The Real Reason for Marriage - Prof. Jordan Peterson (2023)


Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, author and psychology professor at the University of Toronto. In this excerpt of his lecture series “Maps of Meaning” he shares his insightful views on the reasons for marriage and makes a strong but not uncontroversial case against divorce. Head over to Dr. Peterson’s own YouTube channel for his full lectures:

This clip is an excerpt of “2017 Maps of Meaning 6: Story and Metastory (Part 2)”:

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Don't miss out on his best selling first book “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief” which much of his lecture material is based on: (US) (UK) (CA)

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That's, actually why people get married? You know, just so you know, because this is built into marital vows I'm, not leaving ever no matter what it's like okay, well that definitely puts a boundary around our arguments right? Because I can't say, every time you manifest one of your flaws, which you're likely to do just as often as me.

Well, enough of this it's like that's, horrible man.

If your whole life is well, every time you get out of line I'm out of here, it's like how the hell are you first of all you're, not going to admit to ever doing anything wrong.

Second, you're going to be on your you're like a like a scared cat, the entire relationship because well who knows it could just come to an end at any moment? It's like, you know, people say, well, if you're if the possibility of divorce is open, it makes you free it's like yeah, that's.

What you want you want to be free really really so you can't predict anything that's, what you're after it's a vow.

And it says, look, I know that your trouble me too.

So we won't leave.

No matter what happens? Well, that's a hell of a vow, but that's, why it's a vow right that's? Why you take it in front of a bunch of people that's? Why it's supposed to be a sacred act, it's like what's, the alternative what's, the alternative everything is mutable and changeable at any moment.

Well, go ahead.

You live.

You live your life like that and see what you're like when you're 50.

Jesus, it's dismal, two or three divorces, your family's fragmented.

You've got no continuity of narrative, it's and it's, not good for the kids, not by any stretch of the imagination and so it's, a form of voluntary enslavement, I suppose, but it's also equivalent to the adoption of a responsibility and there's more to it than that.

If you can't run away, then you can solve your problems because it might be okay.

Well, I'm stuck with you.

So how about we fix things? Because the alternative is we're going to be in a boxing match for the next 40 years, that's, the alternative.

So and you think you're going to fix problems without something like that hanging over your head, there isn't a chance you'll just avoid them because that's what people do it's really hard to solve problems, especially in a relationship we're having a fight and I find out that it's, you know, because you're you are abused by your uncle when you were five or some goddamn thing, you know, it's like it's, very frequent that that sort of thing happens.

You there's, the partner your partner is, you know, manifesting some weird, anomalous Behavior.

You just can't make heads or tails of it.

It doesn't seem related to what you're doing at all.

They don't want to talk about it.

And so, as soon as you bring it up, they get mad.

Then you bring it up again.

They even get madder, and they tell you that you're not going to talk about that or they're going to leave.

And so maybe you really really persistent because you're kind of a son of a [ __ ].

And then they break down and cry, you know, and then they have this horrible memory that comes flooding forward, that's completely, you don't know what to do with it.

And then you have to sort it out it's like you think you're going to do that unless there's a good reason you have to know we better sort this out and we're going to be carrying it around for the next 40 years that maybe is enough motivation.

So you'll actually try hard to solve a problem.


A lot easier to say, well, sorry, we're, not going there.

But then good you'll have it every day every day every goddamn day for the rest of your life, see there's, some there's, some additional problems with divorce that people don't really grasp when they're young like the idea that you can be divorced.

Once you have children that's kind of a stupid idea because you can't you can you can you can find a limited substitute for your initial freedom.

But if you if you have kids and you try to get divorced the probability that that's going to demolish your life is very very high.

First of all it's, incredibly expensive.

So one, or both of you is going to come out of that poor.

And your market value has declined let's say, you're, the woman who takes the kids your market value has declined radically you're going to be poorer.

The man he's just a screwed, because he is now an indentured servant and there's, no escape from it.

So it's and it's, not so bad.

If you can negotiate a peaceful separation and some people can but lots of times if you have a terrible relationship, it's, not like negotiating.

