legislating the seven-year itch

As I’m buried under work, I wasn’t going to post anything today, but I just saw this headline on Yahoo and thought it might make for an interesting weekend discussion:

Glamorous politician wants law to allow 7-year itch

For those who aren’t familiar with the term (or the classic film–you know, the one in which Marilyn Monroe stands over the subway grate and gets her white halter dress blown back up at her?), this refers to the belief that the inclination to be unfaithful increases after seven years of marriage.

Generally it’s come to mean that a lot of couples come to a crossroads at that seven year mark, and indeed, this follows through even when one considers other life changes, such as moving to a new country. I’ve read that it takes an expat about seven years to really feel at home in a new country–or decide to leave forever–so there seems to be something to that particular number of years.

Anyway, Gabriele Pauli, Bavaria’s most glamorous politician according to the article above, wants to make marriage a true social contract in Germany–one with a seven year expiration. At that point, she proposes, couples would have the option to extend the marriage or otherwise it would dissolve automatically under the law.

(Too bad there still wouldn’t be any money-back guarantees! Hah!)

Obviously such a proposal wouldn’t change religious rites regarding marriage so couples would continue to be married in that respect after the seven years passed; such a law would only affect a couple’s civil status.

There would surely have to be more details ironed out, such as how would it work if one party wants to renew and the other doesn’t? Would prenuptial agreements then become required/heavily encouraged–if there will be a split after seven years, surely there should be some sort of provisions for assets and most importantly, future/current children?

What other factors would need to be considered?

Do you think this would make leaving a marriage easier if one could just hold out those seven years? Or wouldn’t it make any difference in the “divorce” rate at all?

Would you be in favor of such a proposal?

Make some arguments you believe in or just play Devil’s Advocate–I only ask that you keep it all respectful.

Come on! I’ll be reading.


[tags]seven year itch, legislation, marriage, divorce[/tags]

46 Beans of Wisdom to “legislating the seven-year itch”
  1. Figs Olives Wine

    Wow. It’s awfully cynical, isn’t it? I don’t think it would affect the divorce rate one way or another – some people take marriage more seriously than others, and some marriages can work while others can’t. But I personally wouldn’t have wanted to take my vows with a 7 year window in mind. Getting married is a tremendously optimistic thing after all!

  2. Giulia

    I think it’s ridiculous, plain and simple!

  3. sognatrice

    Amanda, I don’t know if it’s cynical or realistic–the stats on marriages lasting much longer than 7 years these days don’t seem pretty (although I haven’t researched this personally so I have no real numbers).

    I don’t think, though, that couples would necessarily have that 7 year number in mind when getting married–remember this has nothing to do with the religious ceremony. Could be nothing more than like getting your driver’s license renewed every X number of years….

    But this does remind me of the arguments against getting prenuptial agreements. “It’s just so unromantic!” the argument goes.

    Giulia, it’s too bad you’re not in Germany to vote against this! Can’t imagine something like this every going very far in Italy (who knows if it’ll even get much further in Germany).

  4. Judith in Umbria

    The Seven Year Itch was about a summer bachelor letting himself be fascinated by a woman he would never ever marry. You can’t legislate that. It happens sometime to almost everybody. It isn’t about wrecking a family on schedule. That’s just an awful idea.

    Imagine in the land of PdiS trying to re-up a marriage. No dice.

  5. Texas Espresso

    I don’t like it. In theory, I understand it but don’t agree.

    Maybe the 7yr thing is real (oops I just had #6!) but frankly, if you are serious enough to get married you should seriously work through those 7-yr issues and not just let it dissolve. Because honestly, some days its hard to find the energy or will to work thru it. and others its not – does that make sense?

    I understand the civil/religious “difference” but a wedding is a legal civil bond whether you have the religious aspect or not. Maybe the divorce rate would go down simply because couples would just wait out the 7 yrs instead of paying for the divorce. ::shrug::

    And what if you simply miss your 7 yr deadline, then you aren’t legally married anymore and you have to go through the expenses of another civil union?

    Personaly, I don’t want to renew my marriage. Not getting divorced is enough of a renewal.

  6. JennieBoo

    BTW, I have an award for you over on my blog. It’ll be up in a sec.

    Run go and get it, you deserving blogger you!

