Marrying Across Classes

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 23 2013 @ 5:41pm

Keith Humphrey, who has worked as a couples counselor, shares stories about American class blindness:

Unhappy American couples impressed me deeply with their ability to talk about how their marital strife emerged from their racial, ethnic and religious differences, as well as differences in personal experiences (e.g., if one went through a bitter divorce and has a hard time trusting since). But it was a rare couple who recognized that social class differences were a force which shaped their relationship.

The “classless” American marriage makes a stark contrast to places like Great Britain, where it is hard to listen to a couple talk about their relationship for even 20 minutes without class coming up as part of how they describe and understand each other. The comparative American class awareness deficit matters because a non-negligible proportion of the strife in some marriages can be traced to social class differences. And such problems are hard to resolve if you can’t see them (or don’t want to).