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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

LOVE CONQUERS ALL: Marrying For Love

Posted by R. Ann Siracusa

Romance writers, for the most part, believe that “Love Conquers All” -- Didn’t the Roman poet, Virgil, and Harlequin both say so? Heaven forbid that anyone contradict icons like Virgil and Harlequin.
The promise, and reality, of love gives us hope. It boosts our belief in humanity and nature that everything can come out right in the end. A warm and fuzzy feeling many of us need in today's world.
But let’s take a closer look. Virgil did, indeed write Amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori. - Love conquers all things, so we too shall yield to love.Even our popular songs perpetuate the ideal vision of a happy love-marriage, so it’s easy to forget, in today’s world, that marrying for love is a relatively new concept … and maybe not such a good one at that.
Love And Marriage Go Together Like A
Horse & Carriage
Photo source:                                                                        
Virgil did, indeed write Amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori. - Love conquers all things, so we too shall yield to love,” but he also wrote, although not in the same poem, that “Work Conquers All”, and he never suggested love should be the primary reason for marrying.
Harleguin? Well, maybe a little.
As strange as it may seem to romance writers and reader today, love been embraced as a primary reason for marriage only since the late 1700s, and that is only in part of the world. It’s not that in many cultures and at many times a love-marriage was not to and hoped for eventually, but it wasn’t essential.
There have even been times and cultures where love was viewed as a disadvantage to a marriage. Stephanie Coontz tells us in her 2005 book [Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage], that the ancient Greeks considered love a form of insanity. In India, falling in love before marriage was considered disruptive and a danger to society. In China too much love between a husband and wife was treated as a threat to the extended family. She writes,
“Only rarely in history has love been seen as the main reason for getting married. When someone did advocate such a strange belief, it was no laughing matter. Instead it was considered a serious threat to social order.” … “Through most of human history, love was not at all the point of marriage. Marriage was about getting families together, which was why there were so many controls.”
Until a few short centuries ago, marriage was all about survival, reproduction, social acceptance, and power.
The radical idea of marriage for love sprang up and began to take hold in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in part because the Industrial Revolution allowed people to move away from a agrarian society – thus reducing the need for large families to work the land – and in part because the Enlightenment thinkers of the time embraced the issues of human rights and the right to personal happiness. The growth of capitalism led to growth in wealth and in the middle class, leading to more freedom of choice and the elevating the status of women [a little but certainly not to equality].
The Enlightenment’s rhetoric about the “right to personal happiness” may have proved to be sophistry. In the 21st century marriage and love are often depicted, together or apart, as being a state other than personal happiness.
Coontz quotes George Bernard Shaw’s portrayal of marriage as an institution that brings together two people “under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions. They are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”
Good luck with that.
In most cultures throughout history and throughout the world, marriages have been arranged, usually by parents but not always. In places where the arranged marriage tradition dates back to ancient times, the pact resulted in the merger of the two families.
Such a fusion carried with it broad ramifications relating to money and/or politics, which include power, influence, political authority, security, allies, social prestige, progeny, inheritance, and privilege. Choices were carefully calculated to advantage both families. Nonetheless, in most societies, including those with arranged marriages, the relationship with the greatest importance was that of the birth family. A person’s loyalty and emotional connection was owed to blood ties rather than to marriage.
MARRYING FOR MONEY                                                        
Nowadays, society tends to look down on the practice of marrying for money [which is equivalent to marrying for power], but that was one of the primary reasons for marriage until a few hundred years ago.
The Dowry
The dowry is the transfer of property or money from the bride’s family to the groom or to his family. Its purpose was to help the newly-wed couple establish a new household and also a form of protection for the bride against ill treatment by the husband or his family. Where this is the tradition, it is actually a conditional gift which should be restored to the wife and her family if the husband abuses or divorces her.Cartoon By Paul Lynch - Photo source: The Daily
The husband can profit by it during the marriage, but the dowry would have to give it back in the case of mistreatment or divorce. My research found conflicting opinions regarding who controlled the money or property during the marriage.
Regardless of what the laws might have said, I'd put my money on the husband. Just sayin'.
This tradition most common in cultures that are strongly patrilineal and expect women to reside with or near their husband's family.
“I can’t offer you a dowry, but I can get you on my health plan.”Cartoon By Wildt
The Dower
A dower means a wife’s rights to her husband’s real property or wealth after his death. Her inheritance.
The Bride Price
The bride price [also called bride service or bride wealth] is a payment from the groom or his family to the bride’s parents. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the bride price was less an economic gesture but served to consolidate the friendship between the two families.
Whatever property belonging to the bride at the time of marriage remained her property under her control. The tradition of dowry and the expectations varied from one society and century to another.
Cartoon by George Jartos, Source: Pinterest
Most people who aspire to marriage hope for the perfect match … hope to be the perfect couple. Soulmates.
American writer Richard Bach writes, “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are."
Psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Carmen Harra writes,Your soulmate makes you feel entirely whole, healed and intact, like no piece is missing from the puzzle. A life partner, on the other hand, can be a great supporter and long-time companion, but is limited in his or her capacity to enrich your spirit. Most of us remain in life-partner relationships because we "settle," for a multitude of reasons.”
I agree with Barsha Nag Bhowmick, editor for, that “perfect couples” couples are really “imperfect couples” who have learned to enjoy their differences, regardless of whether it started out as a love marriage or an arranged marriage.
Western culture seems securely “entrenched” in the concept of marrying for love. Unfortunately, the person you fall in love with may not be the correct one for you to marry, much less a soulmate. Love frequently makes poor choices. Cupid would benefit from a few archery lessons.
Most surveys show that the number one place that singles meet in America is online, although family, friends, church, social is almost the same percentage. How is that so different from an arranged marriage? In the 21st century, even in an arranged marriage, the parties in question have to agree and accept the arrangement [according to what I read and have been told]. So, as I see it, the major difference occurs in the first part of the process: i.e. the screening of potential mates and introducing the best matches.
Of the two, I definitely prefer the online route. It doesn’t vet nearly as well as an eagle-eyed mother who wants the best for her son or daughter, but in these times of rapid change and more open communication, I trust people to know more about who they are and what they prefer than their parents do. Although parents often see things about their children that those individuals deny or are blind to, parents can be just as blind and have their own baggage, prejudices, experiences, and beliefs to deal with.

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“History: How Love Conquered Marriage” by Stephanie Coontz

1 comment:

Debby said...

I am not sure if love conquers all but it helps and it makes things better.
debby236 at hotmail dot com

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