Should I get married to avoid the home for superior spinsters?


“That house,” Frau Bienkowsi said, taking a break to sit on her Zimmerframe beside a patch of buttercups, “was for war widows and a better sort of unmarried girl.”

“It could be the place for you!” she continued, half-seriously. “After all, I need to see that my Katechen will be looked after if things with Andrew don’t work out.”

Frau B believes firmly in marriage. Perhaps I would too, if the choice were between it and a red-brick home for spinsters.

She cannot fathom why German president Joachim Gauck has a Lebensgefährtin instead of a wife and why my sisters and I have yet to tie the knot.

I like some things associated with marriage, like commitment and companionship but dislike others, like lavish weddings and the idea that a relationship undergoes a qualitative change just because you day “I do.”

For people of Frau B’s generation, marriage had as much to do with economics as it did with love.

I wonder whether a whole lot has changed.

In Germany, matrimony is encouraged by the tax system. The comically-named “Ehe-Splitting,” (marriage splitting) policy allows married couples to pay tax at a rate determined by their average income. Couples save money by allowing the bigger-earner to avoid a higher tax rate.

Kate Katharina wedded to  hot chocolate while otherwise unattached

Kate Katharina wedded to hot chocolate while otherwise unattached

I have not ruled out sometime marrying LSB, especially if he asks politely.

But the prospect of living out my dying days in a home for “better sorts of unmarried girls” will happily have nothing to do with my decision.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

And for the time being, I’ll avoid both institutions, thank you very much.

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PS – LSB has himself written about the institution of marriage. It’s in response to the debate about gay marriage raging in Ireland at the moment. It’s very clever and persuasive and you can read it here.

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7 thoughts on “Should I get married to avoid the home for superior spinsters?

  1. Frau B’s hinting is so endearing!
    Even if you’re not planning a wedding have a look at the Unitarian Church on St. Stephen’s Green (or anywhere in the world). I didn’t realise that they have been around for centuries and are very libertarian and laid back. They even say that if you have a problem with a woman officiating at your wedding then “we are probably not the church for you”. They are happy to officiate at any type of wedding be it, Gay, Hindu, Jewish, Jedi etc.
    Weddings do not have to be lavish but I know what you mean. Very off-putting! It is possible to craft a celebration that suits you far away from the conveyor belt of hotel weddings and three tiered cake that nobody eats anyway. In the meantime, enjoy your hot chocolate and the LSB!

    • They are! And she certainly has my best interests at heart :) I think she really believes I am constantly waiting to be asked..

      The Unitarian Church sounds wonderful – the perfect location too! Will put it top of the “where to marry if I marry” list!

      I would almost marry just for Frau B’s benefit..Wonder would she manage the trip to the Unitarian church :)

      Lovely to hear from you again! xx

  2. Wedded to hot chocolate on a cold and frosty day in Berlin might indeed be a good choice. To enter a state of “wedlock” voluntarily could certainly be deemed foolish
    especially if there is no mention of a key that fits the lock.
    Excellent and cleverly argued piece by LSB!

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