“The New ‘I Do'”

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I haven’t been able to read it yet, but the forthcoming book The New “I Do”” looks like it will be a useful exploration of reform ideas for marriage. As I’ve pointed out here and here, the one-size-fits-all, state-legislature-designed marriage laws are not suitable for most of the couples getting married today, and the emotion surrounding the topic makes it hard to address some of those problems with prenups, which most people can’t afford to draft anyway. But if you thought it was expensive to hire two lawyers to work out your prenup, you will find it far more expensive to hire two lawyers for your divorce who may successfully make it an adversarial proceeding.

Co-authors Susan Pease Gadoua and Vicki Larson have a web site for the new book which links to some thoughtful material. From their site:

What [author Susan Pease Gadoua] found so striking was the amount of shame people felt if they did not fit the marital mold. Virtually everyone whose marriage ended said he or she felt like a failure or described the dissolution as a “failed marriage.” But admitting something isn’t working does not equal failure. In fact, it often takes more courage to go separate ways than it does to stay and pretend to the world that everything is fine.

Sadly, too many still think that way. If a marriage ends in divorce, people are all too eager to start pointing fingers at what went wrong — either the couple didn’t understand what commitment means, or they didn’t work hard enough on their marriage, or they were too focused on their own happiness, or they were too selfish or lazy.

It’s still all about blame, shame, and personal failure, instead of looking at the institution of marriage itself and asking, why isn’t it working well for about half of those who enter into it? Actually, it isn’t working well for more people than that; many couples remain married in name only because the wife or husband needs the health benefits, or they own a business and it would lead to financial ruin, or they can’t afford to sell the house, or they live separate lives but decide to stick it out, unhappily, “for the kids.”

… Couples are tweaking the institution to make it work for them even if it looks pretty much like a “traditional” marriage from the outside. Serial monogamy, open marriages, covenant marriages, commuter marriages — these variations-on-a-theme arrangements are already happening. What hasn’t happened, however, is the end of the blaming, shaming, and sense of failure many feel, as well as the need to keep their marital choices in the closet lest they be judged.

Our book hopes to change that. We hope to normalize what is already happening. And, just as important, we want to offer those who may want to marry one day — perhaps even you — or those who would like to transform their marriage new marital road maps that will set them up for success.

The New I Do will get you to think consciously about the kind of marriage you want, not the marriage your parents, relatives, friends and — heaven forbid — celebrities have. If you have seen marriages around you end in separation and divorce, or remain intact — unhappy, sexless and perhaps loveless — and you are questioning whether marriage is still worth it, then this book is for you.

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

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