Whenever I say that people should not marry for love, some readers assume that the married couple should not love each other at all. Those readers misunderstand. People should love everyone. Loving everyone includes loving the spouse. The notion that "marriage should be for love" opposes the ideal of love for everyone. This notion confines love to marriage as though the married couple should not feel the blessed emotion for anyone else. By confining love to marriage, it contributes to the breakdown of communities because people cannot have love for anyone else.
If people are supposed to marry for love, how does that describe their feelings and relationships to friends, family, and neighbors? If love is the reason for marriage, what are the reasons behind their relationships for friends, family, and neighbors? Are those relationships not supposed to be full of love?
People should love everyone. Loving everyone includes loving the spouse. Yet I insist love should not be the reason for marriage because it confines the blessed emotion and stunts the ideal of love for friends, family, and neighbors. Furthermore, the notion that "marriage should be for love" lends itself to subjective and changeable criteria.
The concept of marriage as undying and eternal love is a modern myth. And I call it a myth due to the high divorce rates in our nation. http://www.divorcerate.org/ has pulled together various sources about statistics in our nation.
According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%
The concept of marriage as undying and eternal love is a modern myth without any basis in reality. In Britain, the advocates of gay marriage champion their cause because they believe that marriage signifies a couple's dedication and eternal love for each other. However, these advocates appear ignorant and oblivious of the fact that Great Britain has the highest divorce rate in Europe.
Adherents to the myth place the blame upon everything except the myth itself. Adherents blame selfishness, immaturity, irresponsibility, etc. Adherents to the myth have placed the blame upon everything except the myth itself.
According to a government study over marriages and divorces, divorce rates have been increasing for several decades.
By age 40, only about 15 percent of men and women born from 1925to 1934 had been divorced, while among those born from 1945 to1954, 31 percent of men and 34 percent of women had been divorced.
Men and women in America have always married of their own free will, yet prior to the 1900s, they married less for love and more for a common goal or purpose. Of course, they loved each other, but they also had a strong love for their friends and neighbors. Love is not a goal and not a purpose. Love is an emotion. As a married couple, they had a goal and purpose within their marriage.
Marriages prior to the 1900s lasted longer because the husband and wife shared the same goal and purpose. Divorce laws developed throughout the 1900s when the purpose of marriage disintegrated. In other words, divorce laws reflected the changing beliefs about marriage.
As the myth of marriage took root in the hearts of men and women, the divorce rates climbed to the point where our nation now has "no-fault divorce." The man and woman who married for eternal love admit that they no longer love each other.
Although the myth began with heterosexuals, due to their recent headlines, homosexual couples and their divorces best illustrate the myth behind marriage. Robin Tyler and Diane Olson of California spent more years petitioning for the right to marry than they spent in their actual marriage. The petitioning was their goal. When their goal was complete, they lacked any purpose for the marriage. The relationship was based entirely upon emotion and because they lacked a purpose for their relationship, they divorced.
This is the problem with marriages! Marriages lack a purpose!
The notion of "marrying for love" confines love to just one person. If a single human is meant to be the center of love, then that inherently attaches to that single person a horde of expectations. No single individual can fulfill all the expectations. People are better off having a network of friends to match all the necessary expectations. To acknowledge this, men and women must shift their love away from the spouse and place it onto their friends and neighbors. Love is an emotion meant to be shared with everyone.
The divorce rate steadily increased as society removed the purpose for marriage and replaced the purpose with emotional criteria. The increasing divorce rate and declining purpose within marriage also increased the number of broken homes. Adherents to the myth blame selfishness for divorce. Well, selfish people primarily focus upon their own feelings and emotions; selfishness lends itself to the myth. Adherents to the myth blame immaturity for divorce. Well, immature people typically allow their emotions to control them. Adherents to the myth blame unrealistic expectations upon divorce. The unrealistic expectation is believing in something unrealistic - the modern myth.
Probably all the marriages in America and Europe for the past century have been marriages for love. How can a follower of the myth tell those married and then divorced couples that they were selfish, immature, and unrealistic when they married for love and also adhered to the myth? Kim Kardashian married for love - a love that lasted 72 days. Newt Gingrich married for love - three times! The notion that people should "marry for love" is entirely emotional, which is also selfish, immature, and unrealistic. Of course, people should love their spouses because people should love everyone. Loving everyone includes loving the spouse.
Yet, the purpose of marriage is what keeps marriages together. Men and women prior to the 1900s married for a shared purpose, and their marriages lasted for a lifetime. Divorce became available to reflect changing beliefs as the myth removed the purpose behind marriage. The only way to repair the damage done to marriage is to restore the purpose of marriage. And once the purpose is restored, then people will feel comfortable to express love for friends and neighbors. Communities will become reestablished, and genuine love will flourish.