  7. Piccola

    It amazes me how there is so much focus on marriage, after-the-fact. Why not focus on before. Make it a requirement that the couple go through so many months of couples therapy. Marriage is a life-long commitment and going into it with an “I can always exit stage left” attitude if it doesn’t work, is just plain ‘ole immature. It’s doomed before it even begins. If you can’t commit, then you just shouldn’t do it. I’m the product of a broken marriage and I can tell you that it was so hard to see the other kids with their Mom AND Dad. I understood from the time I was 8 years old that marriage is a serious thing and I knew then that I didn’t want that for my children (when I have them). I think this politicians proposal is asinine and maybe her way of admitting that she has a problem with committing to one person.

  8. Gina

    Hmmm…interesting. I could not support legislation like this. Doesn’t this type of thinking diminish the value of human beings and their capability to love one another? I just think that boiling a marriage down to a “seven-year contract,” that you have to renew (with fees involved, I’m sure) is just an excuse to justify the growing trend of throw-away commitments. It seems that in the last 20 years or so there is no commitment, contract, court order, law, etc. that can’t be wriggled out of, if it’s suddenly inconvenient for someone to be burdened by it. Why must an ancient, uniquely human condition, love, be subject to the triflings of a modern whim? Do we really want to become a world society that accepts “flavor-of-the-month” fickleness as the norm? It really just makes me sad. Nothing gold ever stays, indeed.

  9. Madelyne

    Truthfully I was only young when I got married & I got the 7 year itch & I think if things were easy to walk away from I may have. I’m glad now I stuck it out. I think its wrong to get married with the view that its not forever.

  10. janey wan

    Interesting concept.

    I’ve been married 28 years, several of which, if I had had an easy out like this politician is purposing, gee… I wonder if I’d still be married. lol Probably not I’d just be single.

    My philosophy on marriage, is one that if you aren’t in an abusive relationship, might as well stick with the first one or stay single. It’s mostly about learning about oneself not about forcing the other into what you want them to be.

  11. Sara

    ha ha ha ha ha

    I think it’s silly. I also think it would make things even more complicated than they already are, and that people don’t need this in their lives.

    Proposing it certainly is a funny way to get people to think about what marriage is though. Since in this country we are currently arguing about this very question — what marriage is — in order to determine who should or should not be allowed to have it, I have to say that I kind of love Ms. Bavarian Glamourpuss just for that.

    Social contract? Tool of the patriarchy? Loving partnership? Religious bond?

    No, what is it really?

    ha ha ha ha ha

  12. Dewey

    Hmm, having just celebrated my 6th anniversary and the 6th anniversary of my husband immigrating to my country, this post makes me nervous! Hopefully a year from now we won’t be having any upheavals in either area!

  13. nyc/caribbean ragazza

    This is one of the dumbest law proposals I have ever heard of. What would happen if one person wants to renew and the other one doesn’t? What about the kids…should we have an expiration date for them too? This woman is tripping.

    That said I don’t have a problem with pre-nups. If you get married when you are older and you live in the United States where the divorce rate is over 50 percent it make sense to get one.

    If you are 24 and have no family property and/or inheritance I don’t get why you would need a pre-nup. You are building your future together and if you divorce it should be 50/50.

    Seriously, people need to focus less on the wedding day and think more about the marriage instead. Maybe then the divorce rate would stabilize.

  14. Tina

    All I could think was this:

    GAAAAAAAAAAAH! More bureaucracy?!

    I’m just trying to imagine this in Italia… oh man… people would suddenly not be married anymore because someone in the comune was on vacation and didn’t file the “continue marriage” papers.

    I say NO thank you πŸ˜‰

  15. Tina

    P.S. Marriage is FAMILY. Not just a civil status…. I think too many people (in particular this politician) forget that when you get married, you are becoming family.
    When I’m mad at my mom, we don’t get divorced and stop being mother and daughter. We work through it because we are family. I look at marriage the same way. πŸ™‚

  16. Gil

    I think the nut has a side business catering to weddings.

  17. sognatrice

    Ooh, I just love all the comments here–particularly that so many started with “Hmmmm” and the like.

    And I agree with you Sara–this is an interesting way to get people thinking about what marriage really is and what it should be. I don’t know that there’s a universal answer, though, to that question.

    Does marriage really have to mean the same thing to everyone? I like the comparison between the mother and daughter relationship–but you know what? That certainly doesn’t mean the same for everyone either and people *do* essentially divorce from other members of their families (although few actually go through legal proceedings to do so).

