Professor Jordan Peterson, of the University of Toronto, suggests that we marry because marriage provides us with a certain boundary. The promise is: “No matter what, I will be there.” It implies that one can be imperfect, and will not leave as soon as our partner sees our imperfections.

He makes a point of mentioning that marriage is perhaps a voluntary enslavement – but then what is the alternative? What would marriage be if instead, you were free to change it and leave anytime you want?

We exchange a promise with our partner to be there for each other knowing that we are not perfect, knowing that we will screw up and make mistakes. But it does not give us a free pass. Marriage means making an effort to resolve conflicts effectively, to be honest, and kind, to appreciate each other. Persevering together to fix problems and to come up with a better solution is part of the marriage deal.

If right now you are in an argument with your partner, take one small step towards resolving it. Take a few minutes to listen to your partner, to take in their point of view without correcting them or having to express yours. Just listen to understand them.