Why a Good Marriage Is the Ultimate in Freedom

loveu-podcast-episode-42

In a good marriage, you have the freedom to be the best version of yourself. It’s a foundation upon which you can build the rest of your life. This may seem hard to believe, but it’s not the institution of marriage that’s the problem; it’s been a combination of you and your choice of partner. Listen to this Love U Podcast to confirm that, in fact, a good marriage is the most joyous, liberating, strengthening, and freeing opportunity on Earth.

Click here to sign up for Love U 2-week free trial.

Watch: YouTube

Enjoy the podcast? Please leave a short review on iTunes by clicking "View in iTunes" and then "Ratings and Reviews."

Join 10 Million Readers

And the thousands of women I've helped find true love. Sign up for weekly updates for help understanding men.

I hate spam as much as you do, therefore I will never sell, rent, or give away your email address.

Join our conversation (65 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Noquay

    I totally agree Evan. A good spouse is on your side, has your back, supports you even in those things they themselves aren’t interested in and vice versa. Life is enhanced rather more stressful with the right spouse. Had a great marriage and sadly, have never found anyone remotely as compatible. Miss him every day.

  2. 2
    Adilia

    One thing I don’t agree with here…
    If he does say 25% of the housework it doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing less housework than if you lived alone and were doing 100% of the housework. In my experience 75% of the housework that needs to be taken care of is my boyfriends mess. So if 75% is his mess and he helps with 25% of the housework, I’m still doing 50% more than I’d be doing if I lived alone. It was sooo easy to keep a clean house when I lived alone. ahhhh I miss that!
    Something to think about!
    Love everything else you had to say <3

  3. 3
    Karin

    I 100% agree that always trying to achieve a 50/50 split on everything is actually counterintuitive and, from personal experience, I would say that it does lead to resentment. In my previous marriage I was constantly trying to achieve a 50/50 balance when it came to everything, because I thought it was just and fair, but in reality my ex-husband ended up doing about 30% of the housework (and expected a medal for doing so), 30% of the childrearing, 40% of the earning, and, to be honest, about 70% of the spending as he really liked to live a lavish lifestyle. I ended up feeling totally exhausted and started to hate both my job and being a mother, while he got loads of praise for being such a great husband for helping me with the house and spending time playing with his children.

    Now that we are divorced (like you said about living alone), I do 100% of the housework, 90% of the childrearing, 95% of the earning to support my children and me (his contribution is laughable), and let’s face it I don’t get to do any spending apart from meeting basic needs. And you know what? I am 100 times happier than I was when we were married. Why? Because it makes me happy to maintain a nice home for me and my children (I’m actually good at it, who knew), I really settled into being a mother without my ex-husband there to mother too (he was insecure and required a lot of attention) and I love it because they really appreciate me and make my life happier (okay more chaotic and tiring too but that’s okay). And regarding my job, my attitude changed too because I HAVE to be there for my children at evenings and weekends or if they are sick so my boss will just have to deal with it. And getting a promotion can wait until my children don’t need me as much – I already earn a six-figure salary, my ego can wait.

    Luckily I got married and had children young, and I see the divorce as a new opportunity. Having done it all, i.e. 100% of childrearing/housework/breadwinning, I actually have a good perspective on what I like to do and what is most important to me. When I was married and we tried to share everything equally it was a blurry mess. Now I know that in a future marriage I wouldn’t mind doing 80% of the housework and 80% of the childrearing if my husband was happy to contribute more in another area i.e. being the sole breadwinner while I take a career break while the kids are young. Yes, I know that looks a lot like traditional gender roles and you could say that would be a waste of all the effort I’ve put into my career and education thus far, but hey, I want to be HAPPY in life.

    I recently went on a date with a guy who uttered the dreaded words “head of the household” and I almost ran out of the restaurant screaming. But I persevered and realized that yes, he is a traditional guy, but he’s actually really generous and kind-hearted and really respects women. When he told me that he thinks it great that I “want to be a wife and a mother”, firstly I was like “What? I do? Really?”, and then I realized that not only is he actually right, but I was also able to appreciate it as a compliment – it feel nice for someone to value my motherly and wife skills.