    Piccola’s comment has me thinking about pre-marriage training so to speak. If we think that’s a good idea, what would be so wrong about, say, a 7-year refresher course (aside from the legal contract idea proposed in Germany).

    For me personally, those kind of things are a little too much government involvement, but I don’t see why various religions couldn’t institute them (like I know the Catholic faith already does pre-marriage) if they are truly concerned with the state of marriage.

    I also think it’s interesting that quite a few people immediately look to the negative side–how so many marriages would likely end if this were in place (and how some of you questioned whether you’d have stayed married).

    Why is this such a bad thing to you? I know at least one person mentioned coming from a broken home. I did too, and it’s the best decision my mom ever made (other than to try to conceive me of course ;)). My childhood would’ve been *miserable* had she stayed with my dad, but that’s just my situation and it doesn’t always work that way, of course, but isn’t life too short to be miserable? Should one bad decision (marrying the wrong person, for example) condone you to a life sentence?

    Why not look at the positive side of the legislations? Maybe this could provide a goal to work towards for our instant gratification soceity–maybe if some couples saw that 7 year window in sight, then were forced to re-evaluate, they could see that they *do* want to work it out, that it’s worth it. Maybe otherwise they would’ve just let the relationship slip away b/c there really is no deadline.

    But I definitely love how a few of you brought up the bureaucratic end (with fees!) and especially concerning Italy. That would just be a nightmare plain and simple. Of course fewer people are getting married in Italy all the time–I’m sure this wouldn’t push people into taking the plunge knowing they’d have to encounter more red tape in 7 years….

    I’m just typing out loud here, playing the other side a bit, but I think it’s good to get other ideas out there. I’m a Libra, after all, so I like looking at all sides of everything πŸ˜‰

    JennieBoo, thanks!

    And Gil, I think you may be on to something….

  18. odessa

    its an awful proposal. if you have an expiration date in mind coming to a marriage, then why get married at all?

  19. Wanderlust Scarlett

    Sorry… I’m rather traditional when it comes to things like this.
    If you say you are going to spend the rest of your life with someone then do it unless you reach a point where it’s unsafe or the partnership has become a hollow shell in which neither party wants to remain. Then divorce as a last resort, but this?
    The 7 year itch law?
    I am disgusted and horrified.
    I absolutely believe that this endeavor of hers is a sign of the times, and it’s not a good one.

    One of my favorite things to see is two older people walking down the street slowly, holding hands, holding hearts… two who have seen and done it all together and never gave up on each other, even in the rough spots.

    That’s a marriage.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  20. qualcosa di bello

    undermining, cynical, missing the whole point of commitment…are just a few things that come to mind.

    geesh, what about the children (& the stability that they so desperately need in life)??

  21. Meg

    I should say I’ve been married 12 years, and side with the traditionalists here.

    I think a law of that sort amounts to encouraging people to end marriages through inertia. While I don’t believe, at all, that someone should stay married Just Because They’re Supposed To, I do think that ending a marriage should be a conscious, active decision. Divorce is a process (not perfect, to be sure) that presents married people with a good choice for severing a bond that, for whatever reason, isn’t working (and I think no-fault is a good thing to have). Simply letting the clock run down and requiring people to renew their license seems… well, a cynical, and rather depressing view on the nature of human love and family bonds. Automatically defaulting to divorce strikes me, at heart, as the wrong thing to do.

    On the other hand, you COULD say that requiring an active renewal would get couples to really consider why they’re together, and whether they’re happy in the life they’ve created together. But… it doesn’t feel that way to me.

  22. Jeni

    Well, legally, my marriage outlasted the seven-year contract – by one whole year but technically, it was over well before the seven year period was up. But, even so, I don’t think marriage should be purely a “contractual” thing – no incentive in that in my opinion.

  23. Rob

    I once read a book – fiction – where couples had contracts of varying duration for the purpose of producing children, with the children being formally declared the heir of the one or other parent, never both. These contracts could be permanent if the couple chose, or merely temporary (long enough to produce a child) and then they separate, though there are financial responsibilities that continue.

    Now, I guess I would be alone in sanctioning such a view. Relationships are changing in the Western world, with many more couples now choosing to live together than to get married (here in Europe at any rate). Also, the failure rate of marriage is increasing (some 100 000 in Ireland alone since divorce became legal).

