Friday, March 05, 2010

temporary divorce, anyone?

Joceyln's O Mighty post about exploring temporary housing overseas, which may or may not have included a year long divorce, got me thinking uh oh, clear the room.

Yesterday I was reading Mother Jones magazine in my doctor's waiting room. How's that for a waiting room rag? That would not fly in 99.9% of Texas towns, now would it? Reason number 2033 Why I Love Living in Austin.

So in the new issue of Mother Jones I read Nadya Labi's article about the tradition in Iran of temporary marriages. Where a man and a woman can be married by a cleric for the express purpose of relieving their sexual (his) and financial (her) tensions.

Where a temporary marriage can last anywhere from one hour to 99-years.

Where a man is allowed four full-fledged wives and unlimited temporary wives. Where a woman is allowed one full-fledged husband and no temporary husbands but if she is unmarried or widowed, she is allowed one temporary husband at a time. No mas.

Where a man can choose to extend or cut short the temporary marriage, depending on his whim. Where the woman's only choice is to remain married until the end of the contract, i.e., wait and see what her temporary husband chooses to do.

Are we seeing a pattern here?

Where the temporary husbands get to brag to their business associates about how many temporary wives they have, while typically keeping it secret from their legitimate wives. Where the temporary wives don't dare tell a soul because it is considered undesirable and cheap.

Where women seeking temporary husbands can be found lingering outside a certain shrine, identified by their inside-out chadors.

Where we in these wicked United State think this sounds an awful lot like one of our infidel customs.

There was much debate presented about the fairness of these various arrangements. Widowed women with little or no financial options who appreciated a temporary marriage allowed them to earn money as opposed to starving or begging. Who preferred to obey only their temporary husband's sexual demands compared to full-fledged brides who must obey their husband's every demand. Who were glad they didn't have to live with the dude every single solitary day of their married lives.

Yes. I can see the benefits of temporary marriage. I surely can.

This idea plus Jocelyn's post got me thinking about temporary divorce. Where husband and wife live separately for a period of time decided upon by both parties. One hour or 99-years. Joint custody arrangement, of course. Alternating weeks of utter quiet, solitude, undisturbed blogging. No dinners, no dishes, no homework, no taxi-cab service, no policing of computer time.

Weeks of space where we marrieds get to see what life is like without each other. Of sleeping in the middle of the bed or on his side of the bed which you haven't slept on in 18-plus years because he is that determined to sleep on his side of the bed no matter where we are in this world.

Weeks of having full control of the remote. The luxury of changing back and forth between Judge Judy or Women's Lifetime Channel or Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D List or the tail end of a TMC movie because, yes, those last three minutes still make me cry. Without having to listen to his heavy sigh because you can't help it if he can't follow your random train of television viewing thought.

Weeks of no Dallas Cowboys Sunday afternoons. No San Antonio Spurs-only because-they're-in-the-playoffs week nights.

So hmmm, would the temporary divorce take place during the last part of football season when the playoff games go into infinity or during March madness when the tournament games go into infinity overtime?

But aside from the petty gains of a temporary divorce, perhaps something more substantial would take place. Maybe we would grow more appreciative of the many things we do for each other. We might focus more on how much we miss our temporarily divorced spouses than on how much we wish he would wipe the crumbs off the stove top. More on how nice it is to have someone to snuggle under the covers than how annoyed we are by the fact that he is in the bathroom at just the very same minute I need to be in there.

How about you, Reader? Any thoughts on temporary marriages and temporary divorces?


Magpie said...

Hmm. I can see benefits. On the other hand, I was delighted to be home alone in my house the other night from 7pm to 8pm - while the girl and the husband were out at something. That's all it takes, really. Just a bit of time alone.

Everyday Goddess said...

I once saw an embroidered pillow that said: No one needs a husband, everyone needs a wife.

Kinda true.

But I love my guy anyway.

snugglebug said...

I don't see a temporary divorce anywhere in my future, but I try not to use the word "never." As I am now and he is now, we won't be apart more than absolutely necessary.

slow panic said...

last summer my husband took the boys to the beach for five days and i had the house to myself. it. was. heaven. and i missed them too and was so glad to see them when they got back. but yeah, i like the idea of temporary separate living arrangements

Hallie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think a temporary divorce every now and again is heaven. In my house they are called business trips.

