The recent conversations about same-sex marriage have got me thinking. Someone on a talk show pointed out that the argument for “traditional marriages” was questionable, since marriage “traditions” of our not so distant past included a man’s obligation to marry his brother’s widow, arranged marriages for financial and political agreements, and a 60 percent divorce rate. It wasn’t until relatively recently that we married for love, and that doesn’t seem to be working out so well.
Is your response to emotional pain helping or hurting your relationship?
How understanding the phases of your relationship can help you stay in love.
I’ve been married 30 years. My wife has several health ailments, because of which our love style has changed. We are no longer having sex.
So you think you know what you want: But are you sure?
When I was much younger and pondering having children as a life’s path, my girlfriend who had children said, “You should only have kids if you can’t live without having kids—it requires that much commitment.” When I really thought about it, I began to realize that while I had all the proper maternal instincts, the pressure to be a mom was more of a cultural society thing than my own real goal. I could live without making that choice. Ever since, I chose to “birth books and borrow babies” instead.
For 12 years, Brigham Young University assistant professor Jeremy Yorgason, Ph.D., and his colleagues tracked 1,217 married couples, randomly selected from around the United States. The participants ranged from 36 to 75 years old. Either the husbands or the wives had permanent physical conditions that restricted their ability to dress, bathe, eat, or work around the house.
My husband and I met while I was on Maui on vacation and spent the next five months on the phone, back in the pre-Internet days. While “dating” long distance between Maui and California, we decided to ask a lot of questions to see if we were really compatible. (This is how my book, Intellectual Foreplay: Questions for Lovers and Lovers-to-Be was conceived.) Initially, I was focused on asking the right questions, paying close attention to his answers, trying to determine if he was the right partner for me.
I have performed hundreds of weddings and have come to the conclusion (completely unverified) that you can tell a lot about the dynamics of the marriage by how the couple behaves while getting married. One wedding I performed involved a couple that already had a child. While the groom focused on his friends in the audience, the bride focused on their baby and neither of them appeared to be aware of the other. Their marriage only lasted a few years.