    Maybe more liberal ‘relationship contracts’ are the way to go…would take a lot of thought though to get it right.

  24. Mallow

    Ack! So much to say! I have never been married, and don’t plan to marry (for too many reasons to list here.) But I do feel that marriage is a religious concept that the government shouldn’t be involved with in the first place. The government should stick to civil unions, and let religious institutions take care of the rest. Regarding this proposal, I guess it feels irrelevant? Having that “out” at 7 years shouldn’t really influence a couple’s original commitment, especially if they genuinely value “marriage”…

  25. Gina

    Also? It’s almost like punishing the people that choose to stay together! Why should the folks who decide to stay in their marriages be the ones that have to fill out the paperwork for the “renewal?” Shouldn’t it be the other way around? If you don’t want to change your situation, why should you have to fill out forms? Shouldn’t the people that are splitting up file papers because they are making that change?

    But then…isn’t that what divorce is?

    Nobody should stay in any relationship if it is hurtful in any way. I was raised Roman Catholic, but I put little (if any) effort into maintaining the religion in my life. So for me, this has nothing to do with religion or marriage vows as seen by my religion.

    Having problems? Try to work it out. Problems too bad for that? Get a divorce, people. It’s as easy as that.

    It seems that having the knowledge that you can dissolve your marriage in 7 years is just setting people up for failure. Instead of working to beat the odds of divorce, this type of legislation assumes that you won’t make it.

    I completely agree with the person who said that this was cynical. It is. In a nutshell, that’s what it is. This politician had a couple of bad marriages and now has a warped view of relationships.

  26. mamacita chilena

    To me the whole seven year thing seems totally pointless. I mean, I’m pretty sure most people make their commitment in the eyes of God or Buddha or Allah or whomever they choose to believe in…I don’t think they care about what the government thinks of their marriage.

    Maybe this will encourage a few schmuts to get married when they probably shouldn’t. Maybe it will force some marriages to stay together longer because they wouldn’t want to be seen as falling prey to the seven year curse.

    If it were my country it wouldn’t matter one way or another to me. Then again, I live in Chile. We’re way behind the times…they just made divorce legal like two years ago. Last country in the world to do so. So what do I know?

  27. sognatrice

    Lots of traditionalists here, I see, and I would call myself one too–I believe marriage is big decision and that you make it once and do whatever you can to make it work.

    I suppose I’m just missing why having to renew it after a certain number of years would threaten those beliefs on a personal level (Mamacita, as you commented, I was typing this, and I think you’re thinking something similar). It certainly wouldn’t change my view of what I personally feel marriage is (like Gina, I was raised Catholic, but that has little to nothing to do with my marriage beliefs or with my upcoming (someday!) marriage).

    So, in turn, I have to believe that those people who would be banking on that 7 year expiration date weren’t really taking marriage seriously as a lifetime commitment in the first place.

    A lot of what’s written here reminds me of the arguments against legalizing divorce, and then against legalizing no-fault divorce in some states?: “If we make it easy to divorce, no one will get married!”

    As Rob said, fewer people are getting married (at least in Europe–anyone have US stats?), and I think we need to look at the *effects* of that and not just have the knee-jerk reaction that it’s just wrong. Is it really harming children (the most important question, IMHO)? How? Are there ways that we can help that (aside from forcing people to stay together of course)?

    Yes, children need stability and structure, but to me, if a piece of paper is what’s keeping someone in marriage, I’m not so sure how stable that is anyway (I’m big on “appearance vs. reality”). On the other hand, if it’s your *vows* that are keeping you in a marriage as it should be, that’s a completely different story–and a 7-year civil expiration date wouldn’t affect that.

    Or a bigger question–does government policy change minds? Did the Civil Rights Act in America make people less racist? Of course there must be laws against discrimination and the like because it is unacceptable in a civilized society that a government encourages/supports/takes part in discrimination–but I’ve heard a lot of people argue that this meant that racism then went under the table, and it became actually more difficult to know “who was against you” so to speak.

    Discrimination doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion at hand other than my question as to whether government legislation really influences behavior. *Tax* legislation certainly does, but law governing the social structure? I’m not so sure.

    And I’m not sure it’s such a good idea either way…which leads me to Mallow’s thought that the government should get out of the marriage/civil union business all together; I’d be all for that as it just adds bureaucracy to something that should be personal and individual, but that’s an even more radical proposal that would never fly–and people would never be able to sort out the financial implications of a separation without the courts and laws these days. Sad but true.