Jason, as himself said...

Yes, it does sound appealing now and then. Just a little break that means nothing other than just a break.

I read Little Children, and loved it. The movie was also very good.

But many broken marriages. So this temporary thing just may fix that!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'd never heard of that temporary marriage custom. A one-hour marriage? That certainly sounds like a "loophole"....

shrink on the couch said...

magpie -- that's right. sometimes it just takes a quiet house. in fact, I might like to sample that WITH my husband, for a change : )

cheri -- temporary lobotomy! an even better proposal. to tune out and not react for whatever time period I choose? a vacation from my own emotions? sign me up!

goddess -- yup. everyone needs a wife. I'm lucky that my husband acts a lot like my wife sometimes. I'm sure by day two of my temporary divorce I would be feeling divorcee lament.

snugglebug -- give it time, give it time ; )

slow panic -- so you have already experienced a 5-day divorce, then? and see? you LIKED it! :D

jenn -- I suppose this post is the long winded way of saying I'm suffering from Business Trip Envy.

jason -- I keep meaning to put Little Children in my Netflix queue. Glad to hear you liked the movie. I loved, loved, loved the first chapter, I think it was, on the playground.

rachel -- yes! a loophole is a good way of putting it.

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh gosh yes, I am sure many of the break-ups that occur are because people do not give each other enough space. In the old days, in the UK, husbands and wives spent very little time together. These days people seem to lose their individuality a lot of the time by trying to be a real solid partnership where everyone pulls their weight. That's good in many ways but claustrophobic in others.

My ideal relationship would be one where I spent two nights with someone and 1 night apart and one weekend in three on my own. At the moment Sandra and I are apart too much and that is not great but I really don't want to get to the state where we have no time to ourselves. Yikes no! That would be awful.

I am not, as you know, a couples person, I like to see my friends on their own so they can be themselves.

Jennifer S said...

If I were hitched, I'd be all in favor of the temporary divorce. Whether it's a weekend, or a week...I love a quiet house and doing as I please.

Kathleen Scott said...

Or just get a second TV and a spare bedroom?

Every partnership has minor irritants. My husband says my occasional snoring (I'm sure he meant gentle sighs in sleep) just reassure him that his beloved is with him. But when his buzzsaw wakes me up, I sometimes see the dawn. No amount of thankfulness takes the place of sleep...

But I can't imagine living without him.

Elizabeth said...

I've always advocated the separate bedroom thing -- it's just so much more civilized.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Woooooowww... so much going through my head here. I really think it would save a lot of relationships to have a temporary divorce.

When we were married almost 20 years ago, I really never thought that I'd want to be apart from him for a day. But now... I love him, but there are days when I really would just like to not deal with some of his habits :)

This idea has merit for sure!

GREAT post, very thought provoking.

Tammy said...

Great post! I love the idea of temporary divorce, not just from him, but the whole family... It's amazing what an afternoon alone does for my mood. When my kids were little my husband would ask what I wanted for Mother's Day and I'd say time alone at home, undisturbed. He would take the kids to his mom's house for a few hours, it was a win, win for everyone!

blognut said...

Hmmm... there are days. :)

bernthis said...

For me mine would have ended in divorce for sure but not a bad idea I think.

Susan said...

I think I would do much better in a temporary divorce than he would, 'tho I suspect he thinks differently.

dkuroiwa said...

I'm at the point right now where I don't really care what you call it....I WANT SOME TIME ALONE!! and by "alone" I do NOT mean here at the house while boys come running in and out all day long!! I'd like to be able to watch something on tv without someone coming in ("someone"=any of the 3 males in my house)and asking me, AS I AM SITTING IN FRONT OF THE TV, if I'm watching what is on right now.
Oh my...better not open up THAT vent, we may never get it closed again!!
temporary divorce? sign me up!!

FYI...when I first came to Japan, I heard about "in house divorce"....where there was an actual divorce but because of money and house and children, mom and dad basically led completely seperate lives...but under the same roof. one of my friends said that her mom and dad had lived like that for a few years and all was good.