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The most important lesson in history is to understand that there is no perfect marriage form of the past. ~Stephanie Coontz TED Talk


Stashed in: #TED, Relationships, @bakadesuyo, Marriage

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Here’s what Stephanie had to say about the new rules for a happy marriage:

  • The main thing to learn from history is to stop looking at history. Love-based marriage is still pretty new. Stop comparing yourself to the “perfect” marriages from the past. They were totally different. And they weren’t perfect.
  • Define what marriage means for you and your partner. You have freedom. And that means choices. You don’t get to assume your partner will behave this way or that way.
  • Communicate and negotiate. You won’t get the rules for your marriage perfect the first time you discuss them. Things change and people change, but that’s okay if you keep talking.
  • Base your marriage on friendship and mutual respect. Crazy love rarely lasts. Friendship does.

Marriage isn’t worse than it used to be, but it’s certainly different. Love-based marriage has the potential to be far, far more fulfilling that unions of the past. Here’s Stephanie:

We’re not doing things worse than people of the past used to do. We are trying to do something really much better, but we don’t have roadmaps for it. We’re all struggling to figure out how to get to these new places. Looking backwards will just cause us to trip over things in our way.

Being married today does take a lot more work than it used to. But with a little effort, your marriage can be better than any marriage in history. And that’s pretty awesome.

Stephanie Coontz TED Talk on Marriage:

The big lesson from history is: stop looking at history. Don’t compare your marriage to the 1950’s or any other era. It’s a brave new world. Marriages are based on love and equality now, so the old models don’t hold. Here’s Stephanie:

The most important lesson in history, I think, is to understand that there is no perfect marriage form of the past, even if it has one or two attractive features. Those attractive features are almost invariably connected to some really unattractive ones, to some injustices and some inequities that would be totally unacceptable to us. We need to dispense of the notion that there are models for what we’re doing in history.

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