Marriage as we know it today has its roots in slavery. This may come to you as a surprise, especially if you’re heavily influenced by all the brainwash in our current authoritarian societies around the world, that promote marriage as an ideal form of a relationship between a man and a woman. But if people truly realized where the concept of marriage comes from and what its real purpose is, I’m sure that they would be repulsed by it. Especially women are being brainwashed from very early childhood to not only accept the concept of marriage, but to even long for it and regard it as one of the most important goals in their lives for achieving happiness. This is the tragedy of the reality in which we live today, where people are being conditioned not only to accept, but to actually desire their own enslavement. It’s a reality where people willingly accept a way of life that works against them on almost all levels, and that allows a small elite to easily control and exploit them.
Marriage isn’t something that’s natural; it’s an artificial social construct. A very long time ago, there was complete equality between men and women in ancient cultures, and there was no concept of marriage. In fact there are cultures that still exist today where there’s no marriage, such as the Mosuo culture in the Chinese Himalaya. Imagine getting born and living in such a culture where there was no concept of marriage. In such a situation you would grow up and become an adult without having even the slightest notion about having to get married and tying yourself to a single partner for the rest of your life.
However in most societies around the world today, the idea of marriage is literally pumped into our heads by the environment that we grow up in. Especially women get brainwashed with the concept of marriage, which is often also associated with romance and the whole “happily ever after” fairy tale experience. Growing up with that, it becomes difficult for people to determine later whether the desire for marriage is really their own, or if it’s due to the brainwash. People will often mention wanting to get married out of their “own desire” and “free will,” not realizing that it’s the many years of programming that they received from their environment that’s responsible for what appears to be their “own desire.” In this way people are brainwashed into desiring an artificial way of living that will later frustrate their lives and work against them. When that eventually happens they get confused and don’t understand what went wrong; after all, they were living according to the rules approved and prescribed to them by society. And many fail to realize that things didn’t work out precisely because they lived according to the artificial social constructs forced upon them by society — social constructs that go against our true nature, and that are designed not in our best interests, but in the interests of a small elite that wants to rule over us.
You see, marriage was introduced to humankind thousands of years ago by the gods with the purpose of suppressing and repressing our sexuality. 1 It was one of the measures, in a total package of measures, that the gods enforced on humankind in order to frustrate and divide them so that they could be more easily controlled, manipulated and enslaved. 2 If we go back and take a look at the earliest written records that we currently have of human civilization — the ancient Mesopotamian texts — it becomes clear that marriage was very similar to slavery; marriage law looked a lot like property law. This is described in a lot of details in the Code of Hammurabi. You just have to consider the fact that the Akkadian words describing a husband (be-el as-sa-tim) mean “owner of a wife” to realize that, just like a slave, a wife was considered to be a man’s property. A woman had to address her husband with “master” or “lord” just like a slave addresses his master or a subject his king. And to this day there are still cultures where the words used to describe a husband literally mean “owner of a wife.” Consider that in the bible, when god decides to create a woman, he does so to create a “helper” for the man, later adding that “man shall rule over woman.” In the ten commandments, a wife is also listed among the properties of a man (a woman was considered first to be the property of her father, and after marriage her husband). In some verses in the bible the Hebrew words that describe a married woman, or a wife, literally mean “woman with a master.” 3
So a woman became the property of a man upon “marrying” him, and was sold by her father in a way comparable to slavery. The future owner of such a woman would have to pay her father the price he requested for his daughter and a contract was made detailing the terms of the transaction. 4 This is where the traditions we still have today in certain cultures around the world come from, where the parents of the bride are given money and presents in return for their daughter. These traditions are simply the remnants of the original sales transactions of antiquity, where the daughter was sold to her new owner or husband.
It’s important to realize that many of the social constructs that we have today, like the modern family, marriage, and relationships, etc., go back to ancient Mesopotamia. Many of the details have evolved over time, but essentially we’re still stuck with the system of control and enslavement that was enforced upon us by the gods thousands of years ago.
If you can understand the origin and purpose of marriage, and you realize that it was introduced not in the best interests of humans, but instead in the interests of gods who wanted to rule over us, it becomes very easy to understand why marriage frustrates relationships between men and women. As mentioned before, it’s an artificial social construct, one that encourages us to live against our true nature with all the negative consequences that come with that. A lot of pain and suffering can be avoided in society if people aren’t directed to live against their own true nature.
Just think about it; have you ever wondered how a couple that was so much in love with each other at first, can slowly grow to hate each other after getting married? Marriage has nothing to do with love; in fact, love is destroyed by marriage and there’s plenty of evidence for that everywhere in society. As we’ve seen above, in the very beginning marriage was all about the enslavement of women. Women were degraded to mere servants; slaves; property. Where is the love in that? And today this is still the case. Married couples still treat each other as their property, and consequently severely limit each other. If people truly knew what it means to love someone, they would let them be free individuals.
