Some experts argue that monogamy is unnatural, according to an article that included the following excerpt: (opens in new tab)
"Monogamy was invented for a sense of order and as to make a profitable investment, not necessarily because it's natural - or so warn many researchers, showing that both social and sexual monogamy in humans is not a natural state. "
But, of all the marriages in my life (friends, family, etc.) only about 50% of them seem healthy on the surface. Of course, I don't know everything about these marriages, but isn't the surface where things tend to look best anyway? As a creation of society, marriage pits our natural instinct against values of civilization, in my opinion.
Here are some questions concerning marriage that are creating conflict within me:
Is Marriage Mostly About "Partnership"?
My married friend told me that his wife recently said:
"If you ever cheat on me, at least do it with someone you don't know."
Her comment is interesting because she's creating "different levels" of cheating. If her husband cheats purely for sexual reasons, their household will have a better chance of remaining intact. If my friend cheated on his wife and made an emotional connection with his mistress, it would constitute cheating on a "higher" level, meaning he might leave the household and start a new life with someone else. My friend's wife is prioritizing the household and partnership in her marriage over the smoldering romance. In light of this, Lori Gottlieb of (opens in new tab)The Atlantic (opens in new tab)encourages women to settle down for "Mr. Good Enough." (opens in new tab) She argues that practical partnership takes priority over passionate connection.
Are Males Biologically Programmed To Cheat?
Another married friend of mine told me that he has a desire to be with many women, but it has nothing to do with his wife. He loves his wife, and is still attracted to her, but he can't shake his desire for other women.
I know of two types of guys: (opens in new tab) those who look at a woman,imagine and call it a day, (opens in new tab) and those who go for it regardless of if they are in a committed relationship (opens in new tab). But all men think about being with other women. Some experts theorize that male instinct to spread genes to many attractive partners causes them to covet many partners.
Are Guys Ever Ready?
I heard of a married acquaintance who saw a prostitute shortly before his wedding. (opens in new tab) I guess he wanted to "get it out of his system". (opens in new tab)
Does this experience represent one last fling, or does it mean this person was not truly ready to get married? This is the fear that women have about bachelor parties and "final flings" before marriage. (opens in new tab) Guys sometimes think it's OK to have that "one last fling". As one friend recently told me, "it's what guys do." Shouldn't guys have that out of their system before they even start dating their eventual fiance? If you've been with someone for years and you're about to be married, what's the point of one final fling?
Apparently, I'd make a great husband: I have no desire to spread my genes around. I would never curse some innocent child with my eyebrows, (opens in new tab) my bad luck (yes it has got to be genetic at this point), and my anxiety. Personally, I believe it is in the male genetic code to cheat. But, every day humans fight off their "instincts" to live by the rules of society: sitting at a computer 9 to 5 for work doesn't feel natural, for example, but many people do it. So, "it's in my biology to cheat" is not a viable excuse for infidelity.
So, is marriage simply a "partnership" in which two people choose to pass on their genes together and raise children to do the same- almost like a business partnership? (opens in new tab) Could be...but I struggle to figure out where love figures into this kind of union.
I'd like to take a more positive view of marriage. Perhaps, when you choose that person to marry, you are saying: "i think you are the best partner to team up with to meet the challenge of marriage." And maybe the only way to beat the challenge is doing so with someone you love.
Do you agree with my friend's wife that you would not feel as bad if your husband cheated for purely physical reasons instead of an emotional/spiritual connection? Do you think that men are "programmed" to cheat by nature? Do you see marriage as a "partnership," like a business? What are your thoughts on the men in these situations?
Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/richravens (opens in new tab)