A peaceful separation is all that easy.

But if you're at each other's, throats, good luck to you I think it's roughly equivalent to having non-fatal cancer.

It is not pleasant it's.

A 10-year process, 15-year process, it'll cost.

You two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and it'll tear a big chunk out of your life.

And also it will really disrupt your relationship with your kids.

And you know, you bring kids into a step parent family.

They do not do as well.

Step parents are not as good parents as biological parents and the data on that is clear.

Now, obviously there are exceptions because there are terrible biological parents, and there are wonderful step parents.

But if you look in aggregate, it's, not that easy to care for children, you need everything you can binding you to them.

And if they're someone else's children, mostly they get in the way of the person that you love right? Well, if I'm let's say, you have a child I'll be right out, let's say, you have a child and I want to go out with you.

Every second you spend with that child is the second you don't spend with me and and there's going to be a price for that I'm, not going to be happy about that.

And and if I have a child you're going to feel exactly the same way, you might say, well, no I love children, it's like, yeah, yeah.

Sure sure you do I doubt it, you might love your child.

And and you know, it's, pretty specific the way that people love children.

So and the rate of abuse for kids in step parent families is way higher than it is in biological families, there's, not even any comparison.


What does Jordan Peterson say is the real reason for married? ›

This is what Jordan says is one of the advantages of marriage: it seems to be easier for us to reveal ourselves completely, wounds and all when we're with a partner who has made that official, on-paper commitment to stick with us unconditionally.

What is the real reason for marriage? ›

The decision to get married or to move in with a partner is a personal one, but for most married and cohabiting adults, love and companionship trump other considerations, such as the desire to have children someday, convenience or finances.

What are the 3 reasons for marriage? ›

for love. for companionship. to signify a life-long commitment. to provide security for children.

What are the 3 most important things in marriage? ›

Marriages take work, commitment, and love, but they also need respect to be truly happy and successful. A marriage based on love and respect doesn't just happen.

What is truth Jordan Peterson quotes? ›

The truth is something that burns, it burns off deadwood and people don't like having their deadwood burnt off often because they're 95 percent deadwood.

What is a quote from Jordan Peterson? ›

1. “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” 2. “If you aren't moving forward in your life there is some idea, mode of action, or habit you're so in love with you won't let go of it.”

What is the number one reason people marry? ›

Most People Marry for Love

According to the Pew Research Center, 88% of the general public reports that love is the main reason they chose to tie the knot. This is the number one reason respondents gave.

Why do men not want to get married anymore? ›

After marriage, men work more, spend less time with friends, and are expected to take care of others. Men have an inner view that after marriage — but not before — their partners have the right to tell them what to do. And this could be one of the overwhelming reasons why men don't want to get married.

Can you love someone and not want to marry them? ›

It is possible, however, to have a committed and loving relationship without marriage, and some people who are uncomfortable with marriage ultimately change their minds. A disagreement about marriage doesn't have to end your relationship, particularly if you both are committed to the relationship.

What are the three C's of marriage? ›

A strong and healthy relationship is built on the three C's: Communication, Compromise and Commitment. Think about how to use communication to make your partner feel needed, desired and appreciated.

What does Jesus say about marriage? ›

The Bible teaches, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25) and “teach the young women … to love their husbands” (Titus 2:4). Love in marriage can be deeper and more selfless than in any other relationship. It is this type of love that Jesus expects of His followers, and it is the virtue that couples need the most.

What marriage means to a man? ›

Marriage generally makes people happier. When men get married, they become happier because the thought of spending life together with someone forever is thrilling. Hence, he will look forward to all the moments he will share with his life partner. Happiness is also one of the health benefits of marriage.

What are the 5 C's of marriage? ›

Communication, Commitment, Compassion, Compatibility, and Chemistry.

What is the #1 rule of marriage? ›

One of the greatest rules of a happy marriage is respect. Even when you're fighting, you have to maintain respect for each other in order for things to work. It's important to keep calm when you have disagreements. It's OK to get angry, but never resort to name calling or spiteful comments.

What are the 4 pillars of marriage? ›

Safety, Faithfulness, Commitment and Reliability are 4 pillars of trust every marriage needs. If any one of these is missing, the roof starts caving in and the relationship starts to deteriorate. Marriages thrive when both partners feel safe and secure.

What is Jordan Peterson's point? ›

Peterson believes that order is masculine and chaos is feminine, and that these qualities are inherent to human existence. To Peterson, culture is "symbolically, archetypally, mythically male," while "chaos—the unknown—is symbolically associated with the feminine."

What does Jordan Peterson say is the purpose of life? ›

The purpose of life, as far as I can tell… is to find a mode of being that's so meaningful that the fact that life is suffering is no longer relevant.

What philosophy does Jordan Peterson use? ›

Jordan Peterson's ideology is largely based on rejecting postmodernism, an academic movement that questions values such as truth, objectivity and rationalism. He has argued that postmodernist relativism leaves us unable to make informed decisions about important life issues.

What are 5 famous quotes? ›

Famous quotes in English
That's one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.Neil ArmstrongEnglish
The love of money is the root of all evil.the BibleGreek
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.Franklin D. RooseveltEnglish
The truth will set you free.the BibleGreek
54 more rows

What does Jordan Peterson say about change? ›

You can't change other people, but you can change yourself. But it's difficult. It takes courage to change, and it takes discipline.

Which marriages are more successful? ›

Early-married husbands are more satisfied with their marriages than later-married husbands (81% vs 71%) and are more sexually satisfied (63% vs 49%).

What do men gain from marriage? ›

Married Men Behave Better

They take fewer risks, eat better, and maintain healthier lifestyles than their single counterparts. Harvard Health also says that married people tend to keep regular doctor appointments and follow doctor recommendations more often than singles.

What are the odds you marry someone? ›

According to research conducted by the evangelically oriented Barna research group, born-agains have an 84 percent chance of getting married, while followers of non-Christian faiths have a 74 percent chance and atheists and agnostics have a 65 percent chance.

Who benefits the most from marriage? ›

These cultural stereotypes persist despite evidence that marriage serves men much more than women in almost every way. Married men are better off than single men; they are healthier, wealthier, and happier.

What percentage of people never get married? ›

A growing share of adults are unpartnered

The share who have never been married has also grown – from 17% to 33%. All of this churn has resulted in a significant increase in the share who are unpartnered. The growth in unpartnered adults has been sharper among men than women.

What happens if a man never married? ›

According to recent scientific studies, men who never get married may gain strength from solitude. They have more extensive social networks and a deeper connection to work. They're also differently vulnerable to some of life's travails.

What is it called when you love together but are not married? ›

Cohabiting is when a couple lives together before marriage (or civil partnership) or instead of marrying or entering into a civil partnership. If you're living with your partner, and you're not married or in a civil partnership, you're a cohabiting couple.

How long before a man knows he wants to marry you? ›

According to a new study, it takes around six months, or 172 days, for a person to decide if the person they are dating is marriage material.

Can a woman marry a man she doesn't love? ›

This could be out of fear of being lonely or just wanting to spend your life with someone. For such a person, it doesn't matter if he/she doesn't love the other party. As long as the other party is sincere, reliable, and loves him/her, he/she is okay with marrying him/her.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for marriage? ›

The 3x3 Rule! Basically, you and your partner get 3 hours a week of uninterrupted alone time. You can take those 3 hours all at once OR break it up into a half hour here, an hour there, etc. You also get 3 hours of uninterrupted TOGETHER time.

What is the most common and acceptable form of marriage? ›

Monogamy: Monogamy is a form of marriage in which one man marries the woman. It is most common form of the marriage found among in the societies around the world.

How do you know when a relationship is unhealthy? ›

One person makes all the decisions and tells the other what to do, what to wear, or who to spend time with. They are jealous, and/or try to isolate the other person from their friends and family. Dependence.

What is the only reason for divorce in the Bible? ›

Divorce in the Bible is only considered under the only exceptional circumstance of sexual immorality. If either spouse remarries a person not divorced under this rule, or if they have not been divorced because of immoral behavior, then they will have committed adultery.