     

     

    1. 3.1
      Stacy2

      Karin, I so know what you mean. My ex husband was exactly like that, and I was also killing myself trying to be a “good partner”, which I stupidly assume would mean shouldering the load and doing 50% of everything. Of course I ended up doing most of everything and being resentful, and the funny thing is he ended up being resentful too – because I didn’t have the energy nor frankly the desire to “mother” him (plus his own issues too). I am so blessed that we didn’t have kids, the idea of having to co-parent with this individual is sickening.

      To your point though: women on this blog get routinely beat up for wanting a guy who makes more than us. I am gonna get a lot of negative reactions to this, but if a man doesn’t make more than a woman, there’s virtually zero other ways for him to contribute 50% or more of the overall effort that goes into creating a family, a home. No guy is going to do as much child-rearing (by definition) and rarely would a guy do enough to keep the house neat (even in between housekeeper visits it still takes effort!) and so on and so forth. The only way for men to level the field here is to bring in more $$ (aka a main breadwinner). Coincidentally, most stable happy families (including Evan’s which he likes to use as an example) involve exactly this scenario – a guy making much more.

       

      1. 3.1.1
        EM

        I make more, my partner stays home with our daughter and does most of the housework. He was always way better at it than me and is a fantastic stay at home dad. We both feel valued which is stable for us. YMMV, but stable can involve traditional gender roles, but doesn’t have to.

        1. Stacy2

          Your arrangement DOES involve traditional gender roles, only you have reversed the polarity and you’re being the “man”. Which if it works for you is wonderful. I know I wouldn’t be able to tolerate being pregnant/breastfeeding/sleepless nights/commute/10hour work days while being a main breadwinner while my husband is staying at home. It have no desire to be that wonder-woman, it’s too lopsided. But if are/were ok with it and it worked – good for your.

    2. 3.2
      Nissa

      You made me laugh with your story about ‘dreaded words’. I had that too. On a first date, a guy was persistent in asking why my marriage ended. I told him that my ex and I just didn’t want the same things, which was not only true but I thought that would end the questioning. Nope! My date wanted specifics! I admitted that I wanted pets (my ex didn’t) and my ex wanted to move out of state (I didn’t).

      To which he said, “Well, when you love someone, you just want what they want”.

      I broke a land speed record running away.

  4. 4
    Malika

    A marriage that feels like home, that is most definitely what we all want! Whenever Evan talks about all the benefits of being in a good relationship, it motivates me even more to go out on dates, even though it would be preferable to curl up on the sofa and watch the umpteenth episode of Game of Thrones.

    I find accepting the totality of the man that i am dating the hardest aspect of any romantic relationship. I have never dated a man who i found perfect, there has always been something that seemed like an insumountable dealbreaker. It’s partly part of my perfectionist nature, and partly because i am hell bent on avoiding ending up in the deeply unhappy marriage my parents were in. Some dealbreakers were genuinely unsolvable (substance abuse, rampantly bigoted thinking), but others would have been traits i could have worked around (asperger-like attention to detail, shy and retiring, lower sex drive). What is funny is that i have no problems accepting the flaws of my good friends and focusing on the positive qualities they have to bring to our friendship. It of course helps that we are not spending 24/7 with each other, but i would have missed out on the five million moments of laughter and joy i have shared with my dear friends, if i had applied the same level of scrutiny and judgment to my friendships that i have towards my platonic relationships. My new years resolutions? Focusing on what great qualities the guy brings to the table instead of nitpicking on all the things he cannot.

    1. 4.1
      Christine

      A good relationship really is worth it, and I think you’ve got the right idea!  Instead of “perfect”, I think we should all strive for “perfect for me”.  I think that’s what I have now.  For instance, I’m sure my sometimes indecisive personality would probably annoy some people.  But luckily, I’m with someone who doesn’t mind taking the lead and planning/organizing things.  In return, he gets someone who doesn’t fight him over every little thing.  In fact, he often butted heads with more “alpha” exes who always insisted on controlling and planning everything themselves (regardless of what he wanted).  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not perfect, but that I’m perfect for him.

      He’ll be the first to admit that he’s not perfect either.  For instance, he had one ex who insisted he fund her “high end” lifestyle–whereas he’s more frugal (which might be putting it nicely–she called it “cheap”).  He certainly wasn’t “perfect” in her eyes.  However, he’s perfect for me because I personally like a simpler lifestyle and don’t require expensive things to be happy.

