Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules by Pamela Haag
Goodreads: “In this timely and thought-provoking analysis of modern coupledom, Pamela Haag& paints a vivid tableau of the ‘semi-happy’ couple. Written with wit and aplomb, this page turner will instigate an insurrection against our marital complacency.” —Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity
Written with the persuasive power of Naomi Wolf and the analytical skills of Susan Faludi, Pamela Haag’s provocative but sympathetic look at the state of marriage today answers—and goes beyond—the question many of us are asking: "Is this all there is?"
My take: I didn't finish this book but I have a couple of comments about what I did read.
Haag's supposition is that the 1800's gave us the traditional view of marriage. We married because we needed to have a family unit and perpetuate the race. We married in the 1900's out of romantic ideation. Today's marriages are neither traditional nor romantic so what are they?
Today's couples are often dual-income or non-traditional. Middle age couples are now asking what the purpose of marriage might be. I agree that with this reasoning, it would be particularly relevant for the couple whose children are raised, don't intend to have children, or do not feel a moral obligation to marry.
My issues with the book are two-fold, although related. The author gives different studies but makes interpretations on them that may not have been intended. Although the author claims that online dating is a successful and viable option in today's world, a noted social psychologist, Dan Ariely, has shown different results. This is one example of, what I believe, is faulty interpretation of research.
The author also determines that we have become assortative in our spouse choices. We are much to homogeneous. I agree that we are assortative. Surprisingly, I married a college educated, white man with the same religious background as I have. Most likely because I spent my dating years at colleges and universities and in religious pursuits. Of course I married someone much like myself. I would not, however, call our marriage homogeneous or non-conflict. We have many differences we didn't know before we married.