“When I was a kid, I asked my mum what a couple was, and she said, ‘Oh, two or three.’ And she wonders why her marriage didn’t work out.”
Monogamy has its detractors.
Some anthropologists claim it is a relatively new phenomenon and, given how many affairs and divorces there are in the world, believe it’s not going to last much longer. Some psychologists claim it simply isn’t realistic, with our longer life expectancies and higher happiness demands, to expect people to settle for “death do us part.”
There are even some modern marriage experts who propose a “beta” marriage, whereby couples’ commitments are only allowed four-year terms, and the spouses must choose to either allow its end or re-up for four more years. (I’m actually fascinated by this one–imagine the campaigning season during year four!)
Mandatory monogamy, from arranged marriages to fault-finding divorce prohibitions, is no longer in play. What, then, keeps drawing us back to the ol’ one-on-one? Why do all our love stories and romantic comedies always end up with a pair-bonded monogamous couple at the end?
In a word, choice. We each crave to be exclusively chosen by the one we exclusively choose. And because this feels so improbable when you’re single, we want it to last whenever we find it.
What this means for today is that if you wanna gauge your marriage, ask yourself how chosen you feel by your spouse. Then ask yourself how you think your spouse would answer that question? Would your spouse admit privately that he/she feels chosen by you? We’re not talking about whether you guys feel needed by the other. We’re talking about feeling chosen, again and again and again.
Here’s the toughest question: If your four-year beta marriage term were up, would you choose your spouse again?
Peace begins with pause,