Marriage is not Obsolete. Commitment Enriches Us.
Dr. Stan Frager and I discuss marriage in today’s world.
Marriage is not obsolete in spite of what Time Magazine and Pew Research say! People are hungrier than ever for committed relationships in our world of distant, impersonal connecting through text messaging and social media. The problem is that we lack good models for lasting marriages based on the accelerated divorce rate that came with easy divorce laws and the Women’s Movement.
The improved financial condition for women meant that financial stability was no longer the primary motivation for remaining married. We ask more of our marriages now in terms of love and happiness than we did in the past. We need to learn the value of commitment. Falling in love is easy. In her famous song “Falling in Love Again” Marlene Dietrich said she did it all the time. Remaining in love is the challenge–it requires commitment: both feet in.
Commitment is how we grow. It teaches us to accept “for better or for worse.” Every relationship has its hard times. The truth is we grow more from what we learn through our difficulties than any other time. For example, in the typical financial conflict in a marriage the saver says: “We can’t afford it.” The spender responds: “We can’t afford not to do it.” The savers may learn that their partners’ spending is what brings the fun and enrichment into their marriages. The spenders, at the same time, may learn that through saving their partners enable them to pay for the fun and enriching experiences. Each brings something the other lacks; together we have more. We must each learn to appreciate our partner’s differences from ourselves.
Either we win together or we lose together. No one can win at their partner’s expense. If you partner loses, you will lose too. Trust me.