Ok ill add something from personal experiance.
I WAS one of those young idiots who got married and after 2 yrs we split. Actually i left him and he didnt take it well. BUT i was more in love with the idea of marriage than the commitment itself i think. I was so excited to be telling people i was getting married to this older guy (who i worshipped at the time) that i was blinded by the fact we had a sh!t relationship and it wasnt worth anything, let alone marraige! I was 20 and he was 31. He had no job, was an alcoholic and just a no hoper. But i didnt realise any of that and just thought i was so lucky to be getting married. At the time i DID think we would be together forever so i have no problems about commitment but like i said i jsut didnt realise i had picked a d!ckhead. Not long after we were married he went to visit his parents in UK and was gone for a few months. I didnt cheat, i stayed devoted but it made me realise (by not having him there) how much i was holding myself back by being with him. So when he got back, we stayed together for awhile. It got rocky as i became distant. He still didnt have a job and was drinking our (see: MY) money away and becoming agressive etc (he has manic depression aswell). And when i met my now DP, he made me realise how GOOD a man i deserve. Not the sh!theap i was with at the time. So i left him. Ex didnt take it well and moved back to UK to live with his parents.
OMG! ... it's like you wrote down my EXACT story! The only difference is that in my case I never ended up going through with the wedding. We were engaged, but I just kept putting it off, never set a date etc.
I think that when you're in a relationship, and ESPECIALLY when kids are involved; there is a lot of pressure to get married, for lots of people it just seems like the natural "next step". I felt a lot of pressure from friends, family and particularly my partner at the time (as though he had something to prove by going through with a wedding) and he even went so far as to say the reason he cheated on me (and he did, regularly) was that we WEREN'T married and therefore he didn't feel as commited to me as he should (so watching me give birth to your children was...?) and if I married him, the cheating would stop. (ha!)
There is a lot of focus on the wedding day and what a great "party" it will be, but little talk about what is involved in the marriage.
I guess in a lot of ways; you can compare it to a pregnancy... people flock to hear your birth plan and talk about having a 'new baby' but few people talk about 'raising a child' and the fact that one the baby is born and the endorphins wear off, you are commited to that child for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. ... I hope that makes sense?
(not comparing the relationship in a marriage to a mother-child relationship, just trying to emphasise the fact that people focus on the one day when both are so much more)
I guess the point I'm trying to make is; if I HAD married him I couldn't imagine anything worse than a difficult divorse and being forced to face him over and over in a court battle. I think part of the answer would be making it harder to MARRY in the first place. Give people a chance to do some pre-marital councelling and even a 5, 10, 20 year plan so they both know they're on the same track and have the same goals in life BEFORE they commit to do it together!