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The History of Marriage (And Why That Matters)
How Modern Marriage Came to Be (And What That Has to Do With You!)
Your marriage is a product of generations of past couples and marriages. And marriage has not always looked like it does today! If you attend marriage counseling, you are benefitting from years of research about relationships and communication. We have come a long way when it comes to understanding relationships!
Today, you will learn about how modern marriage came to be. You will also learn how understanding the history of marriage can help you and your partner improve your relationship.
Early humans probably didn’t view coupling or relationships like you and I do today. Researchers believe that, in the beginning, human families and couples lived together as a means of survival (Source). If you had a partner, you would work together to hunt, gather, and reproduce. Many families lived together in one area to ensure their safety.
Marriage, which is the word we will use here to describe committed, long-term relationships, started as a way to find and keep valuable resources. Love and affection were present, but you didn’t choose a partner for love alone. Your relationships would mostly revolve around physically surviving.
Next, it’s important for you to understand how human needs work. A great way to visualize this idea is through the hierarchy of needs. (Source: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). You will work throughout your life to make sure your basic needs are met. Some of your essential needs include food, shelter, and safety.
In the beginning of humans and relationships, couples and families worked primarily to fulfill this bottom half of the hierarchy. To be able to have fulfilling, emotionally connected relationships, the basic physical needs had to be met first. (Related article: Emotional Intimacy).
Next, let’s jump forward to more modern history. Specifically the industrial revolution in the US. Before the industrial revolution, most families married in order to create an economic union and have children who could help them grow and harvest food or practice a trade. But, once industry boomed, people started to live and work in cities. (Related Article: Marriage Counseling- Team Building).
Families changed a lot! Smaller living spaces and longer work days outside of homes meant smaller families. And, families didn’t work on a farm to survive and grow their own food. Marriage became less of an economic union, since people’s physical needs were more readily met. (Related Video: The History of Marriage). And it became more common for couples to be formed based on romantic relationships, not just survival.
Thriving, Not Just Surviving
Fast forward to today, and you probably didn’t marry your spouse to have an extra set of hands on your farm. Or for a strategic economic partnership. Your marriage probably wasn’t even an arranged marriage. In fact, with time, marriages have evolved further to become a way for individual partners to find the support they each need to become their best selves.
You can see the top of the hierarchy of needs includes things like creativity and problem solving. Through your marriage, you and your partner can receive support you each need to do just that. Your relationship can be a vehicle for personal fulfillment and achievement in addition to your mutual bond as a couple. (Related Article: How to Fix Marriage Problems).
A Good Marriage Helps You Become Your Best Self
So, how do you make sure your marriage is a great foundation for individual and mutual growth? There are many things you and your spouse can do. (Related article: Marriage Counseling- Resilience). First, work on yourself and improving your communication skills. This includes skills like validation and active listening. Helping your partner feel heard builds the trust you will need to get to that personal fulfillment stage we talked about. (Related Article: Unmet Needs).
Additionally, you can work on your marriage in couples therapy. Marriage counseling is a great way to learn skills and tools that will help you improve your marriage and also support each other as you try to become your best selves. Want to learn more? Start couples therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins