While marriage dates back to biblical times, the institution has undergone a dramatic transformation in the modern era.

What we call marriage today barely resembles its past profile. Formerly, matrimony was about economic sustenance, partnership, companionship, social status, and children.

Today, marriage is considered a romantic arrangement, a commitment between two, equal individuals based on love and trust. Spouses are supposed to be confidantes, friends, and passionate lovers.

There is an expectation that one person will provide what an entire community used to offer. And, for the first time in history, we have linked marital happiness to sexual satisfaction.

Additionally, particularly in the United States, honesty has become conflated with transparency — wholesale sharing — and intimacy requires honesty. Therefore, a secret between two married individuals means the couple lacks long-term love and intimacy.

Secrets are inherently wrong. Intimacy has come to mean “into me see.” It is a concept bathed in self-disclosure, the truthful sharing of our personal and private material.

The underlying belief is that by exposing one’s internal life to another, he/she will feel deeply recognized, known, and able to transcend his/her existential aloneness because he/she matters to at least one person.

Ours is a culture that believes in the ethos of absolute frankness. Anything short of that is equated to wrongdoing.

With this in mind, some of our core beliefs about marriage — the assumptions we make and the values we hold dear — really need to be questioned at a fundamental level. What are some of those assumptions about long-term love and how are they flawed? Let’s take a look.

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