Shorting Marriage: When it’s sure to fail


Getting married is a lot like investing in the stock market. In the long run you could end up with a robust investment portfolio that’s seen solid and steady growth over the years, with negligible ups and downs, ready to relax and retire. Or, you could end up losing it all, because you chose some pretty bad stocks, let someone else manage your portfolio, or simply thought you could buy and hold without ever revisiting your investment approach again.

In a recent conversation, when the topic of marriage and divorce statistics came up, a comment was made: “If marriage was a stock, I’d short it.”

This was not my comment, and short selling still confuses me. But generally, I’d say it’s the difference between betting on the success or failure of a stock. It is curious, that divorce has become so predictable, we can be sure our friends and acquaintances are casting lots on marriage failure rather than success.

When the odds of success are not in our favor, should we stop investing altogether?

Should we cut our losses and move to the mountains with what little cash we have left?

Or, perhaps the system sets us up for failure from the beginning.
Some choose to stay out. To dabble in stocks here and there. Or to lobby against the system that seems to have become mysteriously devalued – with no one truly able to pinpoint the long-term trajectory.

The modern “traditional” sense of marriage hasn’t always existed, nor has the stock market. But we evolved. We needed a means to finance companies, to overcome the obstacles created by the distance between traders of goods. We also need companionship, some sense of unity, and a way to ensure our financial future. The basic tenants of long-term relationships most likely won’t change. But the way it looks, the means by which we choose to invest toward a certain relational outcome, will continue to evolve—until the bubble finally bursts.

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