Could a Single Pill Save Your Marriage?

PillmarriageGeorge Dvorsky in io9:

Your relationship is on the rocks. Begrudgingly, you and your significant other visit a marriage counselor in the hopes that there's still something left to salvage in your relationship. You both spill your guts and admit that the love is gone. The counselor listens attentively, nodding her head every now and then in complete understanding. At the end of the session she offers the two of you some practical words of advice and sees you on your way. Oh, but before you leave she fills out a prescription for the two of you. Your marriage, it would seem, has been placed on meds.

Now, as messed up as this scenario might seem, this could very well be the future of marriage counseling. At least that's what Oxford neuroethicists Julian Savulescu and Anders Sandberg believe. In their paper, “Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us,” they argue that such a possibility awaits us in the not-too-distant future, and that a kind of ‘love potion' could eventually be developed to strengthen pair bonding. In fact, most of the compounds required to make such a concoction are already within our grasp. It's just a matter of doing it.

It's no secret that divorce rates are going up. Most people would agree that the end of a relationship is a tragic and undesirable thing. Modern couples tend to break-up between the five to nine year mark, a time when the initial honeymoon phase is long gone and the hard realities of managing a longterm relationship really start to kick in.

And while economic and social factors can often play a part in the disintegration of a marriage, neuroscience is increasingly showing that that love is in the brain.