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Encyclopedia > Starter marriage

A starter marriage is a first marriage that lasts five years or less and ends before the couple has children. The term is a play on the expression "starter home" and appears as one of the footnotes in Douglas Coupland's 1991 novel Generation X. However it did not enter common parlance until the publication of Pamela Paul's 2002 book, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony. Douglas Coupland (born December 30, 1961) is a major Canadian fiction writer as well as a playwright and visual artist. ...

Paul analyzes historical trends in American matrimony, pointing out that Americans are getting married only slightly older now than 100 years ago, but that we are living decades longer. (In fact, Generation X is getting married at a rate closer to that of their grandparents than of their Baby Boomer parents.) She also claims that some young couples get married for reasons not strong enough to support a long relationship, and an increasing number of them end their marriages quickly. Paul's book was controversial[citation needed] in some circles for suggesting that these divorces are a good thing, if they happen quickly enough that the couple has not yet had children. Generation X is a term used to describe generations in many countries around the world. ... A baby boomer is someone who was born during a period of increased birth rates, or baby boom, and the term is particularly applied to those born during the post-World War II period of increased birth rates. ... For the record label, see Divorce Records. ...

Paul's research consists mostly of census data analysis and interviews with dozens of young divorced people. Most of those with whom she spoke fell into certain categories: people who got married to complete a "power couple" life, to move out of their parents' houses, out of fascination with weddings, or because they had been dating a long time and marriage was easier than breaking up. Finally, Paul discusses the emotional wreckage left by these divorces and analyzes public policy that can minimize the damage.

The book came out at the same time as some highly public celebrity breakups, and this helped it garner enormous attention.

In 2005, Kate Harrison published The Starter Marriage: A Novel and Gigi Levangie Grazer published The Starter Wife, both using or riffing off of Paul's use of the term. The latter became the basis of a television miniseries in 2007. A miniseries (sometimes mini-series), in a serial storytelling medium, is a production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. ...


  • The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, Pamela Paul. 2002.
  • http://www.startermarriage.com/

  Results from FactBites:
Kathryn Jean Lopez on starter marriages on National Review Online (823 words)
Paul, confused about her own experience, went out and interviewed 60 former couples, and in the process wrote a book (The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony) and coined the phrase "starter marriage." A starter marriage, according to Paul, is a childless marriage that lasts no more than five years.
Starter marriages end young too, with divorce papers often delivered before the thirtieth-birthday candles are blown out.
But Paul's "starter marriage" discovery is not alone on the bookstore shelf in softening the edge of divorce.
Starter Budget on the cards? (946 words)
The concept of a starter marriage, could be attributed as yet another of the so-called evil influences of the west.
The notion essentially, is that, although these marriages are entered into with the best of intentions, they are doomed from the start, due to unrealistic expectations from the marriage and a casual attitude toward divorce.
The similarities between a starter marriage and a starter Budget are not frivolous.
  More results at FactBites »



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