      I read somewhere that a romance is a “friendship that has caught fire”, and think that really is about right.  I think if you approach romance the way you do friendships (with chemistry also added to the mix), you’ll find your relationship sooner than later. 🙂

    1. 5.1
      Christine

      Thanks for sharing that article.  I think the key is to learn how to communicate our (realistic) expectations–rather than expecting partners to magically read our minds, then be resentful when they don’t!

  5. 6
    KK

    Sobering statistics considering 40 – 50% of marriages end in divorce, and that out of the remaining marriages, only one third are happy.

      1. 6.1.1
        FG

        Evan, both accurate and false! 🙂
        I’m sure you’ve noticed that your clients are American, but your readers drop in from all over!

        In the U.S., seems divorce rate is falling. It is in the 30%-35% range. Marriage is not faring so well, but the divorce rate is dropping faster than the marriage rate is declining.
        Since post-cohabitation separation does not necessarily entail a judicial process, getting a fix on couple survivability can be extra challenging.

        But, wait a second, in France, the divorce rate is 45%. Where I live, it is 52%. And for cohabitation partners, I’ve seen so many split up as to reach bewilderment and a stiff neck from watching the traffic!

    1. 6.2
      Henriette

      In his (albeit mediocre) book on the subject ~ Happily Ever After ~ social scientist Ty Tashiro states that 30% of all marriages are happy successes.  The unhappy 70% includes those who divorce, so KK’s stats are definitely wrong.

      Evan isn’t stating that there are no bad marriages, just that a great marriage is a wonderful thing and that it’s possible to improve your chances of having one of the great marriages by making smart choices.  For instance, people who marry wait until at least their late 20s before marrying; who date for 2-3 years before wedding; who have dealt with their own worst issues (like addressing substance abuse issues, or going through therapy to sort through childhood traumas) before entering into a couple all have a better chance of co-creating a successful union.

      1. 6.2.1
        KK

        In the video, Evan stated one third of marriages are happy marriages. That means two thirds aren’t happy and is separate from the divorce rate. There’s a lot of different data on the current rate of divorce. I’m not going to debate it.

        As for the rest of your comment, I know what Evan stated. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

         

        1. Henriette

          “Of all the people who marry, only 30% sustain healthy, happy marriages. So says Ty Tashiro, in his book The Science of Happily Ever After.”  So, no, the divorce rate is not separate from the 70%. You’re welcome, Dr. Reading Comprehension.

        2. KK

          You’re right. Those are great odds. (Eye roll)

        3. Stacy2

          KK: I am with you on this. The odds are pretty bad. Nobody I think is arguing that having a good marriage is a good thing. Its kind of a duh statement. Yes it is great to be in a good marriage, it is also great to be rich and healthy and lucky etc. Problem is, its simply not achievable for the most people. When I look around I can count happily married couples that I know on one hand. What do they all have in common? The husband making a lot more money, wife either stays at home or works light hours (doctor working 3 days a week) or is a creative type (model – real one). “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” – Leo Tolstoy. Genius.

        4. Henriette

          @Stacy2 – My anecdotal observations are similar to yours: the happiest marriages I see in real life are those where the husband earns a lot more than the wife.  But where we differ is in the conclusions we draw.  I realise that since I’m only familiar with about 25/30 couples well enough to know if they’re truly happy, this is too small a sample size from which to draw major conclusions.   I’m sure there are millions of happy marriages in which the husbands earn the same or even *gasp* less than the wives.  I also believe that ~ while there are no guarantees of happiness ~ we can significantly increase our chances by making smart choices.

          No one is forcing us to wed.   We’re fortunate that those of us who don’t like the odds can choose, instead, to remain happily single, forever.

    2. 6.3
      Henriette

      Ummmmmmm… who, besides you, wrote anything about “great odds,” @KK?  Most people who wed aren’t happy but it’s been shown that we can greatly increase our chance of a happy marriage by following a few not-so-complicated guidelines.  And those people who do have happy marriages are shown to have richer, happier lives than those of us who are happy singles.

      For someone who claims to “know what Evan said,” you certainly seem to miss his point.

