Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Marriage: "You Complete Me"

Ann Althouse has an interesting post relating to this historian's view that modern marriages put too much pressure on each other for life happiness. She says:

And so married people turned to each other. To excess. This peaked in the 1950s, and after that, there was some healthy skepticism of the overly insular family. But somehow we're drifting back into an excessively marriage-focused way of living.

The problem, in Coontz's view, is not only that we deny ourselves the happiness to be found in friendships, but also that by expecting so much from one romantic relationship, we can put so much pressure on it that it breaks. What's worse, if the marriage was our source of happiness, we have nothing.
No friendship substitutes for a good marriage. A marginal marriage can be saved by external friendships, though. No one person can be everything to another person. Commenter "me" says this:
Marriage has always had a storied past. Just look at the Hebrew marriage contracts. They were as complex as as a leveraged airplane lease. I don't think there was ever any ideal period for marriage. I believe the most successful marriages are between relatively independent people that could live well enough alone, but enjoy each other's company.
If you can't be happy with yourself, how can you be happy with someone else?


Anonymous said...

There is a lot of truth in this. I believe my own parents' marriage fell apart due to it. My mother grew up on Victorian novels and romantic movies, but my dad's culture was entirely different--all science, engineering and How to Get Ahead. He had no idea what she expected. *Love* became the dominant religion forh a lot of women and I know I'm not the first one to notice it. Expecting your partner to be God is not bode well for the marriage. And so destructive for the children!

Anonymous said...

Ann Althouse did a great job with her post on this topic. Marriage can be one of the most fulfilling experiences or one of the most lonliest on the face of the earth.