Marriage As A Team.

With the advances of no-fault divorce, women usually being secondary or non-earners, staggered alimony and the assumption of female primary caregiving, it makes sense that a lot of men aren’t really all that interested in marriage. From a purely economic perspective, even if the stats actually show your risk of divorce is well under 50%, there’s still a risk. How many people would put their head into a tame lion’s mouth? It’s still a lion.

However, curiously, women have started to question marriage. At least during the years when we are likely to have a more successful marriage, which is 25-35. Which is odd, considering that we risk very little in marrying and stand to gain so much from either a lifelong marriage or divorce. From a purely objective standpoint, women should at least be ambivalent for men’s sake, at worst be callous supporters. But, as a population, we’re not.

The social demonization of marriage that started in the 60s and 70s is catching up with us. The angry, bitter radicals who called marriage slavery out of one corner of their mouths whilst stalking a man across the globe have finally persuaded most of Western society, men and women alike, that marriage is an evil institution. And they have done so by making it a zero-sum-game.

The basic concept of a zero-sum-game is: someone always wins, someone always loses. In the context of partnerships: one of you will be better off than when you were single and one of you will be worse off than when you were single. And the idea that marriage or long term partnerships are zero-sum-games has infiltrated every corner of our society. Feminists will claim that marriage is anywhere from manipulation to slavery for women, so they must seek to control their relationships carefully. PUAs will claim that marriage and long term relationships are shackles to the minds of men who do not dominate their relationships. Your Joe and Joan Average will work their very hardest to evenly split all their work, incomes, chores and time, so as to guarantee a balance. Everyone is convinced that if you aren’t getting more out than your partner, you’d be better off single.

Which is very scary, considering it undermines one of the main functions of marriage: to grow with each other. The purpose of marriage is to create a mini-community. Which, in our fairly empty, disconnected, callous world, is highly needed as many of us don’t have a larger community anyway. It’s meant to bond two people, get them working in sync so that they both have more than when they started, so they can look after their elders and have and raise healthy, happy children. That was the entire point of marriage.

Therefore, when we try and treat it as a zero-sum-game, as an individual vs individual competition where when you aren’t doing better than them, you’re losing, we aren’t in a marriage. You may have the certificates, but all you’re doing is coexisting, or, worse even, competing.

Instead, when you’re in a long term relationship of any kind, you should be looking at the relationship as the whole and yourselves as the halves. You are not factories, but production units in a little factory. And you should be working on everything you can to keep the factory (your relationship) functional and profitable for both of you. And this becomes quite a cycle. For example, how Jon and I work together to give ourselves a better life:

  1. Jon works full time so he can afford to rent this house. +space
  2. I care for the house so he doesn’t have to. Meaning the house is more worth having and leaving us more together time. +time
  3. I can cook him far better, healthier meals than he could cook himself in the time he used to have, saving us money on snacks and supplements. +money
  4. Because the house is so big, I can use the spare bedroom as an office to tutor from. I can also grow our own food in the garden. +money
  5. Because I work as a private tutor, I can earn £10-25/h, rather than minimum wage of £6.50/h not including travel and expenses. +money
  6. Because I work from home, I work on my own hours. +time
  7. Which means I also can arrange my work day to take advantage of discounts, offers, reduced price foods. +money
  8. Which means his disposable income hasn’t actually dropped much from when he lived in a single room. +money
  9. Which means the need for overtime is reduced. +time

If we both worked full time, split the chores when we got home and only had that little remainder together, we’d have less money, less free time and eventually not be able to afford the space we live in, the quality of food we eat or the entertainment we use. In short, if we acted as individuals, our quality of life would go down. So basically, by working together, as a unit, viewing time together as our main free time, and our assets as shared rather than split, we have both improved our quality of life. He has a larger home, better food, more time with me, more time for leisure activities, more flexibility with work and more money in the bank at the end of the month than when single. I have a larger home, better work prospects, more time with him, more time for leisure activities and more money in the bank at the end of the month than if I were single. We’re in a relationship and by viewing the relationship as the unit and ourselves as component parts: we both win.

So no, long term relationships aren’t a zero-sum-game where there has to be a loser and if you can’t spot the loser, the loser is you. They are a team game where you both work together and use your assets to protect each other’s assets, multiplying the rewards for your work. They are an investment in a partner that, if well -calculated, will pay you back. If you can’t spot the loser, but you’re richer, happier, with more free time and a generally higher standard of life than before: you’re not a loser, you’re playing the game right.

TTFN and Happy Hunting.

What is your view on long term relationships? How does your relationship or marriage work? What do you feel your personal investment gives back to you as a couple? Do share!

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8 thoughts on “Marriage As A Team.

  1. Good post 🙂

    I agree that marriage or LTR should be done as a team. You’re on the same side, and you shouldn’t compete. Your spouse is not your enemy, the world is 🙂 lol. I’m half-joking, but I mean you should compete with everyone else, not your SO.

    I prefer not think of the people within the team as two halves, though. Each member is a whole person. I think it’s better this way, because you shouldn’t be very emotionally codependent. If you are, then you will stop functioning if your other half is ripped from you for whatever reason. How will you save them, then? You shouldn’t fall apart because the other one is in trouble.

    Your model makes the two members of the team into two financial halves. I guess it’s different from being two emotional halves though. So I don’t disagree with your model.

    Like

    • I see what you’re saying, and I don’t really like addressing the emotional aspect of relationships because it can be so personal, but I would add that the line between “merged nature and life” and codependence is a lot thicker than most people imagine. On the one hand, being completely separate emotionally, mentally, etc, can interfere with intimacy and harmony. Trust, interwoven lives, shared goals and interests, etc are crucial to healthy relationships. On the other hand, being unable to breathe without permission and altering your behaviours to seem more in line with their nature puts you in a position where you are vulnerable in their absence. Fortunately, there’s a lot of middle ground where you can merge your lives without risking codependence.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Each member is a whole person. I think it’s better this way, because you shouldn’t be very emotionally codependent. If you are, then you will stop functioning if your other half is ripped from you for whatever reason. How will you save them, then? You shouldn’t fall apart because the other one is in trouble.

    I understand what you are saying but a strong marriage is highly interdependent. And it’s interdependent emotionally and spiritually as well as financially. If your husband (or wife) can be in crisis and you not be affected emotionaly, physically, then something is off.

    Of course, as I am a Christian, I am of the belief that my faith will sustain me through such things so that I am not fully ripped apart if my husband is ripped away. But as we are one flesh, it would certainly be as if my arm were cut off, from an emotional standpoint.

    All that to say that while I don’t disagree with you about having the wholeness of your person-hood as you enter your marriage (you are unfit otherwise), a couple should be increasingly growing in oneness and dependence on each other or it’s not a marriage in the truest sense.

    THIS is the problem with many marriages,and it’s the idea that SSW tried to deconstruct here: that you can be fully invested and independent at the same time. And you can’t.

    Like

    • I understand where she was going with it, as true codependence is unhealthy and oftentimes dangerous. But, as I mentioned to Nataliya, there is so much ground between codependence and a bonded relationship that there shouldn’t be much worry about the risks of being “half” rather than “whole”. After all, you can be a whole person and half a relationship, just as you can be a whole engineer and 100th of a company. But when in a position, the position comes before the unit, so to speak. Just as the engineer can compromise the company by marching to the sound of his own drum, the partners can compromise the relationship by looking at themselves as separate or even as competitors. A cold analogy, but I felt it made the point clearly.

      Like

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