      1. 6.3.1
        KK

        Thanks, Stacy.

        Henriette, I read the post and watched the video. You know what I got out of it? To simplify, Evan (and his wife) got lucky. He stated he had been involved with two other women before her that he was crazy about. You don’t think if either one of them hadn’t broken up with him, he might not have very well ended up married to one of them? Then unhappy? Then divorced? He didn’t follow any guidelines. He lucked out. And that seems to be the one thing you can’t predict.

         

        1. Chance

          KK, you create your own “luck”.

        2. KK

          Gosh, Chance, I never would’ve imagined you’d disagree with me. LOL!

          Yes, we create our own luck… Partially, with the things we can control. We can’t control other people, though.

          But, since we’re on the subject, what kind of luck have you created in relationships? Are you planning on marrying the woman you’re involved with? I’m asking because I’ve sensed a little anti- marriage sentiment from you. Correct me if I’m wrong. If true though, why so? Is it possible you don’t believe you can be lucky in love (in a marriage)?

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          You don’t give me nearly enough credit. I’ll bet you haven’t taken Love U either.

        4. Chance

          KK, when someone’s LTR or marriage fails, it is almost always the fault of both parties to varying degrees.  It seems like most of the women here claim that the demise of their marriages were, at least largely, not their fault.  I would argue that these women haven’t been sufficiently introspective and/or have listened to their girlfriends’ insincere positive reinforcement.

        5. GoWiththeFlow

          I agree with Chance.  In many instances good choices have a way of creating good luck.  By attributing everything to luck, a person gives up their own agency to change their circumstances.

        6. KK

          Chance, I find it interesting you never answer a direct question. But to your newest comment, I agree. It is almost always the fault of both parties. But, not always and I think it’s naive not to acknowledge that. Sounds like you’re thinking is a little black and white on this issue.

          GWTF, I agree we create our own luck in good choices and the things we can control. But I also think that there are many things we can’t control and you can call it luck (good or bad) or fate or whatever you want. The 10 year old that’s diagnosed with a life threatening cancer hasn’t created their own luck or the mom who miscarries or the man whose wife walks out for no apparent reason. So yes, exercise your agency by all means and do everything within your power to lead the life you want even if you’ve been dealt a bad hand. So no, I don’t nor would I ever attribute everything to luck.

        7. Henriette

          Ok, @KK I agree with much of your latest comment.  If those ex-girlfriends hadn’t broken up with him, EMK might have married them and been miserable.  I guess the guidelines, common sense, or whatever we want to call it, that Evan did follow was to give his now-wife ~ who was not really the “kind of person” he ever thought he’d marry ~ a chance.  And when he saw how happy he was with her, forced himself to acknowledge that was more important than her being Jewish, Ivy League-educated, or a quoter of Portnoy’s Complaint.  I absolutely concur that, to a certain extent, having a happy marriage is luck but I also  believe that we can improve our odds of being one of the lucky ones.    You see?  We agree more than we disagree, after all 😉

        8. Chance

          Hi Henriette,

           

          I may be misunderstanding what you’re saying, but I don’t consider it to be serendipitous for a person to be dumped by someone who doesn’t want to be with him/her anymore.  I would consider this to be an occurance that is generally expected in this type of situation.  I generally wouldn’t expect someone to marry a person whom he/she doesn’t want to marry (although, this may happen at times).  Therefore, it seems to me that KK is saying that EMK is lucky to have these two women break up with him despite it being an expected reaction given their feelings for him.  While it may have been the best thing that ever happened to him, I wouldn’t call it “luck”.  On the contrary, it would have been lucky for EMK to have a successful marriage with either of these women who had serious unresolved doubts about marrying him at the time they got married.  Hopefully, I explained that clearly, but it doesn’t appear that KK’s stance is rooted in logic.

        9. Henriette

          Haha @ Chance.  Yessir, I do think I understand what you’re saying (writing) and I agree that, to some extent, we help create our own luck.

          HOWEVER, I still maintain it was lucky those unsuitable women broke up with Evan bc I’ve actually witnessed too many couples marry where one partner seemed to genuinely dislike or disrespect the other, even from the beginning.  Haven’t you seen women marry guys they held in disdain because their biological clocks were ticking, or they were tired of being the last single person in their group of friends?  Haven’t you seen men marry women they weren’t attracted to and who they cheated on, because they wanted someone to cook and clean for them?

