Radical Idea of Marring for Love by Stephanie Coontz

Topics: Love, Marriage, Husband Pages: 3 (1173 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Loves’ Illusions
In the essay “The Radical Idea of marrying for Love,” Stephanie Coontz voices her opinion on George Shaw theory, the expectations of love and how it has changed over time. Shaw believes that marriage is “an institution that brings together two people under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive and most transient of passions (Coontz 378). Marriage overtime had different variations depending the time frame in which it was in, and the culture that influenced it. Throughout history marriage and love have meant different things to different cultures. Coontz states that “For most of history it was inconceivable that people would choose their mates on the basis of something as fragile and irrational as love… (378). Marriage was often seen as a tie between two families based on financial or political beliefs. It wasn’t until recent decades that love played a factor into marriage. Most cultures believed in male dominance, that the males feared that falling in love would give a woman an opportunity for equality. The author points out in the Chinese culture, the man could return his wife to her father if the couple shared too much affection. Both parties had duties to preform and if those were neglected it was looked down upon. The love for one’s spouse was not to exceed that of which was for the family, or God. The mistress was the one they were to be intimate with. In fact, it was common for the couple to explore intimacy outside the marriage openly. Political and economic motives have far outweighed many other rational ideas of marriage. The idea of love wouldn’t even factor into the decision making. The concubine filled the role for all emotional and sexual desires while the spouse’s position was to insure and continue social or financial success for her family. Survival of a society, from an individual family to an entire civilization was once the main goal. Forms of polygamy and co-parenting have been common...
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