03/21/2013 04:11 pm ET

What If Marriage Were Temporary?

In Jonathan Swift's 1726 classic Gulliver's Travels, he describes a race of people, the Struldburgs, who are afflicted with the pesky inconvenience of immortality. If two Struldburgs are to marry each other, "of course" the marriage is dissolved, by courtesy of the kingdom, as soon as the younger partner hits 80, "for the law thinks it a reasonable indulgence, that those who are condemned...to a perpetual continuance in the world, should not have their misery doubled by the load of a wife."

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