The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love

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Jane Doe
Mrs. Harris
ENG 111
18 March 2***
“The Radical Idea of Marrying For Love”
Stephanie Coontz’s essay on “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love” demonstrates her opinion that the expectations of marriage are unrealistic based on George Bernard Shaw’s theory. Shaw believed that marriage was “an institution that brings together two people ‘under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive and most transient of passions’” (qtd. In Coontz 378).

According to Coontz, “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). But, if not for love, what would be the point of marrying someone? Without love, there is no basis for a successful marriage. Although there are many things that factor into making the decision of getting married, love is the most important. Marrying for any other reason without love is grounds for an unstable relationship. If a person was to enter into a marriage on the grounds of financial purposes as their primary reason, what would keep them there if their partner was to go bankrupt or become ill and unable to maintain the same financial stability that they were used to? The marital vows are written the way they are to ensure that when problems arise, nothing and no one can interfere with the love between a man and his wife.

Coontz also states that in the historic societies which did accept and condone a married couple being in love, it came along after the couple had been married as if they grew to love each other over time. Even in these instances, society had a strict hold on what was and/or wasn’t appropriate behavior for a married couple. The love for one’s spouse was not to exceed that of which was for their family, or God. In China the parents of the groom could force their son to divorce his wife if they did not agree with her ways, even if he was in love with her. The word love in Chinese was used to describe “an...
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