Gone are the days when the Catholic Church reigned supreme, when ending marriage was condemned by God and law.

Now, ending a marriage does not doom both parties to the fires of Hell. But a divorce does bring lawyers and their fees, an earthbound kind of hellfire. But what if there was a compromising approach?

One Redditor imagined a different scheme. Rather than a marriage deemed permanent until decided otherwise, they picture a scheme that somehow offers more freedom while tightening the screws. It's all a matter of perspective.

If all marriages were composed of short-term contracts that bind parties to that timeline, people might feel trapped, paranoid. But perhaps the open possibility of walking away after the relatively short life of the contract provides some ease.

After all, perpetuity has never jived well with the chaotic, evolving desires of human beings.

LGon007 asked, "If marriages were 5 to 10 year contracts with options to renew if both parties accept, how would the world be different?"

A Dystopian Vision

"It's a new nightmare. An entire industry rises up to create even more traditions for Renewal Celebrations, and now you have to attend ever more elaborate parties, destination Renewals, and even the more subdued homespun Renewals require at least buying a nice bottle of scotch."

"I probably couldn't afford to keep up with more than two friends at the rate of this particular scenario that's all entirely in my head."


The Bureaucratic Lens

"Happily married people would have to wait in a long annoying a** line every 10 years and it will put everyone in a bad mood."

"Marriage re-up officers will be rude and condescending because of all the dumba** general public they have to deal with everyday."



Logic Reapplied 

"Same as phones."

"I'm pretty happy with the one I have now, and even though new ones are thinner and better looking, I just can't justify the expense of switching."


Abuse is Already Against the Law...

"It may make it easier for abuse victims to get out of abusive marriages. Sometimes the process of a divorce is a big factor in why some people stay." - danitheteleportingst

"As if an expired document would keep control freaks out of your life." - Kimarous

Could be Many Five Year Deals...

"There would be less marriages. If you're going into it thinking 'this is a five year deal,' why even bother?" - ElectricalRule0

"Plenty of people get married for other reasons. Citizenship, pregnancy, benefits, arranged marriages, impulse, and so on." - WaxonJaxon

Ahead of Their Time

"My aunt and uncle have what they call 'The Meeting' every anniversary where they both have to agree to continue the marriage for another year. They eat good food, drink good beers, air some grievances, and in the end they both sign on for another year."


A New Pie to Take a Piece Of

"Even more things for lawyers to get involved in and charge you for." - jjwondor

"Lawyer here salivating and rubbing my hands together with a devilish grin." - kryptos19

The Law is the Law

"I think it would cause many people to try harder when it came to maintaining the relationship."

"When someone has promised to stay with you no matter what, through sickness and in health, until you die, it's really easy to get complacent."


Checking In is Healthy

"It might actually make people happier. If you both wanted to stay married then the faith and trust you have is reaffirmed. Some people might split who otherwise would not without the push this gives. So instead of staying together in misery they'd just move on."


Weighing Options, Hedging Bets

"Increased distrust, particularly toward the end of the contract, as both would suspect the other to be looking for new opportunities."

"Each would feel the other's distrust and invest less in their partner, fueling the relationship's down spiral."


That's One Way to Give Agency

"I would add a twist where the children every 10 years will be forced to participate in some type of Hunger Games or Battle Royale to determine if they're fit to continue as members of the family."

-- Knee_Jerk_Sydney

All Logistics

"Less stability. More cheating if people are already with one foot out the door. More child psychological issues. And a whole lot of asset problems." -- MrsCompootahScience

"People would also be much less willing to buy a house or have kids together if divorce was the 'default choice.' Your spouse could swear up and down that they'll sign the renewal document, but how can you be sure?" -- MisfitPotatoReborn

Short Term Contracts for all the Hedonists

"Petitions will be signed to reduce the number of years." -- justhorny000

"People would want to buy out their contracts early. The median duration of a marriage in America is 8 years." -- My_Dog_Rolls_In_Poo

We'd All Spend WAY More Time Flirting

"Marriage is like agriculture but for mating. It saves the time that would have been spent on looking for a mate and let's us focus on other things."

"5-10 years is too short of a span. It would probably mean less couples having kids and in general an increase in anxiety levels."

-- Samruddhi0890

The Opportunist Take

"Probably outlawed by most strands of Christianity and other religions."

"And super unlikely that it would ever exist as technically, marriage is a vow before the government."

"But me, a wedding photographer? Yeehaw $$$$$"

-- Graciey48

Aren't People Hedging Already?

"While a nice concept in principle, I suspect most people would find themselves hedging as the terms approached. So it would result in less marital stability and higher divorce rates."

-- risk_is_our_business

Outlining the Legitimate Beefs

"Communication between spouses would improve. As a lawyer friend of mine once said (in the context of a lease, but it still applies): contracts outline expectations."

"With the rise of semi-custom legal services (think LegalZoom), couples would have templates outlining the things they should discuss before marriage."

"Spouse getting fat, overusing substances, not going to the dentist, thinking about quitting their job, or spending too much time with their friends? Refer to the contract!"

-- futuresquid

Hot Drama During the Ramp-Up to Contract

"Celebrity news gossip would be even more rampant, another thing for them to speculate about every time a married couple's contract is about to be up."

-- Xelisyalias

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