TED Conversations

Amy Winn


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What can we teach our children about marriage, using advice from our successes as well as our failures, to teach them how to be a good mate?

Why is it that with each passing generation of marriages, there is an increasing likelihood of failure? Why is it that our grand-parents and great grand-parents went through wars and the great depression, and stuck together? They had no cable, no interenet….so perhaps it is because they actually spoke to each other. In this “me” world, it seems that newlyweds don’t have patience, understanding, empathy and tolerance. These things are the necessary foundation of a good and long lasting marriage. Where have they gone? So my question to everyone, is how can we change this? What can we teach the next generation from our own experiences, good and bad, that may improve their chances of maintaining a long term happy marriage?


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    Aug 14 2013: Congratulations on your son's engagement, I wish you, him and his bride all the best :)

    Your reply made me think of a situation I've had with my family a while ago - I carelessly changed my facebook status to 'in relationship' and regretted it almost immediately. What happened a couple hours later was an unexpected phonecall from my mother saying that a distant aunt, whom I almost never talk to, called her and told her that I got married... It took me some time to explain to her that I did not and that's it's probably one cousin of mine who's told another cousin who interpreted this change as marriage and so on and so forth. After this tiny status change I had to put out fires in the family. Now it's back to 'no relationship data', just in case. I'm not really sure what I'm trying to achieve by telling this tiny story, maybe a note on the alleged sanctity of marriage. What I learnt from this episode was that the elders of the tribe (i.e. aunts, uncles etc.) were teeming with rumours for years - when will Anna tie a know, walk the aisle and so on - in their view my relationship was illegitimate. As if a ring would change the feelings or the relationship.

    For centuries marriages where contracts between families and questions of succeeding in marriage and maintaining good relationships within it where not the ones to ask. This has not been completely abandoned. There are vast countries and regions in the world where a girls only role in life is to be prepared to be married, girls as young as 13 are given away as trade objects, a man's role is to sustain her and the children. The future spouses often meet at their wedding day for the first time.

    We are lucky to be able to have this discussion and have freedom to say that maybe the knot is not as necessary as older generations thought.
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      Aug 14 2013: Anna, Just love that story about your facebook status. Very amusing that something so simple could cause such chaos. My son has told everyone about this engagement, or I wouldn't dare mention it on any web cite at all. After all, I do want to be invited to the wedding!!!! I understand your comments about the pressure. My mother asked me for the last year and a half "Why doesn't he give her a ring?" My answer was always the same "He will when he is ready." We need to trust that our children listened to what we taught them as they grew up and made the best decision that they can make for their lives, whatever that decision is and whenever they are ready to make it. We need to but out and be very happy for them and support them no matter what. I really feel that this is the only way that they will share and welcome us into their lives.

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