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The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love - Essay Example

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In the article “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love,” the writer, Stephanie Coontz revisits different cultures at different times in an attempt to show us that marriage and love have rarely gone parallel to each other, and people’s attempt to combine the two started just…
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The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love
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Download file to see previous pages In the past, just like it is today, love reigned in the lovers’ hearts. However, unlike today, it was always seen as a phenomenon very distant from love and mostly a threat to the “societal order.” Precedence was given to the people’s obligation to not only their extended families, but also to the society in general and the creator. As such, love was perceived as a big interference. For instance, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Europe, there was a strict distinction between love and marriage. Those with desires to express their true love or intimacy could only do that through adultery since marriage was purposefully instituted to fulfill obligations. There is a good example in one love story that involved a theologian (Peter Aberlard) and a mistress (Heloise). Heloise declined Aberlard’s proposal to marry her in secret because that would put her reputation in jeopardy. For her, “marriage would not only harm his career but also undermine their love” (Coontz, 132).
In most societies (for example, Greeks, Romans, Christians, and Muslims), people despised those lovers who publicly expressed their love for each other. Such an act was not only sinful but also drew people away from God. For Christian theologians, married partners who had too much love and affection for each other were seen idol worshippers. In addition, it is still considered bad, in Cameroon, to express intense love for your partner, since it is believed that this isolates couples from the rest of the society (Coontz, 132). And for those societies in India as well as Europe, it was believed that love could only exist after marriage. A well-matched couple and one with financial stability would eventually see partners experiencing a perfect love for each other. Love was considered as a benefit, and therefore, any marriage built on it would inevitably lead to sadness in life. Today, an ideal marriage is totally different. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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