Originally Posted by SlowPoly
If the marriage (or difficulty of divorce) is what's keeping us together, well, that's a whole 'nuther issue.
For me, this is a central talking point regarding marriage pros and cons.
1. Longevity assumption
2. Barriers to exit/change a relationship
People are adaptive machines, we encounter stimuli and adjust our viewpoints and actions according to our genes and previous stimuli; we are problem solvers, growing and learning as we go through our lives. This strongly suggests that our decisions regarding previously encountered environmental stimuli will change as we mature. This basically means that the person we are when we get married "for life" is not necessarily the person we are going to be 3, 10, 20 years from now... in fact, it suggests the opposite.
Once a significant enough change between the paths/personalities/viewpoints of the married parties comes up, now there is the issue of how to deal with it. When people who are dating discover they are no longer compatible they just break up (speaking from a monogamous point of view), pack their stuff, and move out. When life partners make this discovery it's a bit more complicated in that they need to figure out how to handle mortgage, kids, etc. For a married couple it can involve all of the other complications to part ways PLUS the state now has a vested interest in how you are allowed to break up. This is an added barrier to exit.
In my opinion a relationship should live or die based solely on its merit. When there is a legal contract involved we necessarily have a new barrier to exit. In order for me to feel like I am in a functional and purely voluntary relationship I want to make "getting out" as easy as possible. Why would I want to build a barrier between my partner and getting the hell away from me if that's what they want to do?
I want partners who want to associate with me. I want to make it easy for partners to end or change our association. This is the only way I can imagine encouraging a healthy association to flourish. Marriage creates the opposite of a healthy situation for me.