Success in Marriage

The success of a marriage is decided by the people who are interested in it. The result of one marriage cannot be used to determine the outcome of another. Marriage is handled differently by different individuals, because the health of a marriage is entirely dependent on the role each person plays in the relationship.
Marriage is characterized as a voluntary union between two people that is recognised by their respective families, communities, friends, and authorities. This union is an institution that provides both persons with numerous benefits and obligations that they are entitled to until the marriage is made public, or rather, legal, and in some cases, approved by relevant parties. Depending on one’s culture, beliefs, character and background, various individuals are bound to enter into marriages for different reasons as well as handle marriages in different ways and through different means. In the past, most marriages or rather the general notion of marriage was that two people, who got married to each other, did so, as a result of their love for each other. However, over the years, the reasons as to why people get into marriages have increased as well as some being twisted to suit various individuals’ gain. Despite this, marriage is still one of the most significant institutions in today’s society contributing majorly to the growth and development of todays’ society, in more ways than one. I disagree with Kipnis’ idea that “Marriage… belongs on the Junk heap of human folly”.

The first reason as to why I disagree with Kipnis’ ideology is because her idea of what marriage should be like and the parameters within which marriages should be handled is not based on a solid foundation and seemingly looks like an attempt to have an easy way out of the commitment that comes with being in a marriage. As O’Rourke puts it, Kipnis does not offer really a solution to the problem but rather, only a recognition of the problem and a constant push to give in to the pressure. The unique thing about Kipnis’ argument about marriages is that she is not necessarily challenging the need of having marriages, her main focus is the rules, regulations and responsibilities involved in marriages as well as the lee ways each party should be entitled too without being criticized. In other words, it appears as though Kipnis’ perception of marriage portrays the desire to getting into a commitment without having to commit. The initial decision to get into a marriage, especially if it is by one’s own will, is a personal commitment from within to another person. Therefore if an individual makes the effort to actually establish a marriage, they should be equally ready to adhere to the do’s and don’ts that come with being in one. This is while having in mind that these do’s and don’ts are not only rules to live under but also guidelines to a successful and worthwhile marriage. I therefore disagree with Kipni’s ideology on the basis that when getting into a marriage, one should not impose on themselves commitments that they have no ability to live up to.

Another reason as to why I do not agree with Kipnis’ ideology that marriage belongs on the junk heap of human folly is because, the failure of some marriages does not mean that the ones which are functional and running well should change their ways of running the marriage as a protective measure against a failed marriage. No marriage is exactly the same as another, this can be evidenced by a research done by William J. Doherty which showed, “Wives who attributed other couples’ marital problems to undesirable personality traits or negative attitudes were more likely to verbally criticize their husbands in the problem-solving discussion”(Doherty 201). Every relationship and marriage is different and unique in its own way. This is because, every two people who love each other or intend to be in a relationship or marriage, are usually attracted to each other for very different, unique and diverse reasons. As Wesley R, Burr puts it, “There are, of course many different goals that are sought in marriage and because of this, it is fairly clear, but not conceptually, to refer to marital satisfaction” (Burr 29). This is as a result of the individual’s background, character, personality and mentality. This is the same reason why, every individual has their own different answer to the question of what they look for in a partner or what they consider to be attractive in another person. The approach that an individual has towards marriage determines how they handle the marriage once they are in one and how they handle the marriage subsequently determines how well and successfully the marriage ends up being. Depending on these factors, a marriage may either fail or become successful; it is all subject to the foundation on which it is built on. Therefore, unlike Kipnis, instead of solving the problem of failed marriages by loosening the standards of a marriage, more attention should be shift to the foundation, reason and standards upon which the marriage is formed and developed. An analysis carried out by Mari L. Clements, Scott M. Stanley and Howard J. Markman shows that, “divorce can be reliably classified on the basis of premarital data” (Clements 613) proving that problems in marriage originate from the background of the partners and not from the marriage itself. This is in line with O’Rourke’s view that we should accept the emphasis on improving ourselves rather than trying to get marriages to favor us and harbor our shortcomings.

Finally I disagree with Kipnis’ ideology about marriages because, man is to error and no one can be considered to be perfect in marriage. Kipnis claims that some people stay in an unhappy relationship longer than they should and that monogamy is more unnatural than sleeping around. Every human being is bound to make some good and bad decisions. It is only human to make mistakes or to experience setbacks in life. In the same way, in the institution of marriage, people are bound to make various mistakes once in a while, some more often than others. As much as these mistakes may sometimes be intentional, out of malice or sometimes out of disregard, there are some mistakes that are purely out of innocence of the other party. It does not make sense for the reputation of marriages to be tarnished solely based on mistakes that individuals make or might make while in a functioning marriage. As Haley puts it in his book, Problem solving-Therapy, “The emphasis is not on a method but on approaching each problem with special techniques for the specific situation”(Haley).Mistakes made in marriages do not warrant or justify discarding commitments and “sleeping around” as Kipnis puts it. In any case, some of the faults that a person may be blamed for in a marriage are not always necessarily so severe that they require the harshest consequences. Some of these misdoings call for maturity, understanding and a deeper commitment to the cause of the marriage, which increases the value of the union.


In conclusion, the idea of marriage should move from being viewed as a rite of passage or as a cliché that every other person gets caught up in. Marriage should be viewed as a personal choice that an individual should step up to for the right reason and on the right kind of foundation. Marriage should be treated with the appropriate care and value it deserves because marriage brings with it numerous contributions or rather becomes the origin of the growth and development of a desirable society.

Works Cited

Burr, Wesley R. “Satisfaction with various aspects of marriage over the life cycle: A random middle class sample.” Journal of Marriage and the Family (1970): 29-37.

Clements, Mari L., Scott M. Stanley, and Howard J. Markman. “Before they said “I do”: Discriminating among marital outcomes over 13 years.” Journal of Marriage and Family 66.3 (2004): 613-626.

Doherty, William J. “Attributional style and negative problem solving in marriage.” Family Relations (1982): 201-205.

Haley, Jay. Problem-solving therapy. Jossey-Bass, 1987.

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