Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Newsweek Essay: Our Model Marriage

The Obamas have the kind of relationship millennials aspire to.

My hunch is that millennials are going gaga over Barack and Michelle because they want to be Barack and Michelle.
It's not that other generations can't admire the Obamas' bond; their marriage—a union of self-sufficient equals—embodies the post-'60s ideal.
But unlike their elders, most millennials have yet to experience marriage firsthand, and what they've experienced by proxy hasn't been particularly encouraging: a 50 percent divorce rate, a steep rise in single parenthood, a culture captivated by cheap celebrity hookups.
Even America's most visible household hasn't offered much hope, veering from '50s-era subservience (the Reagans) to boomer dysfunction (the Clintons).
For young people who have rejected the tired "wife in the kitchen" template but resolved not to follow their parents to divorce court, it's a relief to see that the sort of marriage they hope to have—equal and devoted—can actually exist.