Sunday, November 09, 2008

56,223 Words

The Companionate vs. the Romantic Marriage

Or civil partnership, or shared mortgage, or co-parenting, whatever.

The companionate relationship is defined as based on friendship and the practical needs of both partners (running a home/family/joint business, etc.) It isn't necessarily celibate or without tenderness, but it's hardly the stuff of Mills & Boon. The romantic marriage, on the other hand, is focussed primarily on the feelings of the couple for each other, and everything else: home, family, etc. springs from that, but the romance between the partners is the root of it all. Both kinds work equally well if the needs of both parties are aligned, but if one or both yearns for the other kind, things can get messy.

It's becoming clear, around the halfway point of my WIP, now that the mystery of the exotic postcards is solved, that the theme of my story is this: can a companionate marriage ever become genuinely romantic? Can the footing be fundamentally changed if one or both parties is unhappy?

Obviously, I'd love the answer to be "yes" because I want my couple to get back together at the end of the book - rejuvenated and more in love than ever. But I also need it to be believable. So, would you believe it? Could you? And how might it happen? Can it be done without feeling like you're just playing a role?

Any thoughts much appreciated.


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