Wednesday, July 1st, 2009...6:02 pm

On Marriage, Cont’d

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I spent a long time drafting that last post, and I’m still not really happy with it, probably because I haven’t really decided how I feel about the issue.  But when did that ever stop me from having an opinion!

Anyway, my view sharpened a little bit after I read this interview with Mark Sanford who, for those who don’t know, is the governor of South Carolina and has been carrying on an affair with an Argentinian woman for the last few months.  In the interview, the married Sanford says that his mistress is his “soul mate” and calls their affair a “forbidden love story” but that he’s trying to reconcile with his wife because, well, he’s married to her.

I feel really strongly that people shouldn’t give up on marriage too easily.  I think a lot of divorces could be avoided (and a lot of people could learn a lot about life and happiness) if people were willing to put in the hard work that makes a marriage work.  But when someone admits that they’ve met someone who is their SOUL MATE but that they’re staying with their wife because of the sanctity of marriage, I’ve got to believe we’ve completely lost the plot and need to start from scratch.

Let me be clear, I’m not sure that having a successful marriage is necessarily about being with your soul mate (maybe partly because I don’t believe in soul mates), but I am pretty sure that your marriage is doomed if you have a soul mate AND IT’S NOT YOUR SPOUSE.

I’m not really sure I have a conclusion (yet).  I think I’m just really disheartened that this is what we’ve come to–on one hand discounting marriage altogether (I have friends who have), on the other forcing yourself into a miserable arrangement and foregoing all chance of happiness, just to honor some long-lost commitment.


  • did i send along sandra tsing loh’s recent atlantic piece

    it’s interesting despite being, apparently, oblivious to how class-based it sounds

  • I have that issue but haven’t gotten to that article yet. I’m sure I’ll be making a third post as soon as I’m done with it.

  • This was a great post.
    I never thought I would get married. Coming from parents who get married and divorced on a regular basis kinda put me off of the whole marriage thing.
    I think if it is right for you you should do it, if not, don’t. Apparently it was the right thing for me.
    I also don’t believe in soul mates.
    No one should stay in a marriage for the sake of staying in the marriage or for the sake of the children or whatev. Even tho. that dude is a weasel he should be with his “soul mate.”
    I love your posts about your niece. I used to think I didn’t want to get married, but I did want kids. The opposite is now true.
    I am so happy and fulfilled in my life right now … couldn’t ask for anything more.