Two of my friends were married in the nineties so that they could buy the cake and beer that the ration market allowed for weddings. They were not a couple and had never exchanged more than a hug, but reselling the drinks and the sugary desert produced enough money to live for several months, each in his own place. Like them, a lot of people signed the marriage record in hopes of the desired products and the three honeymoon nights in a hotel, listed at great price on the black market.
With these examples around me, I took seriously the signing of the marriage contract. I lived for a lot of years under a consensual union without a trace of paper. Likewise, many of my acquaintances cohabit with a partner with whom they have never stepped foot in a notary’s office or gotten a certificate of their union. It’s not just a postmodern or irreverent trend, but a loss of the sense of the sanctity of marriage. Among the reasons for this fading sense is the absence of a family patrimony to be preserved with the signing of a contract. What difference would it make to a child to have legally married parents if they lack any assets for him to inherit, or any property that needs the oversight of laws.
Those of us under forty today, come to romantic relationships with the property that can be contained within our own epidermis. Because when the idyll comes to an end, the belongings—frequently—fit in a suitcase. With the love nest located in the parents’ house and with a salary that’s not enough to buy any durable or transferable goods, the signed paper and legal stamp that attest to the marriage are of little importance.