Instead, marriage encourages people to become dependent, and thus to give up their individuality, independence and freedom. And as I’ve explained before, people naturally want to be free, and any relationship that limits people’s freedoms will cause trouble. The desire for freedom is intrinsic to human nature; we are born free individuals. In a relationship where a person’s freedom is being limited, it’s only a matter of time before they start to (often subconsciously) rebel against it. Like psychoanalyst Karen Horney M.D. indicated in the past, people in exclusive relationships eventually start to develop a desire to escape, which results in secret hostility towards their partner. This secret hostility then leads to a secret hate, and this hate continues to develop until it starts to express itself more and more in the relationship. 5 If you truly love someone and want to continue to do so and enjoy their company for as long as possible, you should avoid relationships with them in the traditional sense at all costs — and this includes marriage.
Marriage also limits individual growth and self-actualization — one of our most basic needs as human beings. You can’t grow in a balanced way when you tie yourself to a single person for most of your life, simply because you limit the variety of experiences you can have. You’re also forced to make compromises that go against your true desires, and your individuality suffers. It might seem easy to make compromises in the beginning of a relationship, especially when the feeling of being in love is very strong, but as the relationship progresses eventually it gets more difficult and you’ll start to (subconsciously) rebel against any perceived limitations imposed on you.
Keep in mind that there can never be one person out there that can satisfy all of your needs and desires; there are no soul mates and perfect partners. Instead of limiting yourself to a single person who can satisfy only some of your needs, you’re supposed to go out and find others who can fill in the gaps. Remember that we’re naturally capable of loving more people at the same time and that humans are naturally polygamists. 6
And that’s for good reason, because variety is key to living an enjoyable and interesting life. From the moment we’re born, we’re filled with curiosity and want to explore the world and learn. Children want to touch and taste everything in their environment. They can desperately want and play with one toy for a week, but then get bored and look for a new one. Adults are grown up children. So even as adults we remain curious and continue to seek new experiences all the time. And it may be hard to accept for most people, but yes, we do get bored if we spend too much time with a single person. Even if this person is the kindest, sexiest, most wonderful person on the planet, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll get bored — especially if you’re stuck with them in an exclusive relationship and (have to) spend lots of time with them day in and day out. After a certain amount of time, you’ve basically experienced all there is to experience with a single person and it simply starts to get old and boring; eventually there’s nothing left to be curious about anymore.
Think of it another way; how would you like it if you had to eat bread with peanut butter every day for the rest of your life? You might enjoy it in the beginning, but sooner or later you would probably want to throw up just thinking about bread and peanut butter. It’s the same with music; for example, you might really like a new song in the beginning and play it all day long, but after a while it gets old and you stop listening to it and look for something new to listen to. This is why we have so much variety in nature. And we especially need this variety in our love life. Marriage prevents people from being able to have (sexual) variety in their lives, and eventually things get boring. 7 Research has shown that relationships between couples usually last between 3 to 4 years on average. After that time people start to get bored of each other and the relationship starts to deteriorate. And it can get really dangerous when couples get bored of each other, but for some (often economic) reasons are forced to stay together — especially when their sexual needs aren’t being gratified adequately. Quite often there’s a gradual buildup of hate which can ultimately lead to (extreme) violence. 8
Don’t be fooled by married couples who stay together for long periods of time and appear to be happy. Even way back in the nineteenth century, it was already clear to researchers that happy marriages are extremely rare exceptions to the rule. 9 From my own observations I’ve seen that in many cases married couples pretend to be happy to the outside world, but struggle with all kinds of problems in their marriage. They may even be having regular arguments, may be sleeping in separate beds, may be cheating on their partners, etc. But for social reasons they give everyone else the impression that all is well and that they are very happy together — right up to the moment when you suddenly hear that they’re getting a divorce. This often comes as a shock to their friends and acquaintances, since everything seemed to be going so well. But people then realize that it was all a big show, and find out that things weren’t going well for a long time already. Married couples who pretend that everything is going well are simply fooling everyone, especially the youth, who could otherwise learn from their true experiences, and could themselves avoid making the same mistakes by getting married. Not to mention the damage that is done to children inside such marriages. 10
Very often it’s also the case that married couples feel that they have little choice but to stay together after getting married even if they aren’t in love anymore and would want a divorce. There are many reasons for this, depending on the specific circumstances, but mostly it’s for social and economic reasons. Apart from the social stigma relating to divorce in certain societies, very often people stay in bad marriages because they wouldn’t be able to support themselves financially if they were to live alone. 9 And this is by design; remember, as I’ve discussed above, marriage encourages people to give up their individuality, independence and freedom. This weakens the individual and as a result they become easier to control and manipulate. Men love it when they can do whatever they want, while their wife has to accept everything because she has nowhere else to go. Authoritarian societies love it when people are dependent, weak individuals who can’t stand on their own feet, because then they can easily be manipulated by the state.
