First of all, marriages do not “fail” —they end, either through death or divorce/separation. But, let’s explore why you believe “The goal of marriage is a lifelong partnership.”

Is a marriage that is loveless, sexless and full of contempt and conflict, but lasts until one spouse dies a “successful” marriage? If the goal is to last “lifelong,” then that must be successful.

I disagree, and I think a lot of other people would disagree.

What makes a successful marriage is a partnership built on the couple’s values and goals — no one else’s. And they are free to shape the marriage that fits them. Don’t want to live together? A marriage license doesn’t say you have to. Want to have a mutually agreed upon open marriage? A marriage license doesn’t say you can’t. Want to have a co-parenting marriage that lasts only until your child goes off to college, and then you reconsider if you want to stay together and how, or not. A marriage license doesn’t say you have to stay married after you have “done your job” — raised your child until adulthood.

We need to rethink what makes a marriage successful. Clearly lasting until one person croaks is not working.

Written by

Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

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