Valentine’s Day is a holiday where loved ones spend the day telling each other how much they are in love and buy gifts and candy. It is a holiday where singles either sit at home, sad and alone, or they go out and celebrate their single life. All over the world couples will become engaged because they are so in love. There is a theory that takes observations from history and explains that marriage and love don’t always go together as we seem to think that we do.
Back in the days of Ancient Greece, if you were in love you were thought to have a sickness. Getting married was so that you could start a family, not so you could live happily ever after with the one that you love the most. Marriage was also a way to bring families together, such as two royal families. Arranged marriages were an everyday occurrence. Evergreen State College professor Stephanie Coontz wrote a book about the history of marriage and how love has taken over as the main focus in modern days.
Love used to be thought of as a threat to the true meaning of marriage which, back then, was families being brought together, financial arrangements, or workforce expansions. Coontz said that in the late 20th century people were as horrified over the thought of someone being in love with the person that they were married to as some people are over same-sex marriages today.
Physical attraction has always been a part of marriages but it is expressed in different ways. There are some cultures (in Tibet) where the women will get pregnant by other men and then have their families help raise the children. There are no active father figures in these cultures.
Other cultures will take on multiple spouses at once, which is called polygamy. University of Utah professor Don Herrin says that polygamy is really the most enduring form of marriage that there is. Could this be because everyone knows that there are others involved in the marriage and the person that marries multiple people is getting everything that he or she wants in a marriage without having to find one perfect person?
Once the economy shifted and women were able to play the role of breadwinner, they began to stray from marriages that were arranged for financial security only. They were able to take care of themselves and depend on their wages as opposed to having to marry a man to take care of them. This affected the changes in the way that marriages went and opened up many doors for people.
Nowadays people are marrying for love and we have a higher divorce rate than ever. The traditional “family” model is falling apart. People are marrying for love and then end up stuck in a marriage that doesn’t work because they aren’t compatible in other ways too.
Do you think it makes sense to get married for romantic love?