Monday, September 12, 2011

A successful marriage

Dan Savage always has interesting things to say, and more often than not he also has correct things to say.  This video contains one gem in particular:  The idea that a marriage can be determined to be successful or not based on whether or not somebody died.  The meat of it is in the second half, if you want to skip ahead.

It is entirely true.  There is a real tendency for people to talk about 'the state of marriage' based solely on divorce statistics, which certainly tells you how often marriages end in divorce instead of death but gives no indicator at all about how happy the people involved are.  If anything I would think that the current high divorce rate (high as compared to say, the 1950s) is an indicator that the people involved in marriage are probably much happier.  Now it is much easier for those in relationships that are abusive, destructive or even just annoying to get out and find a better relationship while those who want to stay together continue to do so.  Back when the average marriage lasted 7 years because somebody involved would die a lifetime commitment was a lot more sensible but these days we can very realistically expect 50 years together.  Staying together for a lifetime on the basis that both partners want to is a great thing but expecting that everybody can find someone at age 25 who will fullfill them for 50 years is insane.

I got into marriage with the expectation of being together forever.  That said, even if Wendy and I had a terrible year and got divorced in 2012 I wouldn't look back on my relationship with her as a failure at all - 9 good years and 1 bad year is still a big positive in my books.

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