          Unlike you, I don’t necessarily expect someone to initiate a split when they harbour negative feelings for their partner.   So I maintain that Evan was lucky that those girlfriends quickly broke up with him, and then he and his wife greatly increased their chances of being lucky, by choosing wisely.

  6. 7
    KK

    Evan, I give you lots of credit. You sound like a great husband and father. I also give credit to all the amazing people I’ve known who had marriages that didn’t work out through no fault of their own.

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      One can choose high character, low risk partners. It’s not an accident that I chose wisely, nor are most people innocent of their own choices.

      1. 7.1.1
        KK

        Absolutely. But didn’t your wife’s first husband have some character issues? I don’t know the details, so unlike Chance, I won’t assume she chose poorly. Maybe she did. Maybe not. Maybe she didn’t have all the information she thought she had and was surprised by his lack of character. I don’t know.

      2. 7.1.2
        Chance

        Agree.  This is, in part, what I was trying to get at in my response to KK, and it is a salient point in relation to this comment from her:

         

        “Yes, we create our own luck… Partially, with the things we can control. We can’t control other people, though.”

         

        Like you said, we can control the person we choose for a relationship or marriage partner.  Furthermore, we have much more control over how our partner feels about us (as well as how his/her feelings about us may change over time) than most of us are comfortable with acknowledging.

        1. KK

          Chance,

          Can you control if your partner starts to display signs of mental illness? Can you control whether your partner takes the medication they are prescribed?

          You can’t.

          You can support and encourage and enforce boundaries when they are crossed.

          You are not an authority on every experience of every person in every marriage. And for you to judge every woman on here who you believe is not accepting their fair share of the break down of their marriage is just ignorant.

        2. Chance

          @KK-Not sure that I understand the point of your comment as you seem to be arguing against stances that no one has taken on here.

        3. KK

          Your stance and what you can and can’t control, Chance.

        4. Chance

          KK, no one is saying that the breakdown of a relationship is always the fault of both parties, but most of the time it is to varying degrees.

  7. 8
    Stacy2

    Please people don’t over estimate how much you “control” you really have. It’s a lie we tell ourselves to make us feel better. You can meet a person who is very much together, marry that person only to see them fall apart in the face of the first adversity they face. You can see your partner change for various reasons and become a different person than the one you married. You can see them drink themselves to death while refusing to do anything about it. If you are in a good marriage count your blessings and don’t brag about it too much or you may jinx it (and look like a typical “smug married” person in the process). A lot of things can happen in life and just because you chose somebody who appeared “high character low risk parter” doesn actually mean that that’s who they really are or that they will stay that way.

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      This smug married person has a choice about letting you post here. If you don’t like what I have to say, the internet is a big place.

      1. 8.1.1
        ScottH

        this seems like a harsh response.  she speaks her truth.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          So does Donald Trump. Doesn’t mean it’s the whole truth. I was told that my marriage and career were a matter of luck. I beg to differ. I have the facts on my side. So, no, not all opinions are created equal. Everyone is in expert in her own life; few are experts in understanding and helping people with their own.

    2. 8.2
      Tyrone

      @Stacy2

      If you are in a good marriage/relationship why wouldn’t you brag and share what works well for you with others? It’s an accomplishment to keep it going, which you admit in your own post. And people are often looking for relationship advice. Kinda like they do here.

      You still have control if your partner does any of those things you listed. You control your own life. Agency. If you can’t help them help themselves, you can leave, rather than go down with the ship.

      1. 8.2.1
        Stacy2

        @ Tyron:

        At the end of the day the only “control” you have is to leave them, not to fix your marriage, which is control of your life for sure, but hardly any control of the marriage or the other person at all.

        Or may be you know something I  don’t and you can show me how to control a person who turns from a respectful successful professional into a randomly psychotic loser, stays up all night doing drugs, and because he feels so “hurt” he feels like waking you up by throwing water at you and keeping you awake all night knowing that you just worked a 12 hour day and will have to again tomorrow. Show me how much “control” you will exercise in that situation or talk to me about how you would “enforce your boundaries” (hint: telling that person in a firm voice that you’re enforcing boundaries does NOT work).  The reality is people change, and no matter how many “boxes” you checked before marrying them, there’s never a guarantee, nor is it in your sole power to save your marriage. For this reason, it is always presumptuous to claim full credit for being in a good marriage and claim that it is solely a result of your wise choice of a partner.

