Marriage extends life

But is rarer than ever

marriage life

marriage life

Wedding bells don’t ring the same tune these days. Eli Finkel, professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, has conducted an analysis on how marriage has changed from a survival method to a respective self-discovery tool.

Over the past hundred years marriage was a method of domestication. Primarily it was an exchange of basic needs. During a time when women were less prone to earn an independent income and the overworked man required home-support for family rearing, marriage was “what was done,” to build families and keep a domestic structure intact. Finkel examines how the new married couple’s needs have changed, thus changing the basis for a happy relationship. “Marriage tends to be healthy for people, but the quality of the marriage is much more important than its mere existence,” said Finkel who found that the new era of matrimony has become less about love being “all we need” and more about a mutual aspiration for self-discovery. With basic survival needs met, partners expect their spouse to help them find themselves within the parameters of a committed relationship. Finkel believes this could lead to promising, long-lasting and more satisfying marriages: “It’s a supply and demand issue. If what you’re asking requires profound insight into each other, you’d better invest a lot of time in each other.” In fact, the physical repercussions of happy wedlock are nothing to ignore, either. In his research, Finkel found that coronary artery bypass patients who claimed to be in satisfying marriages after surgery, were three times more likely to be alive 15 years later than those in less fulfilling relationships.

Finkel’s study covered the arc of marriage evolution over the past three centuries and found that with the rapid increase of divorce rates, the new “self-discovery” type of relationship gives hope to the potential quality of new marriages. He’s optimistic about the new generation’s ability to change our perception of the institution with the necessary effort, of course: “Marriage has a greater potential for greatness than ever before, but a larger proportion of people are failing to meet that potential,” he added.

References: http://home.uchicago.edu/~/cmhui/publications/PI_Suffocation.pdf
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