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What kind of marriage do you want or have? Despite the broadening of our concepts of what marriage is supposed to be like, the divorce rates of first time marriages continues to be high and is even higher for subsequent marriages. Perhaps the idea ‘til death do us part’, needs to change.
I read an interesting book lately entitled: The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists, and Rebels by Susan Pease Godoua and Vicki Larson. They talked about the importance of being clear about your expectations in marriage and understanding your partner’s.
In typical American fashion, they suggest making your expectations part of a legal contract. There’s some very realistic wisdom in this. Marriage is after all, a legal commitment.
These authors described 7 types of marriages that couples are more commonly choosing:
In this marriage, young, childless couples who have never been married before get to ‘try out’ marriage to decide if and what works for them. It keeps both partners accountable to do the things they commit to doing, and if both continue to be happy with the arrangement, it can be renewed.
As the name suggests, this marriage is about friendship. “Couples that consider themselves good friends tend to be quite harmonious, handle conflict in a healthy and respectful way, and share similar goals and values on the big-picture stuff, like raising kids and religion.” (Paul Amato, Sociologist)
These couples marry because they want kids. They may be in love or not. They may live together or not. They put their kids first. They work well together as a team to raise their children.
I see these couples a lot. Mountain guides and oil and gas workers often have to work away from home. These couples need to be independent and able to handle day-to-day matters on their own.
These are marriages where religion plays a large role. Once married, it is more difficult to end the marriage through divorce. There are currently only 3 U.S. states and no Canadian provinces that recognize these marriages.
This is marriage at its most practical. A financial safety net, health maintenance, educational opportunities, parenting, caregiving, or house cleaning may all be reasons people may want to get married.
These couples are honest about their sexual desires and reach consensus regarding their mutual non-monogamy.
You need to talk with your partner about what each of you wants and live up to your agreement after the wedding day.