I believe that true love and passion are real and authentic, but many times, marriage is not. I feel that too many married couples are pretending to be happy. I personally know many couples who are not really happy in a fully committed monogamous marriage. The fact is that the old model of marriage is clearly not working as evidenced by the divorce statistics, which indicate that over half of marriages end in divorce. Some researchers say that at least 75% of marriages are ailing or unhappy. For African Americans, divorce is the end result for two out of three Black marriages. When I found this information, it was starting to me, and over the last few years, I have been studying about marriage and divorce to understand why these challenges exist today. It's not that I Do not believe in marriage. In fact, I do believe in the institution of marriage. My parents shared a great marriage for over 20 years by the time my dad passed away. I grew up in a household where the marriage relationship was happy and healthy.
Most marriages, on the surface, seem like a typical traditional marriage, but many of them are truly unhappy. This leads me to believe that marriage may be in a process of transitioning from our "parent's generation" marriage to a type of more contemporary or modern marriage that will work for people today. However, many us do not know how to achieve this type of marriage, or know what this type of marriage looks like. Thus, I explore open marriage relationships in my upcoming book, Why I Love Men: The Joys of Dating.
Many will agree that marriage can be convenient; however, with too much routine and definition, marriage can be the death of a love relationship. Too many people have squeezed the love affair out of their marriage and have allowed bills, money, and / or petty arguments to block the romantic aspects of their relationship. Unmarried women feel sorry for married women because they tend to be stuck in a rut or routine. Married women feel sorry for unmarried woman because they are alone. However, we all want both excitement and stability in our relationships whether we're married or unmarried.
Why Do People Get Married?
People often marry because it's the tradition. Men and women have been getting married since before recorded history. Until recently, America was the most "married" nation in the world. But now many ask, "Do I have to be married to live happily ever after?" In today's society, people have a strong desire to simply be happy, whether that means being married or unmarried. Today fewer get married and more get divorced, and the unmarried and divorced population is growing. The cost of divorce can be both financially and emotionally devastating, and many are avoiding marriage just to ensure that they never have to go through divorce. With many marriages ailing or failing, some couples are considering various marriage alternatives in order to make informed intelligent decisions about their own lives.
Romantic love has been the primary motive for getting married, and it remains so even today. However, there are other factors that cause individuals to marry. Years ago there were more traditional reasons for getting married. Women wanted to get out of their parents' homes, lose their virginity, or gain financial stability. In turn, men wanted a wife to care for them or help them fulfill their role as a husband and provider. Both men and women wanted to have children and raise a family. Marriage was definitely created to raise children. Back in the day, couples stayed together because they had to remain married. The wife was a homemaker and did not have a lot of options. Husbands were the family's only provider so he would be perceived horribly if he left. However, today many of these motives for getting married no longer apply. Most men do not really expect a woman to devote her entire life to him and his upkeep, and likewise, many women no longer relies on men to pay their way. Additionally, we rarely find women who want to marry just to have sex. Even pregnancy does not lead a couple to marry as it had in the past. Marriage in America has really changed due to social and cultural influences. For better or for worse, this is the current state of marriage.
Thinking about the current state of marriage, I know that people want to really make sense of their own lives, and to understand how societal and cultural forces have shaped marriage today. I, myself, wanted to better understand the new contemporary marriage models and the marrying trends of our current generation.
The rules of traditional relationships require that you be emotionally and sexually exclusive to one person forever. Therefore, many people in committed relationships are monogamous by default, not by choice. We learn through society that monogamy is what everyone is doing, and then it is what's expected in relationships. We are socialized to believe that true happiness can be achieved only in monogamous relationships. Even though this goes against many people's natural inclinations, they accept and buy into it. However, many people are realizing that it is unrealistic to expect one person to fulfill all of their needs? Emotional, sexual, spiritual, psychological, intellectual, financial, romantic, etc.
Some people have spent the majority of their life dealing with the fact that they have struggled to be monogamous and keep their desires under lock and key. They have often found themselves in situations of betrayal, cheating or unfaithfulness. Well, the strongest argument for non-monogamy is that one person can not fulfill all of our needs. In fact, for some people who have great physical, spiritual and emotional needs, it is unrealistic for one person to fulfill all of those needs and desires. This often sets us up for disappointment when a partner can not meet all of our expectations. In fact, open relationships can often prevent us from unhealthy co-dependent relationships, eg relationships that we stay in for fear of being without the person at all.
Open relationships provide an alternative to being a traditional couple. Open relationships are committed, but nonexclusive relationships, that involve some degree of intimacy with multiple partners. These relationship arrangements also referred to as "responsible non-monogamy," which can be applied to both married and unmarried couples.
Open relationships provide an opportunity to get to know, love and experience different people in your life. To determine if open relationships are right for you, you will need to do lot of soul-searching and self-analysis to come to your own conclusion. You'll need to consider what you believe about monogamy and open relationships.