  8. 9
    John

    I look at the word luck as an acronym:

    Laboring

    Under

    Correct

    Knowledge

    The harder I work, the luckier I get.

     

  9. 10
    Shaukat

    @Stacy2

    In this era, and given your salary, you should be able to determine within six months to a year whether the person you’re with is psychotic. If they develop a problem after you’ve committed (alcohol, drugs, etc) then you can decide whether you want to stick with them. But since it’s not the 50s, you have much more time, and greater capacity, to draw that conclusion  than previous generations.  I think part of the problem is that you jumped the gun in your previous marriages, didn’t take your time to develop a trusting relationship with your previous partners. and so now you’re on this crusade to convince people that romantic relationships are a dead end.

    KK is in a similar situation. Yes, marriages break down for multiple reasons. But if you use proper judgment, and break away from biblical dogma, you can start to recognize potential partners with integrity.

    1. 10.1
      KK

      Biblical dogma interferes with ones ability to recognize integrity?  LOL.

      1. 10.1.1
        Chance

        What an idiotic comment.  I can only imagine it got through due to the time of day it was posted.

        1. KK

          What’s idiotic, Chance? Isn’t it idiotic to make anti- Christian comments? On another post, he attacked me because the word “blessing” offended him. It is it only idiotic if it offends you?

          Please, Chance, leave me alone. We do not agree on anything. I do not respect you or your position. I don’t respect the fact that you’re here to “fight back” against women. You’re a troll, but because you’re sneakier than most and not brazen about it, you won’t be asked to leave. So, Chance, since you have NEVER answered a direct question, because communication and understanding is not your goal here, please leave me alone.

      2. 10.1.2
        Shaukat

        Ha, I’m an atheist kk, so the cultural origin of my name is irrelevant. And I’m not ‘offended’ by any terms or words, but I do oppose dogma. On separate threads you’ve stated that women who  engage in casual sex are ‘slutty,’ that men who don’t offer commitment before sex are ‘trash’, and you told another poster that he was immoral without knowing, or caring, about the circumstances of his infidelity. I can only assume that your black and white thinking on numerous topics is informed by dogma.

        Also, based on your comment above, it’s clear that the comparison Chance drew to Sarah Palin was too generous. I’m thinking more Kathy Bates from the movie ‘Misery’ or the mother in ‘Carrie.’

        1. KK

          Gosh, you sure SOUND offended. Lol.

    2. 10.2
      Stacy2

      I dated my ex-husband for the “recommended” 2.5  years (6 months engagement) prior to marrying him. We lived together for a year. We were both over 30. We were both gainfully employed and had the same stated objectives in life. I’d say I did everything “by the book”. Aside from my first marriage, I haven’t had a single romantic relationship in my life that wouldn’t be a huge disappointment, so excuse me for being a skeptic. What do they say? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result?

      1. 10.2.1
        KK

        Stacy2,

        It seems they can’t imagine someone going from wonderful and amazing to nightmarish. It must somehow be your (or my) fault. We either caused the transformation or weren’t diligent enough in our vetting. Lucky for them they aren’t familiar with that experience. I guess ignorance truly is bliss.

      2. 10.2.2
        Nissa

        You know, I see both sides of this.

        On one hand, people do change. My first serious boyfriend quit school while I was working two jobs to support us, and I was too tired & gone too much to realize it. He started smoking but hid it by saying he was visiting a friend who smoked. Not to mention the ‘just a friend’ he’d been ‘tutoring’ for six months who showed up pregnant. After that disaster, I recovered, dated & married. My now EX-husband never drank in front of me the whole first year we lived together. Because I don’t drink, it literally never occurred to me that he might be acting differently in my presence. We never even talked about it. In the second year, we went to a few parties and it turned out he could drink 14 beers with no visible signs of impairment. Never having known any alcoholics, I dismissed this as being ‘something people do at parties’. And, it turns out, the last several years of our marriage.

