I read an interesting article today on WashingtonPost.com by Ellen McCarth; about the growth of marriage education in this country.  There is much to be discussed about the effectiveness and role of marriage education, couples therapy, relationship coaching, and even couples group therapy in supporting couples but I particularly liked the angle of this article.  Ms. McCarthy takes a minute to explore the bigger (more important?)question- are many of marital problems that couples experience really the result of not understanding “how” to be married rather than a problem with “who” you married.  As a marriage and family therapist I believe the best answer lies somewhere in the middle.

There is no denying that choosing a spouse who shares your values and life goals is an important part of building a strong marital foundation.  But the complex emotional negotiating that is fundamental to living your life with another human being is something that requires skills that many of us have not mastered even after we tie the knot.  As a couple you must learn not just how to love and how to love the person you are with.  Just as there are many ways that therapists (and coaches and marriage educators) work to support couples, there are many ways to be married.  The trick is creating a set of rules that work best for your relationship.

Check out the article and then come back and tell us what you think.  Do you agree with Diane Sollee when she says that its more important to learn how to do marriage right than it is to find the “right” person?  How have you and your partner learned to be married together?

The Marriage Myth: Why do so many couples divorce? Maybe they just don’t know how to be married..