Is Marriage a Straight Jacket?

Is marriage constraining or liberating? In this episode of the Building Us podcast, co-hosts Erik Garcia, CFP®, and Dr. Matt Morris, LPC, LMFT explain why marriage is a straight jacket to some people, the aspects of premarital love, and how marriage makes you a better person.

Episode Highlights:

  • Erik shares a study from Harvard that said, happiness and health aren’t the result of wealth, fame, or working hard. But instead, it comes from our relationships, and being in a stable relationship is linked to both physical and mental health benefits. (1:43)
  • Matt shares a small detail about their 2021 mini-series called, The Next Normal. (2:39)
  • Matt thinks that love and marriage are at times crazy-making and at times gloriously beautiful, and experiencing both are part of being married. (7:31)
  • Matt shares that if you accept them the way they are, they’re more likely to grow and change that there is a relationship between acceptance and change, or acceptance and growth. (9:13)
  • Matt shares that marriage reveals our selfishness, and being married to the right person will still reveal your selfishness which you’ll be then motivated to grow through and change so that both are focused. (13:42)
  • Matt mentions that marriage doesn’t mean you can keep doing whatever you want, for the rest of your life. But if that’s your definition of a straightjacket, then maybe your expectations about marriage need to change. (15:34)
  • Erik shares that the beautiful aspect of marriage is the commitment that two people make to each other, to accept, and love each other, unconditionally. (17:33)
  • Matt shares that we need a partner with whom to go through life and we crave to create both love and family, and having a relationship that’s similar to marriage gives us the best opportunity. (20:02)
  • Matt mentions that marital love is made up of different strands woven together, and he explains the meaning of each strand. (21:24)
  • Matt shares that there’s an aspect of restraint to marital love. But not all marital love is restraining. There’s a lot of freedom, fun, and enjoyment in marital love as well. (23:16)
  • Matt mentions that not all marriage experiences the freedom to become their true self to the fullest. (28:29)
  • Matt shares a story about how marriage is both constraining and liberating, at the same time. (37:29)
  • Matt thinks that marriage is not a straight jacket. Rather, it comes with constraints that will lead to a greater sense of freedom and joy. (45:58)

Key Quotes:

  • “I think there is a protective element to a healthy marriage that does enhance our life that does bring health and wholeness and protection and security and a better judgment to our life. It makes us better people.” – Dr. Matt Morris
  • “My experience in being married is the woman who absolutely adores and absolutely loves, and has the ability to make me feel the happiest and the most joy inside has also the ability to evoke the complete opposite reactions and that crazy feeling.” – Dr. Matt Morris
  • “The adventure of marriage should continually be inspirational, that I should find inspiration from both my own marriage and from my spouse. And I think that if you, if you are no longer doing that, or haven’t been doing that, that’s something to talk about.” – Dr. Matt Morris
  • “Life, in general, is a journey of personal growth and marriage is the accelerator of that growth process. It will stretch you, bend you, refine you, and sand you down in some ways, unlike any other thing in your life.” – Dr. Matt Morris
  • “Marriage should be a place to come home to, from the storm. It should be a place when the seas are raging and the storms are crashing, a safe place to rest and refuel. So, your marriage should be a place that you turn to when you need support, and marriage should also be kind of this launching pad that sends us back out into the world.” – Dr. Matt Morris

Resources Mentioned:


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