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Should everyone wish to get married?

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Typically a promise to love leads to sharing of material assets, and in those cases one would likely not find oneself exempt from ones obligations just because one no longer feels love for their partner. 

 

What obligation? You seem to be saying the obligation is to "remain in love".

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What obligation? You seem to be saying the obligation is to "remain in love".

 

More like honor ones obligation to act consistently with regard to the love once professed.  One concrete example would be not to commit adultery while pretending to remain in love with ones spouse; or to have ones cake and eat it too.  If one no longer loves the person one has made a commitment to, one is ethically bound to at least not pretend to love them in order to retain the benefits of the relationship dishonestly.

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softwareNerd & splitprimary,

 

Verbal agreements such as promises to love can become legally binding when certain conditions are met.  Typically a promise to love leads to sharing of material assets, and in those cases one would likely not find oneself exempt from ones obligations just because one no longer feels love for their partner.  That is consistent with Ayn Rand's description of man as a contractual animal, and supported by legal concepts historically, and more recently as in common law interpretations.

Yes, of course verbal contracts should be just as binding as written ones. That's besides the point here. Even if you write out an agreement to love and cherish, and have it notarized, it is not a contract that can be upheld in any rational court of law. 

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More like honor ones obligation to act consistently with regard to the love once professed.  One concrete example would be not to commit adultery while pretending to remain in love with ones spouse; or to have ones cake and eat it too. 

Any others? Does the extent of obligation extend past a promise of no adultery?

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Any others? Does the extent of obligation extend past a promise of no adultery?

 

That would depend on the individuals involved, and in some cases adultery might not be so much of an issue.  The point is whatever obligations were established as a result of intending to live together ought to remain in effect until both parties agreed to separate, i.e., agree to get in, agree to get out.  Primarily it's an issue of maintaining respect for someone who was considered worthy of that respect, as opposed to behaving unethically towards someone whose only fault is to no longer be the object of ones desire.

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That would depend on the individuals involved, and in some cases adultery might not be so much of an issue.  The point is whatever obligations were established as a result of intending to live together ought to remain in effect until both parties agreed to separate, i.e., agree to get in, agree to get out.  Primarily it's an issue of maintaining respect for someone who was considered worthy of that respect, as opposed to behaving unethically towards someone whose only fault is to no longer be the object of ones desire.

This is arbitrary. You can respect someone, but still want to move on. Respect is not a chain.
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Yes, of course verbal contracts should be just as binding as written ones. That's besides the point here. Even if you write out an agreement to love and cherish, and have it notarized, it is not a contract that can be upheld in any rational court of law. 

 

That and Eiuol's earlier example would be cases where a rational judge wound encourage both parties to attempt to reconcile their differences prior to divorcing and/or suing for a breach of contract, if one exists.  I am under the impression that objective law would in fact allow two individuals to create any form of contract they choose to except agreements to commit a crime.

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Yes, of course verbal contracts should be just as binding as written ones. That's besides the point here. Even if you write out an agreement to love and cherish, and have it notarized, it is not a contract that can be upheld in any rational court of law. 

 

That and Eiuol's earlier example would be cases where a rational judge wound encourage both parties to attempt to reconcile their differences prior to divorcing and/or suing for a breach of contract, if one exists.  I am under the impression that objective law would in fact allow two individuals to create any form of contract they choose to except agreements to commit a crime.

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That and Eiuol's earlier example would be cases where a rational judge wound encourage both parties to attempt to reconcile their differences prior to divorcing and/or suing for a breach of contract, if one exists.  I am under the impression that objective law would in fact allow two individuals to create any form of contract they choose to except agreements to commit a crime.

Well, a judge might well "encourage" two parties to try to work something out; but, that's simply judge playing uncle. If either says they've thought it through, there's nothing a judge can do to force them to reconcile.

The judge can look at whatever contract was agreed to, can decide who is in breach, and can figure out what damages are owed. he can't force people to remain married. That's totally irrational and downright evil.

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This is arbitrary. You can respect someone, but still want to move on. Respect is not a chain.