All things considered, you can only get married for the wrong reasons. If you’re getting married for no other clear reason than the fact that you’re influenced by society’s brainwash that has programmed you to want to tie yourself to a single partner for the rest of your life, then you’re doing it for the wrong reason. If you’re doing it because you claim to love someone, then you’re also doing it for the wrong reason, simply because true love has nothing to do with ownership of an individual. Ownership of another human being and limiting their freedom, in any way, is wrong. If you’re doing it for economic reasons, then you’re definitely doing it for the wrong reasons. A lot of women these days essentially behave like prostitutes, seeking out the best candidates for trading sex and intimacy with economic gain and stability, preferably through marriage. If you’re getting married for sexual gratification, then boy are you in for a surprise. As discussed in the footnotes below, sex gets extremely boring in marriage until it eventually just stops, 7 and you really do not want to get married to anyone before you’ve experienced them sexually. 11 If you’re getting married because you don’t want to be lonely or are afraid to grow old alone and need someone to take care of you, you’re also doing it for the wrong reasons. You can live alone, but not be lonely. You can connect with many different people from the opposite sex all the time, as much as you need, if you only disregard the stupid rules in society that attempt to limit you. And you really shouldn’t get married to someone just because you’re afraid to grow old alone and wonder who’ll take care of you; it’s not right to treat someone else as some kind of an insurance policy for your old age.
We are heading into a new age right now where the individuality and freedom of every single human being on this planet is going to be valued more and more. We’re in the process of finally breaking free from thousands of years of enslavement through artificial social constructs, that conflicted in every way with our true nature. Right now we can already see these social constructs starting to crumble to the ground, and this includes the institution of marriage. Divorce rates are at an all time high, and the younger generation are increasingly starting to avoid getting married in countries around the world. In the USA, for example, single Americans now make up the majority of the adult population since the government began tracking the data 38 years ago. In Holland and the UK people are less interested in getting married, while divorce rates in Holland and Brazil are at a record high. 12 These are trends that will only continue to pick up speed around the world, especially when the economic reasons for marriage disappear in the sharing economies and resource based economies of the near future. In those new societies everything will be based on sharing and peer to peer models — and that includes our love- and sexual relationships.
Above all, Freud’s attitude toward the spirit seemed to me highly questionable. Wherever, in a person or in a work of art, an expression of spirituality (in the intellectual, not the supernatural sense) came to light, he suspected it, and insinuated that it was repressed sexuality. Anything that could not be directly interpreted as sexuality he referred to as “psychosexuality.” I protested that this hypothesis, carried to its logical conclusion, would lead to an annihilating judgment upon culture. Culture would then appear as a mere farce, the morbid consequence of repressed sexuality. “Yes,” he assented, “so it is, and that is just a curse of fate against which we are powerless to contend.” I was by no means disposed to agree, or to let it go at that, but still I did not feel competent to argue it out with him.
That Freud was able to come to such a conclusion back then, even while perhaps lacking (access to) the information we have available to us today, is a testament to his brilliance. Psychoanalyst Dr. Wilhelm Reich, one of Freud’s best students, later made a similar remark in his book “The Function of the Orgasm”:
The natural instincts are biological facts. They cannot be done away with and they cannot be fundamentally changed. Like all living beings, man needs, first and foremost, the appeasement of hunger and the gratification of sexual needs. Today’s society makes the first difficult and frustrates the latter. There is a glaring contradiction between natural demands and certain social institutions. Man is immersed in this contradiction, leans more toward one side or the other, makes compromises that always backfire, escapes into sickness and death, or rebels senselessly and fruitlessly against the existing system.
And the fact that there’s a glaring contradiction between our natural desires and social institutions (or culture) is on purpose. When “civilization” as we know it today was enforced on humankind thousands of years ago by the “gods,” it was founded upon the basis of sexual repression which had the purpose of dividing the human race at the fundamental level of the sexes, so that they would be easier to control, manipulate and enslave. Like I explained in the third part of my Understanding Women article series, when it comes to divide and conquer strategies, nothing can divide the human race more than when you do it at the level of the sexes; this divides the human race at the very core of its existence. By creating inequality, contradiction, conflict and friction in interactions between men and women — the basic and most important social relationship we can have — this frustrates and weakens the entire race at the most fundamental level. For example, instead of men and women naturally coming together and easily forming healthy (sexual) relationships based on equality, what we have right now is stupid courting and dating games that cause difficulties and waste a lot of our time and energy. We also have marriages where men are encouraged to dominate over women and treat them like their property, while forcing both men and women to sacrifice their individuality, become dependent and live against their true nature. In such an environment — one that is filled with social constructs promoting sexual repression — it becomes difficult for men and women to form stable and robust relationships and to satisfy their sexual desires. Hence they become weaker and can be easily manipulated, especially via their sexuality (I discuss some examples in the second part of my Understanding Women article series).
When the lofty Anu, king of the Anunnaki, and Bel, lord of heaven and earth …. committed the rule of all mankind to Marduk, the chief son of Ea …. when they pronounced the lofty name of Babylon, when they made it famous among the quarters of the world and in its midst established an everlasting kingdom whose foundations were firm as heaven and earth-at that time Anu and Bel called me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, the worshiper of the gods, to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and evil, to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak, to go forth like the sun over the Black Head Race, to enlighten the land and to further the welfare of the people.
