Marriage is the most demanding of our relationships. It requires an engagement of will to mutual achievement that involves significant personal sacrifices on both sides. The accomplishments of the marriage - creating social and financial capital, raising children, and ensuring psychological and physical well-being - require years to bring to fruition, and so create deep personal and financial ties. For this reason, the engagement can only be escaped through abdication. The ensuing struggle with righteous anger can be destructive for either or both parties.
Marriage is the single most important decision that we will make in our lives. Our society counsels us to approach it cautiously. Young professionals frequently have "trial" marriages that are expected to dissolve without children. However, living together is not growing together, and many professional couples still struggle in their "real" marriage with the transitions of childrearing and middle age. Because of the shift of wealth to the elderly, the dysfunction of our educational system and the mobility of our society, most of the rest of our youth enter their majority with a strong economic incentive to partner, and a feminine orientation towards childbearing that maximizes the long-term cost to society of collapse of the relationship.
Given these benefits and dangers, I am deeply discouraged that, as a society, we focus on the procreative urge as the basis for marriage. When we understand the dynamics of romantic engagement, we learn that sexual release has levels that cannot be achieved until our energies are fully engaged. Marriage has levels and depths that simply cannot be reproduced in any of our other relationships. Bringing all of those assets to focus in constructing our wellness makes sex an engagement that, if it were not such a glorious coming together, would seem almost like a going to pieces. Truly committed lovers experience orgasm as a vibration of their beings that trivializes the physical sport of early maturity, and strips away physical appearance to reveal the nature of the character within.