Marriage and Self-Expansion

New studies suggest that it’s time to rethink an effective marriage. A recent article in the New York Times called “The Happy Marriage is the ‘Me’ Marriage” compiles a few different studies about what makes marriages last, and the results are different from conventional wisdom. Contrary to notions that two people should put their relationship first, these new results find that the effective marriages are those where each person in the relationship finds something in their partner that allows them to grow as an individual. The lasting marriage is the marriage that allows each person to gain something for their own person, and help their partner do the same.

Not that this means that marriage has to be selfish. While each person gains something from their partner, ideally they also contribute something to their partner’s life as well. The broadening works both ways, and each partner gets pleasure both from personally expanding as well as expanding their partner.

Therefore, it’s worth considering how your partner contributes to your self-expansion, both in examining an existing marriage as well as considering if marriage is right for you and your significant other. Some questions valuable to this consideration include:

1. Do I have a fuller life as a result of my relationship?

2. Have I picked up any new traits or behaviors from my significant other?

3. Am I a better person as a result of my relationship?

4. Have I helped my significant other expand their life?

The new marriage isn’t so much a union, but a partnership. Instead of spouses sacrificing themselves for the sake of the relationship, each partner should look to enrich their life and enrich their spouse’s life.

What do you think about the changing attitudes towards marriage?

JS

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