Here we can see where all these rules came from and who ultimately benefitted from them — the Anunnaki gods. Notice how the enslavement of humankind is sold to them by telling them that it’s for their own benefit, in this case, “to cause justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked and evil, to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak and to further the welfare of the people.” This is still the same today in societies around the world. People are enslaved by their governments who tell them that it’s for their own good. For example, the enslavement of the people via taxation is often sold to them by convincing them that it’s necessary for wealth redistribution and to take care of the poor, when in actual fact taxation ultimately benefits a small elite because it transfers wealth from the poor and the middle class to the rich by force (leading to widespread and severe inequality), while at the same time robbing them of their independence and freedom.
Most of the artificial social constructs that we today collectively refer to as “civilization” all originated thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia, forced on humankind by the Anunnaki “gods.” And today, though they have changed and evolved for better or worse, they still serve to control and enslave people all around the world; for details see my post “Statism: A System for your Enslavement.”
In the patriarchal Mesopotamian society the father was considered to be the lord of the house.65
65 Cf. “The Code of Hammurabi,” ANET, 171, #129, and 173, #161, where he is called be-el as-sa-tim,“owner of a wife.” […]
The final civilization in Mesopotamian history that this essay will examine is Judea. June Stephenson summarizes the status of women during this time in her book, Women’s Roots: “The social and legal position of an Israelite wife was inferior to the position of wife occupied in the great countries round about…all the texts show that Israelites wanted mainly sons, to perpetuate the family line and fortune, and to preserve the ancestral inheritance…A husband could divorce his wife…women on the other hand could not ask for divorce…the wife called her husband Ba’al or master; she also called him adon or lord; she addressed him in fact as a slave addresses his master or a subject, his king. The Decalogue includes a man’s wife among his possessions…all her life she remains a minor. The wife does not inherit from her husband, nor daughters from their fathers, except when there is no male heir. A vow made by a girl or married woman needs, to be valid, the consent of the father or husband and if this consent is withheld, the vow is null and void. A man had the right to sell his daughter. Women were excluded from the succession” (Stephenson 70).
Throughout Mesopotamian history, women experienced different liberties and their role changed with each successive civilization. A patriarchal revolution took place that greatly affected women’s status; in general, women had a higher standing in the earlier Mesopotamian periods. The Code of Hammurabi was the beginning of the institutionalization of the patriarchal family as an aspect of state power (Lerner 253). It reflected a class society in which women’s status depended on the male family head’s social status and property. With the Middle Assyrian Law 40, the state assumed control of female sexuality, which had previously been left to individual heads of families. From the middle of the second millenium BC. on, from the public veiling to the regulation by the state of birth control and abortion, the sexual control of women has been an essential feature of patriarchal power (Lerner 254). Unfortunately, the sexual control of women by outside forces is still a problem that is trying to be overcome today.
So we see that, for a woman, getting “married” to a man back then meant becoming his slave and property. Even in the bible, written hundreds of years later, we can see that a woman was created to serve as a helper to man, as the god of the old testament said:
Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God [yhwh] said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.”
It’s important to realize that the woman is not created as a free and independent being, but as a helper. If you’re still in doubt about what kind of relationship this implies between a man and a woman, then let god remove all doubt for you:
Genesis 3:16 He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you.
Here we see that man is supposed to rule over woman — his helper. So basically a woman is regarded to be a servant or slave to the man. This is confirmed in other verses in the bible:
Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married [bāʿal] woman [ʾishshâ].”
The meaning of the word bāʿal is: a master, lord. The word ishshâ means woman. So we see here that the literal translation of “married woman” is a woman with a master. Here’s another example:
Deuteronomy 22:22 “If a man [ʾîsh] is discovered having sexual relations with another man’s [bāʿal] wife [ʾishshâ], both the man [ʾîsh] who had sex with the woman and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel.
A “wife,” as you can see, was a woman with a master. It may surprise you that women were essentially regarded as slaves in various cultures even in fairly recent times. From chapter 1, paragraph 4 of “Slavery: As an Industrial System” (PDF) by H.J. Nieboer:
In the first paragraph it has already been noticed, that the advocates of women’s rights make very great use of the term “slavery”. We shall see that this equally applies to some ethnographers and theorists describing the state of women, especially as wives, in some primitive societies. To give one instance of each of them: Bancroft says of the Northern Californians: “Although I find no description of an actual system of slavery existing among them, yet there is no doubt that they have slaves. We shall see . . . . that women entitled by courtesy wives, are bought and sold”.[Bancroft, p. 349.] The theorist we shall quote is Letourneau: “In all very primitive societies woman represents the domestic  animals, the beasts of burden which the more advanced societies possess: she is indeed treated as a slave, and this certainly is one of the reasons why slavery has been instituted so late in the course of social evolution”.[Letourneau, p. 27.]
Letourneau remarks: “In the Australian clans slavery, in the sense in which we use the word, did not exist; but one half of the social group, the weaker half, was reduced to servitude; the Australian woman, an indispensable and despised helpmate, was during her whole life burdened with work, ill-used, and in reward often eaten by those whom her unavailing labour had fed”.[Letourneau, p. 45.] Schurtz states that the treatment of the Australian wives is bad.[ Schurtz, Katechismus, p. 139.] Ratzel expresses the same view: “The position of the wife in such circumstances is always a low one. That she is positively considered to be the property of her husband (hence in the Adelaide district “owner of a wife” means husband) is not peculiar to Australia.