        Looking back, I didn’t ask a lot of questions. Both kept me away from their families and had poor relationships with their moms. Neither were habitual liars, but neither had any particular faith or personal integrity paradigms that they espoused. Since I didn’t either, it never occurred to me to ask about this stuff. I just assumed they were honest. Both of them managed to hide these behaviors for over a year while we were living together. I assumed I was getting to know them and seeing what there was to see. After all, it makes not sense to be in a relationship and hide who you are, right? So, did they change? Were they always like that? Hard to say.

    3. 10.3
      ScottH

      “Yes, marriages break down for multiple reasons. But if you use proper judgment, and break away from biblical dogma, you can start to recognize potential partners with integrity.”

      Seriously?  Mr Kalas who is a very experienced therapist is divorced was suddenly left by his wife with no explanation.  Mr Kalas is an accomplished personal and marital therapist.  His judgment is “proper.”

      There are so many things that cannot be predicted or controlled that can change in a relationship.  If you are in a good one, you are truly luck and blessed.  And yes, I do believe that you can increase your chances of being lucky, but at the same time, you can’t control if your partner is suddenly hit by a bus or drunk driver or has some strange epiphany and becomes a suddenly different person.

      As to one partner or both being at fault, Mr Kalas has a column about that:

      http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/steven-kalas/it-always-takes-two-reconcile-damaged-marriage

      1. 10.3.1
        KK

        Thank you, Scott! : )

        Excellent article.

  10. 11
    Mattie

    Hi Evan,

    Thanks for another inspiring blog post. You are my dating advice hero.

    I’m writing to address the title of your podcast and the podcast’s premise that marriage is the ultimate freedom and the ideal way to transform one’s life. For those who have a great marriage and have never experienced happiness that transcends it, I can see why it might seem like their marriage is as good as it gets.

    However, as a Buddhist who chants Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and studies Nichiren Buddhism daily and has practiced this way for over 30 years, I have lived the reality that ultimate happiness cannot be granted to one person based on their relationship with or to another, including a wonderful spouse. Ultimate happiness can only be acquired from and experienced within one’s own life.

    This kind of happiness can’t be fully described to someone who has never known it, just as one can’t fully describe how a great marriage feels or how a delicious apple tastes. There is only one way to really know what it’s like to be happily married–one has to have a happy  marriage. There is only one way of really knowing the taste of an apple–one has to eat it. There is only one way to know absolute happiness–one has to attain it. Buddhists call this happiness enlightenment.

    I’ve never had a happy marriage but, if I do, I don’t expect it to bring me ultimate happiness. After twenty-two years of marriage, right now I don’t even want to get married. But I do want a joy-filled relationship with a man who remains by my side for the rest of our lives. Yet, even if I never reach this goal in this lifetime, I know I will die happy as long as I continue to do what enables me to live happily. Because death is the final experience, I think it’s crucial to live in a way that ensures it will be our best one.

    Whether or not one calls absolute happiness, unlimited freedom, and boundless joy enlightenment, these reside within one’s own life–not even a wonderful marriage can provide them. If it could, those who never marry would be doomed to a life that lacks these three experiences. But I believe these three are everyone’s birthright, and we all will eventually experience them in this lifetime or another and whether we’re happily married or not.

    In my opinion, to suggest someone’s happiness is not as great as it could be because they aren’t married is limited thinking, just as limited as thinking one’s dream job or children or income, etc. are the key to true happiness. In each of these cases, including marriage, happiness is defined by outward circumstances.

    Yet, there are very happy spouses who have a definition of true happiness that exists on a higher level than their marriage. My father, a Baptist preacher, loved my mother with all his heart and she felt the same about him. Even on his deathbed two years ago, at age 91, he asked her to cuddle next to him in his hospice bed. He never lost his desire for her. At yet, for him, his marriage did not embody ideal happiness; his relationship with God did. He based his marriage on that.

    I’m not saying nor do I believe one has to be at all religious to experience absolute happiness, boundless joy, and unlimited freedom. Once again, what I am saying and do believe is that the only place to find them is within.

  11. 12
    Pamela

     I agree with everything except totally excepting EVERYTHING about the person you care about. What if they need help in the grooming department? Or don’t know how to turn you on or please you sexually? If he’s a good guy, I will stay. But he has to work on those things. Sometimes it’s about seeing that person’s potential and making them better. We can ALWAYS be better.

