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Beta testing may work in tech, but not in marriage, experts say

As divorce rates remain high and marriage rates remain low, one solution that has been proposed is a marriage trial run. If one of the spouses isn't satisfied after two years of marriage, the marriage ends.
Emily Hales, Deseret News Modified: July 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm •  Published: August 4, 2014
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As divorce rates remain high and marriage rates remain low, some suggest rethinking the institution and proposing trial runs, which would allow spouses to end their marriage after two years, if they aren't satisfied, and not have to go through a divorce.

However, therapists and religious leaders contend these so-called "beta marriages" offer no real benefit, since neither spouse has to put forth the effort to make a serious, long-term commitment.

"The point of getting married is to stop testing the relationship itself, to stop asking whether your current partner is right for you. The time for questioning, putting one another on trial, holding back one’s full commitment, is called dating," wrote Anna Sutherland, an author for the Institute for Family Studies.

About half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. Only 26 percent of millennials (18- to 34-year-olds) are married, according to Pew Research Center. An informal survey of 1,000 18- to 49-year-olds by USA Today asked respondents whether they would think more favorably of marriage if the institution was updated to fit with modern values. Forty-three percent of millennials surveyed said they supported the idea of beta marriages.

In terms of new technology or websites, beta testing is the stage in which all the bugs or glitches are found and fixed before the release of the finished product to the general public. Advocates of beta marriage support a similar trial period after the wedding to give the couple a chance to work out their own bugs.

Time magazine explained: "When it comes to millennials and marriage, the beta test may be par for the course. And really, why wouldn’t it be? For a generation reared on technology, overwhelmed by choice, feedback and constant FOMO (fear of missing out), isn’t testing a marriage, like we test a username, simply … well, logical?"

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