Sometimes such general expressions are found, as the wife being her husband’s “property” or “slave“. So on Moreton Bay: wives are slaves. On Herbert River: wives are slaves. In N. S. Wales: “the woman is the absolute property of her husband”. In S. W. Australia: “the state of slavery in which they [the women] are all held, is really deplorable.” In Central Australia: the wife is desired by the husband only for a slave. In Tasmania: the women are slaves and do all the menial work. We may add Curr’s statement about the Australians in general: The wife “is not the relative, but the property of her husband”. “The husband is the absolute owner of his wife (or wives)”. Brough Smyth too remarks that the husband is called the owner of the wife.
I encourage you to read the whole chapter as there’s lots more where that came from. Here’s another example from “Women and Religions” (PDF) published in Women in Context, CSA, (Asian Study Centre) Osaka, 2007:
Where the chains of religion are loose, women’s development status is almost like that of men. But with the pretext of religion, men now lord over women. Begum Rokeya
Perhaps the best synthetic yet organic exposition of such a conceptualization can be found in the Manava Dharma Shastra. Chapter 9 of this ancient text deals with the duties of husbands and wives. It says: Men must make their women dependent day and night, and keep under their control those who are attached to sensory objects. Her father guards her in childhood, her husband guards her in youth, and her sons guard her in old age. A woman is not fit for independence.5
Hinduism reflected instead the structure of a peripheral agrarian society, since urban and commercial centers were still very much in the grip of Buddhist ideology. Here the rulers started becoming known as bhusvami, owners of the land. In this latter society both the requirements of the caste system to be seen as a chain of lordships and the similitude between women’s procreative power and the fertility of the land could not but produce the commoditization of women as an essential accessory to male patriarchal supremacy.10 The same relationship between king and kingdom came to be interpreted through the conjugal metaphor. Interestingly enough, the word svami is even today commonly used for the English word “husband”: the owner of a wife.
Again Manu says: A virtuous wife should constantly serve her husband like a god, even if he behaves badly, freely indulges his lust, and is devoid of any good qualities. A virtuous wife should never do anything displeasing to the husband who took her hand in marriage, when he is alive or dead, if she longs for her husband’s world (after death). When her husband is dead… she should be long-suffering until death, self-restrained, and chaste, striving (to fulfil) the unsurpassed duty of women who have one husband. A virtuous wife who remains chaste when her husband has died goes to heaven… even if she has no sons.11
Noticeably, not only is a husband’s power absolute and beyond questioning during his life time, it remains so even after death. It goes without saying that the situation of a widower instead is quite different. After having performed the funeral rights for the deceased wife, he is encouraged to remarry without any hassle.12 Although Manu wrote these injunctions more than two thousand years ago, it is my contention that they are more than alive in today’s Bangladesh. They somehow survive as the kind of ideas at the root of the situation of discrimination and exploitation women find themselves in today.
Unfortunately, neither Islam first or Christianity later managed to challenge this Hindu hegemonic discourse and eventually came to suffer from the same disease. In Bengali there is a very common saying: “Women’s heaven is under the feet of their husbands.” This is said by everybody, irrespective of their religious belonging. The only difference being that Muslims would refer to heaven with the Persian word behesta, while Hindus and Christians would refer to it with the Sanskrit word svarga! Indeed, “sob shialer eki ran!”13 It is difficult to say how much of the Hindu conception of women crept into and influenced Islam in the Subcontinent. Whatever the case, the end result is that Islam was too ready to acculturate and accommodate an ideology which eventually was found in line with its own brand of patriarchy and misogyny. Eventually, both Hindu and Islamic “teachings” shake hands in maintaining women’s inferiority and submission.
As you can see from the above examples, women were considered to be nothing more than helpers, servants and essentially slaves, who were the property of their owners, lords and masters. Marriage was nothing more than the official transfer of ownership of a woman from one owner to another.
Contract for Marriage, Reign of Shamshu-ilu-na, c. 2200 B.C.
This marriage took place about 2200 B.C. The bride was a slave, and gained her freedom by marriage, and hence the penalty imposed upon her in case she divorced her husband is greater than that imposed on him in case he divorced her.
RIMUM, son of Shamkhatum, has taken as a wife and spouse Bashtum, the daughter of Belizunu, the priestess (?) of Shamash, daughter of Uzibitum. Her bridal present shall be _____ shekels of money. When she receives it she shall be free. If Bashtum to Rimum, her husband shall say, “You are not my husband,” they shall strangle her and cast her into the river. If Rimum to Bashtum, his wife, shall say, “You are not my wife,” he shall pay ten shekels of money as her alimony. They swore by Shamash, Marduk, their king Shamshu-ilu-na, and Sippar.
Contract for Marriage, Thirteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar II, 591 B.C.
This contract is dated at Babylon, in the thirteenth year of the Biblical Nebuchadnezzar, and is an example of marriage by purchase—a form of marriage which had practically fallen into disuse at this time.
