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Companionate Marriage

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Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The Obamas in Miami, Florida on October 21, 2008.

Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Definition: A companionate marriage is based on the spouses having mutual interests in their careers and children. They also have a shared social network that includes their in-laws and mutual friends. Spouses in companionate marriages believe in the equality of men and women and believe their roles in marriage are interchangeable.

Both individuals in a companionate marriage need self-awareness and self-confidence in order for the marriage to be successful. Without trust, friendship, commitment, and shared values, a companionate marriage may be difficult to maintain.

"At the core of a companionate marriage is friendship and trust and the belief that both partners have equal responsibility in all domains of the marriage. They share the economic burdens and child rearing, and they believe that both partners' sexual needs and wishes should be clearly articulated and fulfilled.

They also recognize that when the children are young and career issues are pressing, their own needs as individuals have to be placed on the back burner. These couples know that people living side by side experience inevitable conflicts that must be confronted openly. They understand that mutual commitment is what holds the marriage together."
Source: The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, page 155
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Pronunciation: kuhm-pan-yuh-nit mar-ij
Alternate Spellings: companionate-marriage
Examples:
"Companionate marriage is the most common form of marriage among younger couples."
Source: The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, page 22

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