Posted by: Tony Carson | 11 October, 2007

What is marriage?

Is marriage contractual — you give to get, or is it covenantal – you enter into it not for yourself but for the other’s best interests?

The always interesting Sarah Hampton takes on this issue in the Globe and Mail: Love – it’s not all about you.

But she avoids a third alternative which I, in my utter ignorance, have always taken to be the raison d’ete of marriage: you enter into marriage to become, together, more than the sum of its parts.

To me, the creation of the marriage is a by-product of the giving and the getting, it is a hybrid of the contractual and the covenantal but more than anything it is the serendipity from a multifaceted experiment that can never have a predictable outcome.

One definition of success is doing the things you don’t want to do.

And that’s what a successful marriage is, doing all those things you don’t want to do and, but for the marriage, you wouldn’t do — but you’re a better person for having done them.

It’s a bit like repeatedly pounding your thumb with a hammer, sure, but the relief really is exquisite when you stop.

It’s a good column.


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