Dagil-ili, son of Zambubu, spoke to Khamma, daughter of Nergal-iddin, son of Babutu, saying: “Give me Latubashinni your daughter; let her be my wife.” Khamma heard, and gave him Latubashinni, her daughter, as a wife; and Dagil-ili, of his own free-will, gave Ana-eli-Bel-amur, a slave, which he had bought for half a mana of money, and half a mana therewith to Khamma instead of Latubashinni, her daughter. On the day that Dagil-ili another wife shall take, Dagil-ili shall give one mana of money unto Latubashinni, and she shall return to her place—her former one. (Done) at the dwelling of Shum-iddin, son of Ishi-etir, son of Sin-damaqu.
The freedom of a human being is lacking if his or her needs are controlled by others, for need may lead to the enslavement of one person by another. Furthermore, exploitation is caused by need. Need is an intrinsic problem and conﬂict is initiated by the control of one’s needs by another.
When people sense that their freedoms are being limited and their needs aren’t being satisfied, this leads to conflict. Psychoanalyst Karen Horney M.D. indicated the following in her article titled “The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal”:
[…] the overestimation of love leads to disillusionment; the desire to possess the partner results in the partner wanting to escape; and the taboos against sex result in non-fulfillment. Disillusionment plus the desire to escape plus non-fulfillment result in a secret hostility, which causes the other partner to feel alienated. Secret hostility in one and secret alienation in the other cause the partners to secretly hate each other. This secret hate often leads one or the other or both to seek love objects outside the marriage or relationship.
So we see that we should never become dependent on a single person like the case is in marriage and exclusive relationships; those are situations of scarcity. And scarcity leads to dependency, which leads to control, which in extreme cases can further lead to exploitation. Think of the many people who are being exploited in bad marriages, but cannot escape because they are dependent on their abusive partners.
On the basis of these two binding factors—established facts on the one hand, moralism on the other—the authors reach the most peculiar and absurd arguments for retaining marriage. For example, they try to prove that marriage and monogamy are “natural” arrangements, i.e., biological phenomena. They search eagerly among the millions of varieties of animals, which unquestionably live sexually irregular lives, and come up with the finding that storks and doves sometimes live monogamously; hence monogamy is “natural.” In this instance, man is no longer a “spiritual” creature who cannot be compared to animals, for here the comparison supports monogamous marriage. However, the fact that promiscuity among animals is the rule is studiously avoided in discussing the problem of marriage biologically.
Read my post “Humans are naturally polygamists” for a more elaborate discussion on this subject.
In a relationship rut? It’s only natural, Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon, a clinical psychologist at the Family Institute at Northwestern University says. “We can’t keep up that crazy, out-of-my-mind, falling-in-love feeling forever,” Solomon says in the above #OWNSHOW video.
“The more that we’re exposed to something in our environment, the more our response decreases,” she explains. The first time you hear a new song, for example, you might have a strong emotional response to it. “And then the 500th time it’s just not quite the same reaction. And that happens in our love relationships as well.”
The need for variety is especially true when it comes to our sexuality. In marriage, sex simply gets boring after a while with the same person. As psychoanalyst Dr. Wilhelm Reich mentions in his book “The Sexual Revolution”:
Sooner or later, we will find in every sexual relationship shorter or longer periods of reduced sensual attraction, even indifference. This is an empirically established fact, in the face of which moralistic arguments are helpless. The better the sexual partners harmonize sensually and tenderly, the less frequent and definitive will be the break in the sensual relationship. But every sexual relationship is exposed to sensual dulling. […] Gradually, sexual intercourse becomes a matter of habit or obligation. The decrease in gratification with the partner and the desire for others mount and reenforce each other. No good intentions, no love techniques, will help here. […] The sexual needs can be gratified with one and the same partner for a limited time only.
This is confirmed in the following research mentioned on The Huffington Post:
Using data from AshleyMadison.com (“the premier ‘dating’ website for aspiring adulterers”), Eric Anderson, a professor of masculinity, sexuality and sport at the University of Winchester in England and the chief science officer at AshleyMadison.com, observed 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45 on the site. […] “Our results reflect not marital disharmony, but the sexual monotony that is a social fact of the nature of long-term monogamous relationships,” Anderson said in a statement. “The most predictable thing about a relationship is that, the longer it progresses, the quality and the frequency of sex between the couple will fade. This is because we get used to and bored of the same body.”
Bill Doherty, PhD, Professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota, told The Huffington Post. Doherty, who wasn’t involved in the study, puts forward another reason for these women’s need for passion, not divorce: They were looking for a separate sexual life in order to feel lusted after and attractive, which is indicative of deeper, emotional problems in a marriage.
“For women, it’s more about not being appreciated, not feeling desired,” Doherty said. “I think, in some ways, bodies are much less important in long-term sexual relationships than the mind and the heart.”
He added, “It’s like that old line that the most important sex organ is the brain.”
It’s hard to argue with the fact that when a person becomes bored of another person’s body, it’s very difficult to get excited, to desire them and to lust after them. Here’s an example where a woman describes how she felt like having sex after a divorce, again confirming the need for variety and constantly new experiences:
After having sex with only one man for 12 years, being with someone new was exhilarating and made me feel like a woman again! Each guy was completely different and brought a new and exciting bag of tricks into the bedroom, on the couch, or in the shower. Exploring different types of men and their sexuality really opens your eyes to not only what was missing from your marriage, but also what you desire sexually.
