How Will We Love?

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Chris Brickler made a documentary about love and marriage. In this video, How Will We Love?, he starts by interviewing his grandparents who have been married for 68 years and builds on that interview and finds that more than 50% of marriages end in divorce even though many of us still cling to the hope of a happily-ever-after, life-long romance.

Brickler also interviews experts in the field of marriage, relationships, sexuality, and communication, as well as sharing insights from couples (both young and old) about topics such as dating, pre-marital sex, love, marriage and what it means to be in a committed relationship, all are combined to make what appears to me to be a film that is a bittersweet and inspirational journey through the heartache and exuberance love can create.

I am very curious to know what you think about these questions; What do you expect from marriage? What is reasonable to expect from marriage? (I assume these questions are asking the same thing, but maybe not?)

More about How Will We Love? and purchase the DVD here.

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Quick aside: More than 50% of marriages may end in divorce, but it's important to note that it doesn't follow that more than 50% of people getting married experience divorce. People who divorce once are more likely to divorce again.

In terms of what I expect from marriage... I'm actually pretty traditional in that respect. Fidelity (sexual and emotional), companionship, communal resources, and passion - all for a lifetime. Twelve years in, I'm still holding up my end, and my wife's holding up hers.

Of course, I recognize that not everyone desires or requires all those things (e.g. some people at least claim not to care about sexual fidelity), and some may add other things I don't give a rip about (like, say, wifely subordination or some such twaddle).

In terms of what I think is reasonable to expect from a marriage... I'd say, "Whatever you agreed to when you got married". You did take it seriously and discuss what's important to you and your potential spouse, right? You brought up your dealbreakers, and they theirs, right? So long as you were honest, and work to keep up your end, then you should be able to count on your spouse holding up their end.

But that means you should be careful what bargains you strike, and with whom...

Realistically, I'm not, because the idea of tying oneself down that much to another human being really feels like a violation of my own rights. Cohabitation makes more sense; it's easier to dissolve if it becomes inimical to one's well-being and aims, and it allows you to share your life with another person but not feel as if it takes a giant amount of effort to dissolve ties if necessary.

By Katharine (not verified) on 12 Oct 2009 #permalink

You brought up your dealbreakers, and they theirs, right? So long as you were honest, and work to keep up your end, then you should be able to count on your spouse holding up their end.

it sounds like you don't have any young kids.

Breaking up can be devastating for kids who don't know which parent they will stay with, or whether they had anything to do with the breakup.

Cohabitation makes that harder, not easier, since child support is harder to set up.

For me, marriage is first and foremost about jurisdiction. Until we are married, my boyfriend doesn't have any legal right to reside in our home, have access to me when I'm in hospital, make medical decisions for me, and so on and so forth.

A secondary aspect is that of actualizing a commitment. The love will change its shape and form over the years (and decades, one should hope). In some situations it might be possible to mistake a temporary setback for loss of love; having made a legal commitment could help one review the good times and expect for more of those to come.

sinz52, I'm not planning on having any.

By Katharine (not verified) on 13 Oct 2009 #permalink

More than 50% of marriages do NOT end in divorce. I'm not sure where those statistics were found, but from what I've read it hasn't gotten to 50%. The most recent numbers I found from a quick google search were: 43% of marriages experience 'disruption' after the first 15 years (this includes separation which may or may not end with divorce). Marriages that last 15 years seem to be much less likely to fail. This is from the National Survey of Family Growth. Report linked here:…

Further, the likelihood of a particular couple getting divorced varies greatly depending on the demographics. Educated women of a higher socioeconomic status that marry later in life have a much lower chance of experiencing divorce than poorer women who marry much younger. Simply waiting to the late twenties, thirties to marry decreases the chance of divorce by quite a bit.

Also, these high divorce rates (those approaching or surpassing 50%) are often obtained by the ratio of people getting divorced within a particular year to people getting married in that same year. You can see how this would not provide a good metric for figuring out the probability that a particular marriage will fail.

You know statistically speaking the average person has 1 testicle. Oh snap look I pointed out fact bending were all aware of in statistics too. Thank you Courtney for the inspiration.

On a more serious note

What do you expect from marriage?
Nothing. I want nothing to do with it. No kids, there will be no kids, and I see no point in gambling with my material possessions. Cohabitation has suited me well.

What is reasonable to expect from marriage?
To lose half of your wealth/debt... Or to gain half of someones wealth or debt.

This site runs way too many scripts.