    I do see your point, though, Gina, about having to renew being like being punished–but I think if you look at it like a driver’s license…it’s a privilege, not a right. And I think we all can agree that having your civil union recognized by the state is indeed a privilege and not a right as we’re not *all* entitled to it.

    I love Meg’s point that ending a marriage shouldn’t be something passive–and I think that could be worked into a 7-year expiration date as well. Mandatory counseling of some sort before marriage dissolution? Of course then we’d be adding more layers of bureaucracy (I’m not a fan of that, especially in Italy), but like Rob said, working all this stuff out would take *a lot* of work.

    Maybe it’s because of my legal training, but I see the legal aspects of marriage and what it actually means to a given individual as two totally different things. There is something very special, romantic, and moving about exchanging vows with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with in front of some of your closest family and friends; going to city hall with proof of who you are and where you came from to get a marriage license, on the other hand, is merely a necessary evil made that way because the government said so.

    And if the government wants to change the rules, well, they do that all the time anyway.

    Rob, I’d love to read that book if you can think of the name/author. I agree with a lot of what you wrote–the world is changing, and obviously what we’ve been doing isn’t working in so far as keeping a social fabric together. It seems that (if we can believe all the statistics thrown at us) the rates of everything bad are going up and the rates of everything good are going down.

    I’m certainly not saying that a 7-year expiration date on (heterosexual) civil unions would solve the world’s problems (and I’m not saying that I even agree with it), but I do like the fact that this woman (bitter perhaps, but is she really alone in that?) has us thinking about different ways of coming at the problems–the way we’ve been approaching them up until now hasn’t been wildly successful, so maybe it’s time to get a little more creative.

    And you have to admit, she *is* creative πŸ˜‰

    Thanks so much for all your comments! Keep ’em coming πŸ™‚

  28. Leanne

    Why would you bother to get married? Why not just ‘date’ or live or whatever with someone for the 7 years. That would make life a lot more simple for those who enter the marriage thinking that it is only for 7 years. !

  29. sognatrice

    Leanne, I think there are a lot of reasons to still get married–religious reasons for some, making a lifetime commitment to the one you love and declaring it to the world, certain tax benefits, etc.

    Honestly, if one is getting married simply for the piece of paper from the state saying they’re married forever and ever, I really don’t see why *that* is worth it (other than tax benefits). To me, there should be bigger, more personal and emotional reasons to want to enter into such a union.

  30. Ali

    Too bad my grandmother is not alive to hear about this.

  31. -Suzie-


    This is funny. I have not read about this idea yet (I am German in China). How can she dare to propose something like that and hope to get elected? That is too much rebel like.

    Anyway, this Saturday, my DH and I, we are going to celebrate our 7th anniversary. I thought the 7th itch is over, because we are entering the 8th year of marriage. Mmmh, maybe I should still watch out πŸ˜‰

    I emailed him the yahoo news and asked him: should we extend? Please check YES or NO

    In case he checks NO, I will come back to you…

  32. sognatrice

    Ali, I’m not sure how to take your comment, although now you have me thinking about my grandmothers (both deceased) and had this been the law when they were young.

    On my father’s side, the grandmother I knew much better, I think she’d probably still have stuck around after 7 years, thought about leaving after 14, and almost definitely have been gone at year 21. Either that or my grandfather would’ve had to do some major shaping up. As it was, when he died, they had been married, mostly *really really* unhappily, for 56 years.

    On the other side, my grandmother and grandfather *did* get divorced after 20 or so years of marriage, so I suppose that was just a matter of time too.

    Also interesting to think about how this would’ve worked with my parents (who were divorced after 9 years of marriage)–at year seven, I was *just* born. Phew!

    Suzie, that’s hilarious–hope your husband checks the right box!!!

  33. MΓ©lanie

    What a funny contract ! Actually it doesn’t make me laugh . It is ridiculous !

  34. Taffiny


    I think it could actually be good for marriage, it is terribly romantic to stay together forever, but also, we do on average ive a long time, and it is a long time to stay with someone, when you change and grow over the years. But you are supposed to be together no matter what. I think that is beautiful but not necessarily realistic. How many things in your life can you commit to for life? Friends, careers, hobbies, places you live, the color of a room, things change and evolve and grow over the years.

    I don’t think it should automatically default to divorce though, that would be weird. And 7 years seems a bit short, 20 sounds more reasonable. Because it will be hard when the kids are little, and no one is sleeping, but you really need to hang in there at that time, and help each other, not jump ship. Otherwise men will just be going off on other adventures, and women will be working inside and outside the home 24/7.

    That said, I am a child of divorce and think it was a good thing. My dad took a different turn in life and became a different person than the one my mom married. (He believed TV, radio, and the general lifestyle they had shared together was now evil). They just weren’t the same people.

    I don’t think divorce has to hurt children (their marriage was much rougher than the divorce. They were very angry together), but I think children often feel lost. I think parents should make contracts to the kids, promises, so they know they aren’t being divorced. No one is leaving them. I found the starting of new families and remarriage to be the hard part for us (it is like your parents start new lives and you are left over bits from some previous discarded one, but I do not think it needs to feel that way.) I think the stigma is part of the problem for men, the failing of the first marriage, they seem to move on and start over, and not know how to be part of that original relationship. I do believe though that this could be changed. (and of course is not true of all men, just mine, and all of my friend’s dads)

    I think marriage should stay (as it is a most beautiful option, wonderful when realized well. Work, but worthwhile work), but that there should also be other options, other types of unions, sanctified by God and society, commited but that maybe don’t have to last 60 years. (ideas, 5-10-15-20-25-30). My husband and I have been married for 14 1/2 years, and have been together for 19 1/2. Usually I am grateful that we have worked it out, have stayed together, have each other in this world. But sometimes I wonder if we would have grown more as people, and would lead more vibrant lives, if we would have made other choices.

    But then I didn’t marry because I was in love. I didn’t marry because I was sure, and knew I wanted to live the rest of my life with this man. We cared about each other, were comfortable together, and though tried to break up several times over the years, always ended up back together again. Our story is still a love story but it isn’t the romantic kind of great passion. And sometimes that is fine with me, and sometimes I wonder if we would be happier if we had sought for passsion over companionship. He is a good man and deserves to be loved in a way I seem unable to feel for him.

    So there are all different kinds of marriages, and I think it would be interesting if there were more options, other options for unions in this world. All or nothing, forever or you’ve failed, seems extreme to me. That said I do not stay because I would consider divorce failing. I stay because I am content where I am, we are a family, and we are not at all done with our journey together. While I have no plans for leaving, not today, not tomorrow, not 5 years from now, I do not know if it will last forever. I do not know if it should last forever. But it certainly is worth trying for.

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  36. qualcosa di bello

    when i mentioned children & stability, i was not referring to what the parents would actually do, but rather what a child who attains the age of understanding these things would think regarding his/her parents – even if they are in a wonderful marriage.

    how would the knowledge of this “seven year opt out potential” affect the thinking on the part of the child…

    my parents remained married until death & yet i still remember a small piece of worry when they had one of their very rare “big” fights. how much more would i have worried, if this type of thing would have been possible & i had knowledge of it.

    i still stand behind not destablizing a child’s world any more than truly necessary & what is already unstable in our world. (& i am not advocating a “stay together for the children” sentiment here…i have seen plenty of situations where *that* would be anything but stable). i’m just referring to a general sense of well-being.

  37. SabineM

    Oh My! That is insane!
    Plus what if your “7-year itch” happens at 6 1/2 years or 9 years!
    Why even bother getting married if you have a 7 year window….
    My god with everything going on in this world, why are politician wasting time on this issue!??!

    PS been married 15 years this year. So that means I have gone through two 7 year itches! πŸ˜‰ It hasn’t always been a pic nic, but we took our marriage vows seriously and we worked through them! Ups and Downs is what it is about. And if you have an out, then why bother!

  38. somepinkflowers


    what, what?

    **ALL** my marriages
    last longer than 7 years!


    just joking…

  39. Karina

    My initial reaction when I heard about the proposal to this law was “well,that’s a cop-out if I’ve ever heard one”. Afer reading a little more about it, and also reading the wonderful comments in response to this post, I have to say, my reaction has not changed.

    Like you said, much like the “prenups taking the romance out of it” thing, I’m a firm believer that one does not enter into marriage with a “plan b”. This may be why I’m still single at 32. For me, I hope to get married ONCE and only once. I understand things beyond our control can happen, and I don’t have any issues with someone getting married a second time if the first didn’t work out, but I guess I’m a romantic at heart and want to believe that marriage is forever. A law like this, to me, makes a mockery out of he whole institution of marriage.

