I was recently listening to an episode of This American Life where Ira was interviewing this guy about an experiment he did with his longtime girlfriend. So, background story-they had been dating for thirteen years and never really thought about getting married but kind of always assumed that someday they would. They started talking about it one day and decided if they were going to make that decision, they would first take a break from their relationship (similar to the amish rumspringa in which amish teens have a chance to go see what the outside world is like), go and be crazy in the dating world, and then talk after thirty days to decide if they want to get married.

They ended up deciding to break up, but during the interview, there was this thing that Ira said about how the permanence of marriage is comforting that I just completely loved. Because I feel like I hear a lot of negativity towards marriage and hearing something so positive and affirming from someone I respect a lot made me feel like cheering.


I do have a theory now. I do have a theory about if I do get married in the future. What I think I would want to do is have an agreement that at the end of seven years, we have to get remarried in order for the marriage to continue. But at the end of seven years, it ends. And we can agree to get remarried or not get remarried.

Ira Glass


Kurt Braunohler

Because I think you get to choose and I think it would make the relationship stronger.

Ira Glass

I don’t know what I think of that. Because I think, actually, one of the things that’s a comfort in marriage is that there isn’t a door at seven years. And so if something is messed up in the short-term, there’s a comfort of knowing, well, we made this commitment. And so we’re just going to work this out. And even if tonight we’re not getting along or there’s something between us that doesn’t feel right, you have the comfort of knowing, we’ve got time. We’re going to figure this out. And that makes it so much easier. Because you do go through times when you hate each other’s guts. You know what I mean?

Kurt Braunohler

Of course you do. Yeah.

Ira Glass

And the no escape clause, weirdly, is a bigger comfort to being married than I ever would have thought before I got married.

Kurt Braunohler


Ira Glass


Kurt Braunohler

I had never thought of it that way. I like thinking about it that way, you just see so many examples of where people don’t think that way.

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4 thoughts on “Rumspringa

  1. I love that you both love that thought. What resonates with you speaks volumes about who you have become and what your life will be like.

  2. Hi Elise, just catching up on your blog, which is amazing, btw.

    I listened to that episode too and found it sort of disturbing in general. That couple was really messed up, I think. But I noticed Ira’s comment too, and liked it. There are a lot of good folks out there.


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