In most of the societies we have around the world today, which as I’ve explained earlier are founded on sexual repression, there are a lot of absurd rules that prevent people from getting the variety they naturally need in their love lives. People are encouraged to stick to a single partner, and to even claim their partners as their exclusive property. As Reich mentions, “No one would think of reproaching someone for not wanting to wear the same dress indefinitely or to eat the same food. Only in the sexual realm has the exclusiveness of possession acquired strong emotional overtones […].”
It was impossible to overlook the reduction of hate impulses in patients who had acquired the ability to obtain natural sexual pleasure. Every conversion of a compulsion neurosis into a hysteria was accompanied by a reduction of hate. Sadistic perversions or sadistic fantasies in the sexual act decreased to the extent to which gratification increased. These insights enabled us to understand the increase in marital conflicts when sexual attraction and gratification decrease; it also enabled us to understand the disappearance of marital brutality when another gratifying partner is found. I inquired into the behavior of wild animals and learned that they are harmless when they are well-fed and sexually gratified. Bulls are wild and dangerous only when they are led to, not when they are led away from, the cow. Chained dogs are very dangerous because their motor activity and sexual satisfaction are impeded. I came to understand the brutal character traits exhibited under conditions of chronic sexual dissatisfaction. I could observe this phenomenon in spiteful spinsters and ascetic moralists. By contrast, persons capable of genital gratification were conspicuously gentle and good. A person capable of sexual gratification is never sadistic. If such a person became sadistic, it could be safely assumed that a sudden disturbance had obstructed the usual gratification. This was also borne out by the behavior of women in the menopause. There are climacterical women who show no trace of spitefulness or irrational hate, and others who develop hateful characteristics in the menopause insofar as they did not already have them. There can be no question that the difference in behavior is due to their prior genital experience. The second type are always women who had never had a gratifying love relationship and now regret this lack, consciously or unconsciously sensing the consequences of sexual stasis. Hateful and envious, they become the most vicious opponents of every form of progress. Thus, it becomes clear that the sadistic pleasure of destruction so evident in our times can be traced to the general inhibition of natural sexuality.
When frustrated, genital energies become destructive. By the same token, this destructiveness disappears with genital gratification.
After reading the above, and understanding what it means, it becomes easy to explain the urges women get to break things during conflicts in their marriages. It also becomes easy to explain why husbands would want to beat up their wives, whom they, at one point in the past, professed to love so deeply. Moreover, the build-up of hate and frustration in any marriage is inevitable, considering the fact that, as we’ve seen above, over time partners start to get bored of each other. As Reich explains:
Marriages fall to pieces as a result of the ever deepening discrepancy between sexual needs and economic conditions. The sexual needs can be gratified with one and the same partner for a limited time only. On the other hand, the economic tie, moralistic demand, and human habit foster the permanency of the relationship. This results in the wretchedness of marriage.
Gradually, sexual intercourse becomes a matter of habit or obligation. The decrease in gratification with the partner and the desire for others mount and reenforce each other. No good intentions, no love techniques, will help here. Now the critical stage of irritation with the partner sets in. Whether it breaks out or is concealed depends on temperament and upbringing. In any event, the hatred of the partner is increasingly, though unconsciously, intensified, as proved by the analysis of such conditions; the partner is a hindrance in the fulfillment of those desires for other love objects. It only seems to be a paradox that the unconscious hatred can become all the more intense the kinder and more tolerant the partner is. For then there is no reason to hate him (or her) personally and yet one still experiences him—or, rather, one’s feelings for him—as a hindrance.
Add to this the fact that society makes it difficult for people to satisfy their sexual needs outside of marriage or relationships, and what you get as a consequence is a lot of unnecessary pain, suffering, and even extreme violence, as Reich explains:
Our moralistic sexual prejudices often cause infinite harm by regarding even the mere idea of sexual experience with someone else as adultery, as indecency, and so on. If it were generally known that such conditions are self-evident, absolutely inherent in the nature of the sexual drive, and have nothing to do with morality, the murders and tortures among lovers and married couples would certainly decrease, as would many of the causes of emotional illness which represent nothing more than an inadequate way out of the situation.
Women were most likely to cite a fear of being unable to cope financially as their biggest reason for not separating, while men were most worried about the impact it would have on the family.
Arguments about money and rows over other family members were the most likely factors to drive a wedge between couples. Not having the courage to split from their partner renders one in ten married people in a state of inaction, while men were more likely to admit that a fear of being left alone was the motivation for staying put.
More than half of the study felt their partners take them for granted, with a little less than three years the average length of time before people felt things started to slide.
The report also lists the top 10 reasons for why people put off getting a divorce. It’s very interesting to note that these developments aren’t new. In fact, psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich had already discussed similar research done over 100 years ago in his book “The Sexual Revolution”:
Hoffinger, a nineteenth-century scientist, concluded in one of his investigations:
Although he probed conscientiously and arduously into the number of happy marriages, his research has been in vain insofar as he could never regard happy marriages as anything but extremely rare exceptions to the rule. Gross-Hoffinger also found:
- About half of all marriages are completely unhappy.
