The marriage dilemma: Is infidelity inevitable?

This summer, should newlyweds across the land vow to take a reality check on monogamy? Sixteen years into her second marriage, Ada Calhoun knows that the line between faithfulness and infidelity is always blurred

I never give toasts at weddings. I prefer to sit quietly under the twinkling lights, enjoying other people’s efforts. Some are perfect mini-sermons — but better, because at the end there’s champagne. Some go rattling off the rails, and that’s fun, too. At a wedding I attended recently, one best man paused in the middle of his speech and — unable to remember the rest of what he meant to say — just sat down.

Finding something new or helpful to say about marriage feels borderline impossible. “It’s difficult to think about marriage,” says a friend married for 30 years. “It’s like trying to describe your own face.” And so we offer clichéd advice such as the dubious Ephesians paraphrase “Don’t go to bed angry.” (Personally, I have avoided many fights by going to bed angry and waking up to realise I’d just been tired.)

Now, in the second decade of my second marriage, I can’t look newlyweds in the eye and promise they’ll never regret marrying. (Well, not sober. Maybe this is why weddings correlate with binge drinking.) I adore my husband and plan to be with him for ever. I also want to run screaming from the house because the person I promised to love all the days of my life insists on falling asleep to Frasier repeats.

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