Does God forgive divorce? ›

Does God forgive divorce? Absolutely! Divorce is no less forgivable than any other sin. Forgiveness of all sins is available through faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7).

Is it a sin to remarry after divorce? ›

“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”9 Here, the phrase “and marries another” raises the issue of remarriage. Jesus states that divorcing a mate on the grounds of immorality frees the offended mate to remarry without committing adultery.

Who lives longer married or single man? ›

Marriage and longevity

Married men and married women live, on average, two years longer than their unmarried counterparts. One reason for this longevity benefit is the influence of marital partners on healthy behaviors.

What do men want in a wife? ›

Like women, men want a life partner who will be trustworthy, faithful and reliable. They want a wife who will stand by their side and, considering divorce rates, it's no surprise that dependability would continue to be attractive.

What makes a man love a woman? ›

Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.

Do you believe that marriage is a contract Why or why not? ›

Marriage is a covenant and not a contract. Marriage is intended to be commitment to which we maintain trust and fidelity until separated by death. In a covenant, we put the needs of the relationship ahead of our own needs, humbly serving each other much as Christ serves the church.

Whose idea is marriage based on? ›

The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia. Over the next several hundred years, marriage evolved into a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans.

Does Jordan Peterson's wife work? ›

Careers And Passions

Before Tammy Peterson devoted her time to supporting her husband as an advisor, she worked professionally as a massage therapist. Tammy has also been an avid foster parent since she was 30, housing many children from orphanages in and around Canada.

What is the rule 7 Jordan Peterson? ›

Rule 7: Pursue What is Meaningful (Not What is Expedient) To share does not mean to give away something you value, and get nothing back. That is instead only what every child who refuses to share fears it means.

What is the rule 4 Jordan Peterson? ›

Rule 4: Improve your own game instead of playing others'

In a highly-connected, populous world, you can always find someone who's better than you—be it in looks, wealth, status or relationships. No matter what you've achieved, you can still feel miserably inferior compared to others.

What is the first rule of the 12 Rules for Life? ›

To "Stand up straight with your shoulders back" (Rule 1) is to "accept the terrible responsibility of life," to make self-sacrifice, because the individual must rise above victimization and "conduct his or her life in a manner that requires the rejection of immediate gratification, of natural and perverse desires alike ...

Is marriage a real contract? ›

Marriage represents a lifetime commitment between two partners. While this partnership typically involves mutual romantic interest, such marriages are also legal contracts that confer special rights and responsibilities to the married couple.

What is marriage according to philosophy? ›

He wrote: “In matrimony there is a joining in respect of which we speak of husband and wife; and this joining, through being directed to some one thing [procreation], is matrimony; while the joining together of bodies and minds is a result of matrimony” (Summa Theologica, Q44).

Is contract marriage good? ›

The marriage contract provides a level of certainty and peace of mind in knowing how property is to be dealt with if the relationship ends or a spouse dies. They can protect family heirlooms by keeping them out of “family property”. They often are used to help protect a family business.

What are the 4 types of marriage? ›

These include the statutory marriage; customary marriage; church marriage; and Islamic marriage. However, it is common in Nigeria for a single couple to conduct at least three different kinds of marriages together. Customary Marriage is also known as Traditional Marriage.

What are the 3 types of marriage? ›

On the basis of number of mates marriage may be classified into three types such as Monogamy, Polygamy and Endogamy or group marriage.

What was God's original intent for marriage? ›

God created marriage as a loyal partnership between one man and one woman. Marriage is the firmest foundation for building a family. God designed sexual expression to help married couples build intimacy. Marriage mirrors God's covenant relationship with His people.

What religion is Jordan Peterson? ›

Peterson grew up in a mildly Christian household.

Is Jordan Peterson wife ok? ›

What is Peterson's net worth? ›

The estimated net worth of Jordan Peterson is $8 million.

He is a Canadian clinical psychologist by trade and is well known for his bestselling books and social commentary.

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