On this page I would like to convey to you my dislike of the notion of matrimony. My objections are targeted against four aspects of matrimony, namely it being It may occur that people live together in relations that do not suffer from these characteristics, but that are still denoted by the partners as a marriage. I do not have any dogmatic objections against this terminology, and accordingly have no criticism of such marriages. But as I reject just those aspects of matrimony that many others consider to be essential, I prefer to use the word marriage to denote the type of relationship I do not endorse.

Before embarking on my objections I like to stress that all people that are married long and happily, with all evil characteristics related to it, have my explicit blessing. I see a marriage as a way of asking for trouble, but not as something immoral. A marriage can very well work out fine - it even happens regularly - and if people choose for such relationships, I respect this choice completely.

Pact with the devil

The first aspect of marriage that I don't like is it being a contract between two persons and an authority - a church or a state. The role of the authority is twofold: she determines the rules under which the partners shall live together (for instance if and under which conditions the marriage can be ended), and (in the case of the state) bestows a number of rights and duties upon married couples that are different from those for unmarried individuals. Many people that want to live together marry because it is the custom, without asking themselves if the contract with the authority is exactly what they want. If the partners want to subject their relationship to a number of enforcible rules, they can in general achieve this goal better by means of a private contract. The rules determined by the authority are often very different ones, and can occasionally be rather harmful. In the notification of my last speed violation I read for instance that if I wouldn't pay the fine, it would be collected by confiscation of the income of myself and/or my spouse. This is a good example of an obligation that I would not enter spontaneously in a togetherness contract. Thus, the contract with the authority is often a bad side effect of an act that is carried out for no other reason than that many other people did so as well.

On top of that, churches and states are evil institutes that sell lies and immoral philosophies, respectively engage in exploitation and suppression. It seems to me that a decent man will not want do business with such institutes. Therefore I reject the official marriage (the contract with the state). With this I have not (yet) argued against forms of partnership that have the other characteristics of a marriage, but are honored by the partners themselves, without involving the church of the state. Also, I do not object against calling such a partnership a "marriage".

In some cases the state treats married people better than unmarried ones. This could happen in taxation for instance. In such a case it can for purely pragmatic reasons be better to play along and marry for the state. As long as the partners agree that they feel not bound by the conditions of marriage, and do not make misuse of the situation (with respect to each other of course, misuse of state regulations is fine), such a marriage can be quite justifiable. In order to avoid a mixture of interests, and also because your partner in live may not be the optimal candidate to profit from government laws, it can be argued not to engage in such a marriage with the same person you really live with. On the other hand, an official marriage with your real partner is of course better resistant against suspicion from the side of the government.

Unlimited duration

A second aspect of marriage is its unlimited duration. A marriage is supposed to last until one of the partners dies, or until something goes terribly wrong. In my opinion this a bad characteristic. It would be better to engage in a relationship that is supposed to last as long as both parties find it beneficial. If, after some time, the relation becomes less satisfactory, or a better alternative emerges, it may be time to move on.

Of course, if the relation has a good potential to be beneficial, but is going through a unsatisfactory phase, a good effort to make it work again can be much better than abandoning it. Also common projects, such as raising children, can be a good reason to stay together a bit longer.

Some people may wish to sacrifice themselves and live in a relationship that is satisfactory only for the other person. Besides that I personally have little respect for such an attitude, I think that in practice it will be unsatisfactory for both parties. And what a waste it would be if both parties are sacrificing themselves.

If you object that a good marriage will always be satisfactory, and therefore should last forever, we may have no dispute. A marriage that keeps satisfying the parties involved will last anyway. However, I plead against a agreement made in advance to let the relationship continue even if it does not satisfy all partners. The large amount of people that continues to participate in bad relationships seems to me a problem at least as big as the large amount of divorces.

Unlimited scope

A third property of marriage is its unlimited scope. When two people declare themselves married, they are expected to live in the same house, eat their meals together, sleep in the same bed, and in some cases even share their possessions. This coupling is continuously confirmed in the interactions with third parties. It is for instance considered inappropriate to invite a married person to a party without extending the invitation to the other half.

Better than this all-or-nothing approach appears to me a relation that extends itself over those areas where cooperation is optimal, but not over those where the interests of the parties involved differ to such a degree that a separate development is preferable. Which areas this may be differs from person to person. It could occur that two people function optimally in a combined household with common meals, but don't have the same ideas about vacation. In such a case it should be no problem to make separate holiday travels, as fortunately happens in many modern relations. Likewise can it occur that the members of a couple have totally different eating habits and interests. In that case it appears logical to me that the partners commonly eat separately, for instance with friends that have the same taste. The same applies for going out, having sex, sleeping, living, etc. The sacrifice of individual property is in my opinion only in rare cases the best solution.

Obviously it is possible that two persons function optimally if they share all aspects of their live. In such a case they should certainly do so. The above is not a plea to separate amorous, economic, domestic, sexual, and free-time relations. In fact, I think a relationship tends to be more satisfactory if it extends over more areas. However, I plead against the mingling of these relations when it does not fit the nature of those involved.


The fourth evil characteristic of matrimony is the accompanying prohibition of similar relations with others. When A marries B he thereby loses his freedom to (also) marry C. This is closely related to the issue of unlimited scope discussed above. When we have determined that for instance sharing a household does not automatically entail a sexual, economic and free-time relation, it then follows that A can share a household with B, have a sexual relation with C, goes on holidays with D, shares his possessions with E, and ingests mindbroadening substances in the company of F to Z. Which of these relations will count as "marriage", and on which does the exclusion principle apply? It seems to me that there are arguments to regard each of the above relations as "the real one". The exclusion principle, however, seems to be directed mostly towards love and sex.

As illustrated by many books and films, the exclusion principle is one of the largest sources of human suffering. And not only for those that are "forced" by this perverse form of morality to make a choice, but also for those that are not chosen. Personally, I would never wish to enter a relationship that would in any way disable the possibilities of additional relationships. Consequently, I reject the concept of jealousy and favour polygamy.

Rob van Glabbeek