they would come up with it.

Note that there is no such society.

Again, making poetry of the primal.

Matthew said...

"Long-term committed relationships" sounds like marriage without the economic contract. Is the economic part of marriage the biggest reason people are shying away from it now?

Joe Schmoe said...

And if you do have a long-term, live-in girlfriend, Sofa King, make sure she isn't talking about marriage behind your back. You could fit the definition of common law marriage!

SukieTawdry said...

Well, it depends. How many carats?

Once upon a time, a jilted bride was legally entitled to a lot more than just the engagement ring.

Scott M said...

Once upon a time, a jilted bride was legally entitled to a lot more than just the engagement ring.

Yes, but once upon a time, the groom received a lot more than just the woman.

Sofa King said...

"Long-term committed relationships" sounds like marriage without the economic contract. Is the economic part of marriage the biggest reason people are shying away from it now?

And legal, I would say. Maybe that's the confusion here? I'm not arguing the futility of "marriage" in a general sense of family and long-term commitment. I'm arguing the futility of marriage the actual set of costs and benefits as it exists today in out society.

bagoh20 said...

I give every single girl I meet a ring just in case they turn out to be wonderful. As soon as I run out of ring money I'm gonna settle down.

Kirk Parker said...

Sofa,

None of the above. The relevance is you should consider you're speaking of something outside your experience.

Kirk Parker said...

"I mean, I get that things can work out really wonderfully, if you're really lucky. [emphasis added]"

Sure, there's of course the sense that you can't control the future. But that statement might also betray an ignorance of the fact that there's a lot you can do to bias things in you're favor, it's hardly just a matter of luck.