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Monday, February 13, 2012

The Science Behind The Vows

About a year ago I did a series on the Science Behind Love (feel free to go read - I'll wait), and in honor of the 11th anniversary of my first date with my husband (February 13th), and the upcoming debut of EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE I thought it would be fun to look at the science and psychology behind marriages.

Cards on the table, I'm pro-marriage. Done right, I think it's the best setup for a relationship. Done wrong, marriage is a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare. That's my point of view, you are free to have your own opinion (always!). Thing two... I'll be using husband/wife terminology here but feel free to substitute any combination of genders that works for your situation. Keep in mind that the dynamics of a menege/polyamorous/polygamous situation are going to be very different. We'll get to the whys of that later...

Moving on!

What Is Marriage Anyway?
Before we can have an open discussion on the science behind marriage we need to normalize the definition. Marriage is a committed, consensual, adult relationship between two people. Remember, without commitment it isn't love.

This is where Common Law Marriage verse Living Together gets complicated and the first place people get lost when talking about love. If you aren't having the ceremony because you want to bail if things get hard, you aren't committed it's a Stage 2 relationship and your chances for a happy marriage are significantly depressed. If, on the other hand, you have decided you don't need a formal ceremony or paperwork for your relationship and it is committed you might be living in sin according to some religions, but you are in the right mindset for marriage. Good for you!

Isn't Marriage Just a Religious Thing?
Considering all major religions I've heard of have some very firm ideas on marriage you'd think this is just a cultural concept, maybe a way of controlling reproductive capabilities of the young before The Pill was invented. As it turns out though, The Vows are actually a formalization of a biological adaptation.

Mammals are - with a few exceptions - social creatures. Troops, packs, pods, prides... mammals get together for survival. Granted, in most cases humans can survive with basic civilization around them. Marriage, then, becomes a function of survival during the child-bearing and child-rearing years. There are arguments that marriage isn't necessary [reference], and that works on the chemical timeline of love. Once the children are old enough to not need two parents for survival it makes sense to split, yes?

Not really. In the long run a healthy marriage is actually healthier for you [reference]. Of course... you have to have a happy, working, and healthy marriage for that to work for you. Welcome to the Marriage Paradox!

What Is A Happy Marriage?
Quick! Describe your "How We Met" story... Go on, describe your relationship.

If you start with the word "we" or use the inclusive terms - we, our, us - frequently you're probably happier than if you use the exclusive terms - I, me, mine - and the more of a positive spin you put on your "how we met" story is a good indicator of how healthy the relationship is now [reference].

I admit, that fact grabbed my attention. Especially since EVFIL is about a married couple. There is a back story to how Evan and Tabitha met. Evan tells his part of it during the course of EVFIL, but I wondered what Tabitha's view was. Naturally, the only thing to do when you have a question like that is to get writing!

So I did... the opening for the new story from Tabitha's POV is up on my FaceBook Author Page. Go ahead and give me a like, read the snippet, and let me know what you think.

Later this week...
How to Ruin a Perfect Thing -- because Evan is an expert at ruining relationships and there is a science to how this works.
How to Make Love Last -- we'll let Tabitha teach this one because she's got a better handle on what makes marriage.

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