Curated by CLAI
AGE OF ALL-OR-NOTHING MARRIAGE: Are marriages today better or worse than they used to be? (1) No – Higher divorce rates reflect a lack of commitment and a decline of moral character that have harmed adults, children and society in general. (2) Yes – developments are a sign that the institution has evolved to better respect individual autonomy, particularly for women. (3) Both – The average marriage today is weaker than the average marriage of yore, in terms of both satisfaction and divorce rate, but the best marriages today are much stronger, in terms of both satisfaction and personal well-being, than the best marriages of yore.
- GAPS: The gap between the benefits of good and mediocre marriages has increased. Marital quality uniformly predicts better personal well-being (unsurprisingly, happier marriages make happier people). This effect has become much stronger over time.
- WHY? Americans today have elevated their expectations of marriage and can in fact achieve an unprecedentedly high level of marital quality — but only if they are able to invest a great deal of time and energy in their partnership. If they are not able to do so, their marriage will likely fall short of these new expectations. Marriage, then, has increasingly become an “all or nothing” proposition.
- THREE TYPES OF MARRIAGES: (1) Institutional Marriage (1792-1850) revolved around food production, shelter and protection from violence. Emotional connection with their spouse were not its central purpose. (2) Companionate Marriage (1850-1965), American marriage increasingly centered around intimate needs such as to love, to be loved and to experience a fulfilling sex life. (3) Self-expressive marriage (1965-Now), is increasingly for self-discovery, self-esteem and personal growth. Marriage is less an essential institution and more an elective means of achieving personal fulfillment
FACTS ABOUT INFIDELITY: Our brain architecture makes it biologically possible to express deep feelings of attachment for one partner, while one feels intense romantic love for another individual, while one feels a sex drive for even more extra-dyadic partners. The three types of infidelity are (1) sexual infidelity (sexual exchange with no romantic involvement), (2) romantic infidelity (romantic exchanges with no sexual involvement) and (3) sexual and romantic involvement.
INTERRACIAL MARRIAGES: Hawaii at 39%, followed by 3 states around 19% — Alaska, New Mexico and Oklahoma, which reflects the high proportion of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hispanics.