Sunday, August 28, 2005

Seniors Behaving Badly This morning posts an article about "seniors" living together without benefit of marriage. These people are often widows and widowers or divorcees. The justification for not marrying given by these couples is financial: that one or the other of them (usually the female)will give up pension, health, or alimony benefits, arising from her earlier marriage, if she marries again.

Dad's children certainly approve. Here is someone to take care of the old man, so the kids can go about their own business, and the new soul mate will have none of the marital rights that arise when a couple is wed, either in the event of a break up or in the event of death, so the inheritance is safe.

I say "Dad's children" because in my experience it is often the male who is the older and the more economically powerful. Furthermore, there are relatively fewer of these "free males" in the senior demographic than "free females", so they are in a better bargaining position already. Once again, women are apt to make bad decisions to avoid loneliness or to reclaim something lost and apparently found again.

Just think of the social consequences of this practice. The elders are tossing marriage aside because of short term monetary gain. They don't live in a vacuum but in a kith and kin community that not only spreads out horizontally, but is also two and sometimes three generations deep. What would the elder male's son and daughter-in-law say, when his granddaughter comes home on Spring break wth her boy friend and they want to sleep in her room? "Gee, Mom, don't be such a prude, look at Gramps for heaven's sake!"

Let's see, voices in the homosexual community want to marry, elder voices in the heterosexual community want not to. Say again why Jesus came?

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