 

Ethical behavior is the binding force here.  Love and respect are earned values, are they not?  Without knowing the particulars of what led two individuals to choose to spend the rest of their lives together, and why one of them no longer wishes to, it wound be hard to say whether the choice to separate is arbitrary or not. 

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The point is whatever obligations were established as a result of intending to live together ought to remain in effect until both parties agreed to separate, i.e., agree to get in, agree to get out.

What if they don't agree to separate?

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Devil's Advocate, you've mentioned actions which can be enforced, like distribution of property and such. This is all well and fine. That sort of thing can be contracted for. The problem is the emotional aspect. You can take actions to try to increase the likelihood of maintaining emotions in oneself and others, but you cannot actually force the emotion to be maintained if those actions don't end up being enough to do the trick. Those actions you can take can be taken regardless of any contract though too. Another party involved could promise to do or not do certain other actions too which likely could impact feelings, but that still doesn't require a contract to have them make and try to follow such promises. All that a contract could really do is forcibly handle certain elements of the aftermath in the event of a dissolution of a relationship. I don't think, legally, you could even call the cops to force somebody at gunpoint not to move out or go have sex with somebody else even if you did make any promises not to do such things and had a marriage contract.

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What if they don't agree to separate?

 

It is hard for me to imagine that two individuals who fell in love for the best of reasons and later grew apart through no fault of their partner, would intentionally make the process of separation more hurtful than necessary.  In this respect I think Khalil Gibran sums it up best with, "If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don't, they never were."

 

In any case, the law intervenes when individuals cannot resolve their own conflicts.

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bluecherry,

 

It's likely that a police officer would rather respond to an armed robbery than a domestic disturbance.  Nevertheless, I maintain that objective law would attempt to enforce (short of sanctioning criminal activity) whatever legal agreements two parties agreed to regardless how inane those agreements might appear to third parties.  Indeed it must in order to secure the right of individuals to freely enter into agreements and rely on having those agreements fulfilled.

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So, you think then something like moving out should have police prevent it? If the goal of such agreements as not moving out is to try to foster somebody liking you, I'm pretty sure forcing them to stay would just be counterproductive and breed resentment rather than making things better.

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It is hard for me to imagine that two individuals who fell in love for the best of reasons and later grew apart through no fault of their partner, would intentionally make the process of separation more hurtful than necessary. 

Sorry, but I must use the R-word. This is an example of rationalism in thinking, because everyone is familiar with the concept of a "messy divorce". It is not at all uncommon that a couple who once thought they'd spend their lives together want to do all sorts of things to hurt the other during a divorce.

 

 

... ... objective law would attempt to enforce (short of sanctioning criminal activity) whatever legal agreements two parties agreed to regardless how inane those agreements might appear to third parties.  

No, the law must not always enforce the original terms. More often it must compute guilt and damages. This is rational because it is reality-based: it takes cognizance of the nature of human beings and of relationships.

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In any case, the law intervenes when individuals cannot resolve their own conflicts.

 

Right, and part of the security a contract provides is that it helps to resolve disagreements. That brings me back to my question earlier. The question is important because it can show the degree you think marriage contracts ought to provide security for relationships.

 

Jill: "You promised you'd love me!"

Jack: "I do love you!"

Jill: "Then why did you go hiking without me?!"

Jack: "Because I wanted alone time."

Jill: "Liar. You don't love me, you broke our contract; see you in court!"

How would a judge determine if in fact Jack broke the contract, assuming that promising to remain in love is part of the contract's terms? Assume also that Jack doesn't want a divorce. Do you watch Breaking Bad? If you do, there is an analagous situation later in the series with Skyler and Walter where one of them refuses to sign divorce papers, but the other one REALLY wants a divorce. In effect, they're forced to be together, and the "relationship security" really is promised, at the cost of another person's happiness.

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Right, and part of the security a contract provides is that it helps to resolve disagreements. That brings me back to my question earlier. The question is important because it can show the degree you think marriage contracts ought to provide security for relationships.

 

Jill: "You promised you'd love me!"

Jack: "I do love you!"

Jill: "Then why did you go hiking without me?!"

Jack: "Because I wanted alone time."

Jill: "Liar. You don't love me, you broke our contract; see you in court!"

