And yet there could be a silver lining to the COVID cloud, he suggested in a great webinar (see video below) last week with Eli Finkel, a professor of psychology and of management and organisations at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and director the Relationships and Motivation Lab.
Coronavirus, says Wilcox, could kill off or severely weaken the hold of the “soulmate myth” of marriage that took hold from the 1970s onwards. This is “the idea that marriage is primarily about an intense emotional connection between two people that should last only so long as that connection remains happy, fulfilling and life-giving to the self.”
It is an idea that has opened up an ominous marriage gap in America and elsewhere, on the upside of which is the educated elite who still marry and stay married, and on the downside, increasing numbers of ordinary people who aspire to a soulmate marriage but for whom the model doesn’t work, at the expense of their own happiness and that of their children. Wilcox would like to see it laid to rest, and a return to a more family-centred idea of marriage.
In that way, he argues, married couples would emerge from the COVID era in a better financial and emotional state, and marriage is likely to be a more secure harbour for their children.A silver lining: marriage in a post-COVID world: Predictions are ‘for worse’, but the net result could be ‘for better’ by Carolyn Moynihan
When marriage is again seen as a covenant, sealed lawfully and publicly between a man and a woman before God, enforced by a public self-maledictory oath (a curse from God, if they break their oath), then we will have the sound, tough, dependable foundations needed to build a Christian civilization on.