The title of this article might lead you to believe otherwise, but I have a lot of respect for the institution of marriage. I would never advise anyone to get married or not get married. The marital relationship has great advantages – it provides stability to the spouses and their children, and puts couples in an advantageous legal and tax position, among other benefits.
Despite my great respect for matrimonial ties between people, I do wish to question whether marriage is the best romantic relationship for everyone or … even for most, considering the fundamental human nature that seems to be incompatible with the marital status. As I mentioned, the benefits of being married are significant but there is one, significant, obvious and inevitable problem that most spouses face shortly after their marry – a dramatic decline in passion, sex drive, sexual attraction and romantic desire to be with each other. As we all know, the longer people are in a relationship, the more moderate their passion becomes as sexual novelty inevitably wears out, but many people are truly puzzled by the fact that the wedding event itself accelerates that process so much and takes so much romance away so quickly. People continue wondering why spouses are less attracted to each other than boyfriend and girlfriend without being able to find an answer.
I would like to suggest to you an answer to the above question by drawing a very far-reaching analogy – an analogy between the world of relationship and business. If you, my dear reader, live in a capitalistic society in one of the developed “westernized” societies, you are probably used to the “customer is always right” mentality. You are used to knowing that no matter where you go and what business you enter into, the person behind the counter is eager to do his best to serve you. You are used to calling an 800 number and have all your questions answered and many of your consumer issues resolved over the phone or online. The reason for such a desire to please is obvious – the retailers and other business understand and remember that if they don’t serve you well, you will not come back and they will lose business and disappear, because they have nothing else that keeps them alive except the demand for their products and services. In other words – it’s the insecurity in their economic stability that brings the best out in those people who serve you, and it’s exactly the same economic insecurity that makes you work well at your work place. And as a general rule, the less social support the government provides to its citizens, the more customer-service oriented the economy is. If there is no government to “fall” on during the tough times, you really have to make sure that you keep your customers happy.
It seems that it’s exactly the same insecurity that keeps a lot of the romantic fire and passion in a romantic relationship. When people start dating, they are usually unsure about each other’s intentions with respect to each other. They realize that each one of them is free to walk away from dating each other at any moment, and that uncertainty makes them do their best to be as attractive as they can be to the other, and at the same time keeps the sexual attraction at its peak. When people enter into a long term relationship, the passion will subside with the expiration of novelty, as mentioned earlier, but if they truly love each other and find each other’s company enjoyable and beneficial on many levels, the relationship will flourish.
The marriage certificate, on the other hand, seems to serve a security seal that tells the partners that they are together now, bound by legal contract to be with each other whether they want it or not. That formal loss of freedom of choice along with starting to take each other for granted, since now you have to be with each other and see each other all the time, is a poison to sexual passion and lust, and attraction for so many people.
Our nature when it comes to many things in life is such that we really like having choices and having options, even if we don’t plan to exercise all or many of those options. The mere loss of all options but one, makes us desire those other options and be less interested in one options we chose that we would have been desiring much more if we knew that those other options are still available. Perhaps that’s why marriage, by eliminating all the other “options,” makes our beloved partner, who we swear to love till death sets us apart, less desirable.