- Considerably more than half of these are quite obviously demoralized.
- The morality of the remainder does not in the least include marital fidelity.
- Fifteen percent of all married people are engaged in prostitution and procuring.
- The number of orthodox marriages above and beyond all suspicion of infidelity (provided there is the capacity for it) is—in the eyes of any reasonable man, who knows nature’s stormy demands and needs—tantamount to zero.
In a lecture for foreign physicians in Moscow, Lebedeva reported some interesting statistics about the duration of sexual relationships. She included only those registered marriages which were, for all practical purposes, enduring sexual relationships. Nineteen percent lasted one year; 37 percent, three to four years; 26 percent, four to nine years; 12 percent, ten to nineteen years; 6 percent, more than 19 years.
These figures prove that four years is the average length of time for the sexual basis of a relationship. How will marriage reform cope with this fact?
Notice how Reich mentions that 4 years is the average length of time for the sexual basis of a relationship. The above mentioned recent study by Slater & Gordon mentioned 3 years as being the average length of time before people felt things started to slide. These findings agree with my own observations throughout the years, that show that relationships between couples usually last between 3 to 4 years on average.
Whatever misery in marriage cannot be acted out in marital discord is directed toward the children. This not only inflicts new injuries to their independence and sexual structure but also creates another contradiction: the contradiction between the witnessing of hostility in the parental marriage, and the later economic compulsion to marry. It is during puberty that tragedies occur when adolescents, fortunate enough to have salvaged themselves from the harm done during their earlier education, now want to free themselves from their family chains.
As I have shown elsewhere, the view that the first sexual intercourse with a virgin and the honeymoon are sexually the most gratifying experiences is false. Clinical data contradict it. This idea has developed only from the contrast between the lusting for virginal women and the later numbness and sexual aridity of the permanent monogamous marriage. A satisfying sexual relationship between two people presupposes that an accommodation of the sexual rhythms takes place and that the partners gradually learn to know each other’s sexual needs, which are seldom conscious but always accessible. In the long run, this is the only way to insure the orderly regulation of sexual energy and the corresponding gratification. To marry without previous mutual sexual knowledge and adaptation is unhygienic and generally leads to catastrophes.
And of course, marriage in and of itself, is enough to lead to catastrophes, as I’ve discussed above.
More people in the United States are apparently leaving wedding rings sitting in jewelry stores, as new data shows a majority of American adults are now single.
Specifically, about 50.2 percent of American adults over the age of 16 – roughly 124.6 million people – were single in August, according to a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report cited by Bloomberg. This marks the first time that single Americans make up the majority of the adult population since the government began tracking the data 38 years ago.
In 1976, single Americans made up 37.4 percent of the adult population. The number of individuals who have never been married also rose to 30.4 percent, up notably from 22.1 more than three decades ago. Divorced Americans, meanwhile, now compose 19.8 percent of the population, compared to 15.3 percent in 1976.
As these numbers continued to rise, economist Edward Yardeni said the development will have significant ripple effects for the economic, social and political scenes in the United States.
From an article on Slate:
The Dutch attitude, which I like, is that marriage is not for everyone; it is a personal choice, an option, a pleasant possibility, but not marrying is not a failure, a great blot on your achievements in life, a critical rite of passage you have missed. Sometimes people get around to getting married, and sometimes they don’t. Several Dutch women in their 40s, with children and rich romantic histories, tell me about marriage, “It just wasn’t something that mattered to me.”
If we suddenly stopped being in thrall to the rigid, old-fashioned ideal of marriage, we could stop worrying about low marriage rates and high divorce rates. We could stop worrying about single mothers and the decline of marriage as an institution, especially in the lower middle class, and the wasteful industry of wedding planning. We could instead focus on actual relationships, on intimacies, on substance over form; we could focus on love in its myriad, unpredictable varieties. We could see life here in the amber waves of grain not for what it should be, but for what it is.
From an article on NU.nl:
Divorce rate at record high
AMSTERDAM – The probability that a marriage could prematurely end was at 36.2 percent in 2010 in the Netherlands. This is based on an analysis of figures published Wednesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The probability of divorce has never been so high. The percentage has gone up steadily over the past 10 years. There was only a slight decrease in 2009.
From an article on the Huffington Post:
SAO PAULO — The number of Brazilians getting divorces is at a record high. That’s according to the South American nation’s IBGE statistics agency. The agency says Monday that more than 350,000 divorces occurred in 2011. That’s up 46 percent from just the year before. The reason is because Congress enacted a law that makes it quicker and easier to get a divorce in the most populous Catholic nation on earth. Before, Brazilians had to be separated with a judge’s approval for a year before they could seek a divorce. Now, there is no need for unhappy couples to wait.
I don’t know about you, but I see a clear trend here. Imagine how many more married couples would get a divorce, if not for the fact that they’re often afraid to do it for economic or social reasons, or because of the bureaucracy that’s involved.