Getting Past the Basic Marital Myth
Great Books for Families
By H. Wallace Goddard

Ideas about marriage have changed a lot over time. What was once a social obligation for the good of society is now, more than ever, a choice to advance our own purposes-especially our emotional well-being. Our society has increasingly turned marriage into a private, romantic relationship.

There are many social commentators and social scientist who have observed that this trend has weakened marriage. It may be the primary cause of abundant divorce in the U.S.

Blaine Fowers, one insightful commentator has observed that “the romantic approach to marriage has been, in  many ways, a noble and exciting experiment, but we now know that it has failed, and we must find another way to strengthen this vital institution” (p. 219). Fowers recommends that we build our marriages on virtues such as loyalty, generosity, justice, and courage.

Perhaps we should not insist on thinking of marriage as the path to happiness and self-fulfillment; maybe we should think of it as a covenant with growth. I recommend that all people who want to have an enduring and meaningful marriage consider the principles in Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness.

Blaine J. Fowers (2000). Beyond the myth of marital happiness. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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