  12. 13
    Jordan

    I disagree that any marriage is the ultimate in freedom.

    Being single is the ultimate in freedom.

    Here’s why:

    If you are married:

    Can you disappear for 6 months at a time to go hike the Appalachian Trail on a whim?

    Can you come and go whenever you please and come in and out at all hours of the day without telling anyone?

    Can you go bang a different person ever night of the week?

    Can you watch whatever you want on TV whenever you want without compromise?

    Can you watch porn anytime that you want?

    Can you sleep until noon everyday?

     

    Well I guess that you COULD do this in a marriage, but I doubt this marriage won’t last long.

    So in conclusion, being single is the Ultimate Freedom in Life.

    1. 13.1
      nikki

      LOL – sounds absolutely terrible. Our definition of freedom is wildly different.

  13. 14
    Vera

    Oh my noone needs marriage. I know (self-)acceptance is always good in interpersonal encounters. But what has all of this to do with marriage. Why you need that? Oh yeah, so you can make this vow and believe it’s binding. That’s imo its only purpose and this is contradicting the notion of being free  . If you want a partner, get him, reproduce,  but why marriage? It’s plainly an institution for sheep 😉

    1. 14.2
      Callie

      Symbols matter. They matter more to some people than others, and different symbols matter more to different people and in different ways to different people. It’s why most of America has a negative reaction to the southern flag, while others feel a deep sense of pride. It’s why we know instantly that a drawing of a heart means love even if a) a picture heart looks nothing like a real heart, and b) the heart is just an organ that pumps blood, it isn’t even where we feel feelings. It’s why some people’s mouths water when they see the golden arches, and why some people’s stomachs turn at the same sight.

      It isn’t always about pragmatism and logic (though there are legal and religious reasons to get married as well). Sometimes the symbol of marriage is meaningful to a person. For some who want marriage it’s a gesture demonstrating a life long commitment. I know many couples who lived together for years who never intended on marriage but then, after some tragedy or possibly other reason, decided to get married and after the fact acknowledged that it did feel different to be married to someone as opposed to living with them.

      As to how it can be freeing: if you have belief in the symbol, then having someone who has made that commitment, making a firm decision, who will be there as your teammate through thick and thin, that all can be a massive weight off the shoulders. It frees your mind to focus on other life goals, other pursuits, there’s a feeling of safety and security. For some. Not for all. Obviously not for you. The symbol is meaningless to you. But again, just because it is to you doesn’t make it so for others. Unless you want everyone to be just like you and then . . . well who are the sheep now?

      Marriage is a construct. So is most of society. Participating in society in any way and not being a hermit living off the grid means you are participating in sheep like fashion to some extent (by your definition). To say that this particular one is the tipping point is, in my opinion, silly. Marriage is not for everyone. I still have many friends who live with their partners who will absolutely not get married. But for those who want it, what’s it to you?

       

  14. 15
    Vera

    I guess I cannot deny that I have to act like a sheep sometimes.;)  yet what I refer to as being sheepish comes from interpersonal dependencies (be they healthy or toxic). And marriage will force you into such thing. The vows etc. will then become the norm. And deviating from that will be considered a bad thing by society. Thus, if you marry someone who is unfit for you (and probably due to love hormones you decided to marry) you’ll have to stay in the marriage because you don’t want to break your vows. The only thing that I think can be positive is your, probably imperative, obligation to make it work (yet not everyone does that in the endeffect). And what does society gain from this: okay, children growing up with both father and mother. This is good. And working against the biological urge of the male to spread his seed a second/third time (implied:another woman) which is maybe good maybe not. I don’t know, considering worldwide population growth it’s probably a good thing.But yeah, I guess I get the notion of why marriage can be good: as an instrument to create a intact family, or a support system, which is always good. I’m still not so sure why marriage is necessary. When I imagine a guy saying to me: I want to stay with you forever and I’ll forever be yours or whatever I know that this is only true as long as it is true (both sides have to contribute constantly!) Anyways, I’ve heard that good friends are more important than a partner. Or maybe I still need to find a man with whom I’d want a long-term commitment with, with whom I can be in a TEAM. Regards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *