After our debate on this site about Sandra Tsing Loh’s Atlantic piece about her liberating divorce and Christina Nehring’s book about the death of passion in the modern marriage, I kept waiting for someone to write about the other side. Now Elizabeth Weil has finally done it in her upcoming New York Times Magazine story , taking us deep inside her relatively happy, companionate union. This is a truly fascinating piece about what you discover when you put a perfectly good thing through the test:
I started wondering why I wasn’t applying myself to the project of being a spouse. My marriage was good, utterly central to my existence, yet in no other important aspect of my life was I so laissez-faire. Like most of my peers, I applied myself to school, friendship, work, health and, ad nauseam, raising my children. But in this critical area, marriage, we had all turned away. I wanted to understand why. I wanted not to accept this. Dan, too, had worked tirelessly - some might say obsessively - at skill acquisition. Over the nine years of our marriage, he taught himself to be a master carpenter and a master chef. He was now reading Soviet-era weight-training manuals in order to transform his 41-year-old body into that of a Marine. Yet he shared the seemingly widespread aversion to the very idea of marriage improvement. Why such passivity? What did we all fear?
Conversation page photograph of couple by Stockbyte/Getty Images.