Posted on September 7, 2013 Posted in News

Marriage has always been a gamble, but the modern game is harder and with higher stakes than ever before.
Research has revealed, for example, that people in a healthy marriage are some of the happiest couples in history.

Whereas those who are struggling in their marriage are more unhappy today than in the past, specially since they don’t look for help with a professional like the marriage counselor by Estes Therapy.

When social psychologist Eli Finkel sought to understand why marriage is more extreme at both ends today than in the past, he discovered something intriguing and disturbing:

Marriages in the US are more challenging today than at any other time in our country’s history.

The suffocation of marriage
Finkel is a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and is known for developing a surprisingly simple marriage-saving procedure, which takes 21 minutes a year.
In one of their latest papers on this front, they explain why — compared to previous generations — some of the defining qualities of today’s marriages make it harder for couples to cultivate a flourishing relationship.

The simple answer is that people today expect more out of their marriage. If these higher expectations are not met, it can suffocate a marriage to the point of destroying it.
Finkel, in an opinion article in The New York Times summarizing their latest paper on this model, discusses the three distinct models of marriage that relationship psychologists refer to:
institutional marriage (from the nation’s founding until 1850)
companionate marriage (from 1851 to 1965)
self-expressive marriage (from 1965 onward)
Before 1850, people were hardly walking down the aisle for love — the point of marriage was mostly for food production, shelter, and protection from violence.

People were often satisfied if they felt any emotional connection to their spouse at all, Finkel wrote.

By the turn of the 20th century, however, those norms changed quickly when an increasing number of people left the farm to live and work in the city for higher pay and fewer hours.

With the luxury of more free time, Americans focused on what they wanted in a lifelong partner, namely companionship and love. But the counter-cultural attitude of the 1960s led Americans to think of marriage as an option instead of an essential step in life.