By David Steele


Despite its historic and important role in our society, the institution of marriage is facing an existential crisis.

As we write this, fewer people are tying the knot, the divorce rate is at an all-time high, and “til death do us part” is becoming a thing of the past. Rather than being associated with the freedom to experience life to the fullest, marriage is seen by more and more individuals as an obsolete anachronism holding them back from living the good life.

Don’t believe us?

Consider this infidelity-inducing slogan aimed at bored, married couples from one of the biggest internet matchmaking websites, with over 21 million subscribers:

Life is short. Have an affair.”

If marriage is to be rescued from the throes of (real or perceived) obsolescence, this mindset has to change.

It’s evolve or die.

The Paradox of Marriage

Marriage is an ancient institution rich with traditions and customs. It has served as a stabilizing force in society and given us comfort and safe haven in a challenging world. Deep down, people see the inherent value of marriage and there remains a desire for it. But in today’s modern culture we want to forge our own path and live our life our way. We want to pursue our own destiny. We don’t want to conform to how society wants us to be and we don’t want to follow some predetermined path that our parents or others expect of us. We value both tradition and choice of lifestyle.

This is the paradox of marriage.

On the one hand, people view marriage as wholesome and desirable. On the other hand, they see it as old fashioned. People are attracted to marriage, but they are also afraid of it. People want the companionship and partnership of marriage, but they think it means they can no longer have a fun and exciting life.

Marriage Needs a Paradigm Shift

To ensure the survival of one of our most important social institutions, we need a new way of looking at marriage. We need a platform from which we can stand firmly to deepen and evolve our relationship and experience life to the fullest. We need a new model of how we can leverage that foundation and security to achieve the kind of fulfillment as a couple that we couldn’t possibly realize on our own.

To survive and thrive, marriage needs a paradigm shift.

While it’s true that in today’s world we want to have our own journey, follow our own path and passions, and go where our energy wants to go, it’s also true that our relationship can be the greatest adventure of our life. It can be the vehicle for experiencing the excitement and fulfillment that we have always wanted, in the most inclusive way possible. What matters most is not your chosen lifestyle, but your life with whomever you choose to live it. Marriage, in our view, refers to the level of commitment; there is a certain day, time, and place you can point to that says, “There, that’s the moment we became committed for life.”

No matter the terms or how you choose to define it, clearly it’s time for the scope of marriage to evolve.

We Need a New Marriage Movement

For marriage to survive we need a movement to facilitate the next evolution of committed relationships and to save one of our most important social institutions.

Marriage, despite its decline and perception problems, has many benefits and plays an important role in our society. As the secure basis of a family that raises children to be fully functional, well-adjusted adults, marriage is crucial. It creates the necessary safety and stability for a truly committed relationship and family. We are wired for it. We survive and thrive best in it.

If you have problems or if you find things getting stale and boring in your marriage, it doesn’t mean that you throw it out or surf the internet for an affair. It just means that your marriage is stuck. Instead of divorce, the “radical” solution is to work together to get your relationship to the next level. Rather than going forward alone, you and your partner can explore and experiment with a new approach to marriage, one in which you both maximize your chances of experiencing your greatest adventure, pursuing your dreams and living a life of fulfillment together – becoming far more successful as a team than you could by yourselves.

Radical Marriage is an Amazon best-selling book that will open your eyes, rock your world, and change your reality about committed relationships. Download a free “sneak peek” of this ground-breaking book, including the first three chapters at

David Steele, MA. LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute and author of “Radical Marriage: Your Relationship as Your Greatest Adventure.” For more information and many free resources for couples and professionals visit

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