  40. sognatrice

    Taffiny, wow. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into this, and I see that you can see a lot of different sides to the issue as well. Thank you so much for sharing your experience as a child and also as a married woman; our personal experiences obviously play huge roles in how we feel about issues, especially these so closely related to family structure.

    Reading all these different experiences really does make one consider that “marriage” just isn’t the same for everyone, and maybe the one size fits all approach isn’t what’s best for our greater happiness. Also makes me consider more Karina’s “institution of marriage” comment, and what that means….

    Qualcosa, hmm, I’m not so sure it would make a difference. In a happy (content, working, whatever) marriage, a 7-year renewal would be just that–a trip to the marriage equivalent of the DMV (aaah!) to get a new stamp or something. If parents are telling their children, “we’re together forever and there’s nothing that will change that,” why wouldn’t a child feel just as secure even with a renewal procedure in place?

    In any event, the reality is always the same–there *are* no guarantees, and I think kids feel *that* (some to a greater extent than others) no matter what a law says. If kids are in a loving, happy home, I don’t think they’ll sit around thinking about their parents divorcing *or* not renewing–and the opposite is probably true too, but I don’t see the difference the proposed law would make in those perceptions.

    SPF, you’re too funny πŸ™‚

    And Shameless, I’m on it!

    Thanks again to all who commented; you have made this a wonderful, lively discussion on a touchy subject without things getting ugly–yeah!

    I don’t mean to end the discussion here, of course, so if you have more to say, just type it πŸ™‚

  41. Shelley - At Home in Rome

    Late on the discussion here, but just wanted to say that I find it really interesting that you mention that it normally takes an expat 7 years to know whether he or she wants to stay or leave a country… it’s a coincidence because just this morning I posted a semi-rant about Rome questioning whether or not there exists a sort of seven-year itch for expats. On the brink of year seven, I can say that I am really feeling it!!

  42. sognatrice

    Shelley, that’s too funny–guess the itch is in the air. Ew πŸ˜‰

  43. Taffiny

    well yeah ( I know I went on dreadfully long), but I do spend time trying to figure out what marriage is, and what it is supposed to be, and what mine is, and whether or not it should be something else. I have differing ideas about marriage from different sources (family, media, church, books, experience), and I try to weave them together into some form. So I can see it. When I am cooking I like pictures, to know what I am aiming for, what I want. How it should look, feel, taste, and then how to tweak the recipe so it works best for my family….(oh dear going on again, so I shall stop)
    I find marriage intersting-
    I have now walked more years on this earth with my husband than I have apart from him. There is more of the I as a we than the I as a me.
    Marriage-You meet someone, an unknown, a stranger, get to know him, and then decide to spend the rest of your life with him. You pick each other out of a great sea of people. And decide your journey will from now on, for forever be, together. What an odd, beautiful, crazy, fantastic, thing to decide to do.
    (ugh I need verbal pepto)

  44. sognatrice

    Taffiny, whatever you do, DON’T take that verbal Pepto! And come here as often as you can πŸ™‚

    I love your thoughts on marriage, that you think about it so much, and your cooking analogy–and I can very much relate. I think that, for better or worse, those of us who come from divorced parents are forced to think about what marriage really is–not to say that two parent children don’t, but it seems to me to be similar to the difficulty of raising children to appreciate the things you’ve worked hard to provide–two lower middle class parents who have worked their way up to upper middle class, and then are trying to instill a work ethic/appreciation in their kids when the kids really don’t “want” for anything. It’s not an easy road, certainly not impossible, but it does take some careful consideration and planned actions, IMHO.

    It’s not an exact analogy, but for me personally, I know it’s why I think so much about this stuff and constantly work at my own relationship–trying to nip problems in the bud, communicating as clearly as possible, etc. I can’t speak for all kids of divorce, but this is how it’s worked out for me (and many of my friends with divorced/separated parents).

    Thanks again for your thoughts Taffiny; they are very much appreciated πŸ™‚

  45. Taffiny

    Thanks for being so kind.

    The pepto color is pretty but I would rather not take it, as I don’t care for the taste.

  46. sognatrice

    Taffiny, hah–you and my mom! She *really* hates the taste of Pepto; I only mildly dislike it, but wouldn’t ever choose to drink it, of course πŸ˜‰

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake