Episode 45: Why Marriage Is So Hard, And How To Make It Better

July 30, 2021 by Justin Lehmiller

Marriage is hard. And, in many ways, it’s harder today than it was in the past because what we’re asking of our partners now is so dramatically different than it was before. Whereas marriage used to be about meeting basic survival needs, it’s become more about self-actualization. And so if we want to understand how to make the institution of marriage better, we have to look at it in the context of our ever-changing needs and expectations. That’s why this episode of the podcast is all about the science of marriage and how to cultivate happier and healthier marriages.

I interviewed Dr. Eli Finkel, a professor at Northwestern University, with appointments in the psychology department and the Kellogg School of Management. He is also the author of one of my favorite books, The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work.

Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:

  • How and why have our expectations for marriage changed over the last century?
  • How do we manage conflicting needs in our relationships, such as the need for excitement and surprise vs. the need for stability and security?
  • Can opening up a monogamous marriage help to save it?
  • How has the pandemic shaped marriage and relationships, for better or for worse?
  • How can we make marriage better? What can you do to keep it healthy and strong?
  • Should we be asking less of our partners?
  • How do you keep sex healthy and hot in a long-term relationship?

To learn more about Eli and his work, visit his website at elifinkel.com and check out his book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage.


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Credits: LEGIT Audio (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.

Written by

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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