How would a judge determine if in fact Jack broke the contract, assuming that promising to remain in love is part of the contract's terms? Assume also that Jack doesn't want a divorce. Do you watch Breaking Bad? If you do, there is an analagous situation later in the series with Skyler and Walter where one of them refuses to sign divorce papers, but the other one REALLY wants a divorce. In effect, they're forced to be together, and the "relationship security" really is promised, at the cost of another person's happiness.

 

Haven't watched Breaking Bad, but if Jill could prove her case in court I suppose Jack would be forced to divorce Jill.  I'm not aware of anyone/situation where a breach of contract wouldn't lead to some form of restitution.  As to how a judge would determine who the guilty party was, whatever agreements were in place should be sufficient to reach a decision.  Your example as is, isn't sufficient for me to know what that decision might be.

 

I believe a promise to love essentially means a promise to care for, so while it's true the emotion love cannot be forced, the action care certainly can, as in cases of court awarded custody, alimony, etc.

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Sorry, but I must use the R-word. This is an example of rationalism in thinking, because everyone is familiar with the concept of a "messy divorce". It is not at all uncommon that a couple who once thought they'd spend their lives together want to do all sorts of things to hurt the other during a divorce.

...

 

Yes that's true, but generally the cause is betrayal, where the guilty partner specifically misrepresents the love professed in order to get away with something undeserved.  There are enough clean separations to know that "messy divorces" aren't unavoidable.  Do you believe Objectivists would commonly have "messy divorces"?

 

...

 

No, the law must not always enforce the original terms. More often it must compute guilt and damages. This is rational because it is reality-based: it takes cognizance of the nature of human beings and of relationships.

 

Wouldn't that be more commonly recognized prior to sanctioning a problematic agreement.  Just as one cannot agree to commit a crime, one cannot agree to force the impossible.

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So, you think then something like moving out should have police prevent it? If the goal of such agreements as not moving out is to try to foster somebody liking you, I'm pretty sure forcing them to stay would just be counterproductive and breed resentment rather than making things better.

 

The police regularly look for and require reluctant child supporters to fulfill their obligations.  But I agree that imprisoning someone to foster affection isn't likely to succeed. 

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But I agree that imprisoning someone to foster affection isn't likely to succeed. 

"Likely to succeed"! I hope that's not the importance consideration.

If your spouse had no affection for you any more, would you want someone to coerce her in some way? (Sounds like a contradiction to try.) Would you want some, even minor, penalty applied to her? 

 

Personally, I cannot imagine agreeing to a marriage contract that says that my wife has to pay some type of penalty if she no longer loves me, or loves someone else more and wants to move on. Of course it makes sense to understand how our joint property will be split, and how the custody of the kids will be decided, but apart from that, it would be pretty insecure, impractical and evil for me to penalize her for any lack of love.

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Haven't watched Breaking Bad, but if Jill could prove her case in court I suppose Jack would be forced to divorce Jill. 

 

I thought, according to you, a marriage contract would make Jack feel more secure about his romantic relationship and love?  How can he truly feel more secure if Jill can force Jack to divorce, by simply stating she doesn't think Jack loves her at all anymore, even if Jack is telling the truth that he still loves her?

 

Perhaps you mean marriage increases security of love between rational people, except that doesn't seem possible if you can't develop a contract which can resolve disagreements over if the contract has been broken.

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I thought, according to you, a marriage contract would make Jack feel more secure about his romantic relationship and love?

...

 

I tried to respond to this in post #47, but you didn't answer...

 

Let's try this one step at a time.  Do you agree that making agreements about behavior, e.g., not committing adultery, would increase the likelihood of enjoying a long term romantic relationship?

 

That is the kind of emotional security I've been referring to.  Not to force someone to continue loving you, but to agree to certain kinds of behavior that increase the likelihood of maintaining ones love long term.  Ones emotional mechanism acts like a barometer of the efficacy of ones actions, remember??  By agreeing to promote some actions and avoid others, one stands a fair chance at maintaining ones love long term.

 

This lies at the core of pursuing happiness and is entirely consistent with the practice of Objectivism... to make rational choices that promote ones well being.  How is it then, that the emotion love remains so mysterious to Objectivists that one apparently falls in and out of it for no reason at all?

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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