January 1, 2011

Is your partner helping you with your "self-expansion"?

It's the secret to a happy marriage, according to some experts:
While the notion of self-expansion may sound inherently self-serving, it can lead to stronger, more sustainable relationships, [says Professor Gary W. Lewandowski Jr.,].

“If you’re seeking self-growth and obtain it from your partner, then that puts your partner in a pretty important position,” he explains. “And being able to help your partner’s self-expansion would be pretty pleasing to yourself.”

The concept explains why people are delighted when dates treat them to new experiences, like a weekend away. But self-expansion isn’t just about exotic experiences. Individuals experience personal growth through their partners in big and small ways. It happens when they introduce new friends, or casually talk about a new restaurant or a fascinating story in the news.
Introducing you to a fascinating story in the news? The secret to happiness is, perhaps, marrying a blogger!


Skyler said...

I am rarely impressed by anyone claiming expertise in marriage.

shoutingthomas said...

The only solution is for hetero couples to get gay married!

Do it the way gay guys in NYC do it. Couple up and still screw around!

This is the ultimate "self-expansion."

This is the new frontier. Gay marriage for heteros! No more putting up with screwing the same old wife every night.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Not that I don't laugh at concepts like "self-expansion", because I definitely do, but something along this line is one of the reason that I really dislike the current trend to marry late.

I married at 21. We celebrate our 10th year of delirious happiness this spring. Neither of us is the same person we were when we started (if you had told 21 yr old me that 30 yr old me would be a lawyer, she would have laughed like mad), but that's a good thing- As we've grown, we've grown together.


Jason (the commenter) said...

shoutingthomas: Do it the way gay guys in NYC do it. Couple up and still screw around!

"Open marriages" "swingers" I didn't live through the 70's but these aren't new concepts even to me.

This is the ultimate "self-expansion."

Actually, that would be dating a feeder.

edutcher said...

Lyssa is right, of course, Anyone who is the same person they were 10 years ago has some problems. The guy would seem to have a point, although Skyler's right about marriage expertise. We're all always learning.

Ann Althouse said...

"The secret to happiness is, perhaps, marrying a blogger!"

Well, many of us do admire Meade.

PS Nice to hear things are working for you, Lyssa. It sounds as if you've found a true path to happiness.

PPS Only shout would come up with something like gay marriage for straights.

Belkys said...

I had a classmate whose studies were paid by her husband a taxi driver. On receiving her law degree, here are undergraduate studies, se left him and married a sociology professor who was studying law

Freeman Hunt said...

Sounds like the writer is saying you should marry someone with whom you enjoy having discussions. Of course you should do that!

Congratulations, Lyssa! I also got married at twenty-one, and I couldn't agree with you more.

ricpic said...

The bigger a man is the fuller he is. And the emptier.

--Samuel Beckett

I mean if we're gonna speak of expansion.

Scott M said...

Self-expansion gets put on the same hold button self-fulfilment does when you have small children. Both, however, are absolutely necessary for a healthy marriage (and one's own personal sanity) as the kids get a little older. Curiously enough this happens right around the time of the proverbial mid-life crisis.

Synova said...

My theory for some time now is that the most important role in marriage is cheerleader. It's not reasonable to actually provide "growth" or whatever, it's not reasonable to put the burden of your happiness on another person, and it's not reasonable to expect your partner to share all of your interests. It is reasonable to support and encourage your partner in their own interests.

Kirby Olson said...

That means dieting together is out.

Misty said...

I got married at 20 and in one week we'll be celebrating our 34th anniversary. My advice, marry your best friend and always continue finding ways to stay best friends through all that life throws at you and never give up.

Self-expansion? Never quite heard it put that way but with my dh I've tried many things I never would have alone such as wilderness backpacking, getting my motorcycle license, astronomy and joining a shooting team. He of course is uplifted by my wit and charm.

Happy New Year!\

WV: ankar - we are each others' ankar in the sea of life (too corny?)

dont tread 2012 said...

Our 'selves' are expanding as a result of our relationships with our spouses, for sure, as Ann suggests.

Married 'late' (30), my wife and I are on our 18th year. 2 kids, 1 winning a battle against childhood cancer later and then some, we both are different people in some ways but not all.

I think the biggest thing we've learned is that you need to go through some trials together to forge a strong bond.

And George Costanza was right about makeup sex.

traditionalguy said...

That can be a nice memory of the other who takes the patience to really teach new things to us. Learn golf. Learn dancing. Learn cooking. Learn the latest research in behavior and psychology. Learn scriptures. All of those take anextended effort by teacher and pupil. Or marry a rennaisance Blogger.We never need to quit learning. Great professor's lectures are available for sale too.

Anne B. said...

Misty said:

``My advice, marry your best friend and always continue finding ways to stay best friends through all that life throws at you and never give up.''

Amen, amen to that. Married my best friend on 6/23/78 and we're still together through kids, grandkids, financial ups and down and medical crises. My husband says, "we're a team" - we don't have to do the same things, we just have to work together. And we do that pretty well.

EDH said...

I'm thinking about how this theory applies to women who are attacted to the "bad boy."

I suspect some women, especially at a younger age, immaturely believe that coupling with "bad boy" is a source "new experiences" and "self-expansion."