Topic: Marriage & Life-Long Loving (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

Download the Life-long Loving (Marriage) ESL Lesson plan here: Topic-Love-Marriage-UppIntermediate-29112011.doc

The Love & Marriage Unit: Upper-Intermediate

Note to teachers:
This is lesson 2 of 3 in a unit on love and marriage. The lessons are as follows:

Flowers for a wedding

Lesson 2 of 3: Life-long Loving (Marriage) Lesson Plan

[Note to teachers: Encourage students to think abstractly. Avoid having them scrutinize their own relationships in depth.]

1. What is a wedding ceremony like in your country?
2. How has the idea of marriage changed throughout history?
3. What is your experience with divorce?
4. Is the divorce rate high in your country? If so, what factors contribute to this?

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Two Opinions (read as group)

Tom – “Marriage is no doubt a valuable institution. Children need the love of two parents and both male and female role models. Marriage is also valuable for the people involved, and I don’t mean just for tax purposes. I mean, when I’m old and gray, I’m going to want someone to keep me company, and take care of me.

My parents’ relationship isn’t perfect – my dad complains about my mother’s nagging, my mother complains about his laziness, etc. But no relationship is perfect. It’s all about compromise. Besides, I don’t know what they’d do without each other.”

Diane – “When I was a girl, I read all the story tales about marrying prince charming and living happily ever after. I used to believe I had a soul mate and all that stuff. I had a really idealistic view, but then I awoke from the fairy tale. It’s not like that. People fall in and out of love. There’s a lot of suffering. Feelings of love hardly last a year, never mind a lifetime. How can we make vows of lifelong faithfulness when we don’t know what the future will bring?

While promoting marriage may benefit society, I’m not sure it’s a natural way for humans to live. Maybe that’s why there are so many divorces.”

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

1)    True or False: Tom’s parents are nagging him to get married.
2)    True or False: Tom believes living with one parent can be better than living with two.
3)    Who believes that marriage is healthy for society?
4)    What is the ‘fairy tale’ according to Diane?
  • False. His mother nags his father, not him.
  • False. He believes that children need a male and female role-model.
  • They both believe it is healthy for society. However, Diane does not believe marriage is a natural condition for humans.
  • The fairy tale is the dream that you will fall in love with your soul mate and life happily ever after.

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Key Issue

Do you agree or disagree with Tom or Diane’s views? Why?

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson. (Note: good as homework for students)
role model
keep sb company (phr. verb)
nag (verb)
soul mate
  • institution – a custom/tradition that has existed for a long time
  • role model – a person looked to by others as a good example
  • keep sb company – be with someone so they are not lonely
  • nag – continually complain; annoy constantly
  • compromise – agreement in which two groups decide to give sth up
  • besides – anyway, anyhow, in any case, be that as it may.
  • soul mate – a person’s perfect match for a life-long relationship
  • idealistic – based on standards of perfection that may not be realistic
  • vow – serious promise, oath, pledge
  • faithfulness loyalty, not having a sexual relationship with anyone else

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
institution / marriage
role model / crucial
besides / keep sb company
soul mate / doubt
idealistic / view
nag / step-mother
marriage / compromise
vow / faithfulness

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Quotations (Pair Work)

Discuss the below quotes with your partner. Which do you agree with?
  • Love is blind.
  • A man doesn’t know what happiness is until he’s married. By then it’s too late. (Frank Sinatra)
  • All love that has not friendship for its base, is like a mansion built upon sand. (E. W. Wilcox)
  • Marriage is the agreement to let a family happen. (B.J. Wylie)
  • A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. (Mignon McLaughlin)

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #1 (Pair Work)

(note: each student reads his/her role only)

Student A: You and Student B planned to get married. However, you’ve had some bad experiences in your past. In your last divorce, your partner took half of your money. So, this time, you want your future wife/husband to sign a prenuptial agreement (= a contract that determines who will get what in the case of a divorce). Tell Student B that you’d like to talk with her/him, and then ask him/her to sign the document.

Student B: You and Student A; your soul mate, plan to get married next year. You look forward to having children with him/her, and raising them in your large house. Student A has asked to speak with you.

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Reasons for Divorce

What are good reasons for getting a divorce? Check the below list.
she/he cheated on me
she/he spends all our money on gambling and beer
she/he hit me
I’d like to try someone else while I’m young enough
we don’t sleep together anymore
she/he doesn’t care about his/her appearance now
we have nothing left to say to each other
his/her parents hate me

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #2 (Pair Work)

(note: each student reads his/her role only)

Student A: (any gender) You suspect that your friend, Student B, is cheating on his wife. Approach him about this and try to convince him to be faithful.

Student B: (male) You cheat on your wife, regularly. You think men have an excuse to cheat: it’s in their genes. Sex is a higher priority for males than females. Men need to spread their seed in order for the species to survive. Student A, your friend, wants to talk with you.

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Situation (Pair Work)

You are 30 years old. You have been unhappily married for 3 years. You and your partner argue constantly. You have two small children. What do you do (see options below)?
1)    keep the family together and raise the children in a house full of tension
2)    separate, move on, and let the children grow up in a different environment
3)    other: ________________________________________________

Marriage ESL Lesson Plan: Comprehension Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish)

1) “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” What does this mean?
2) How do people typically fall out of love? Does this tell us why people fall in love?
3) Does a person’s love for his/her partner differ from his/her love for a friend, child, or car? How so?

Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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One comment on “Topic: Marriage & Life-Long Loving (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

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