Author Stephanie Coontz writes about the ideas of love and marriage through out history in the article “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love.” Early in the article Coontz quotes an early twentieth century author by the name of George Bernard Shaw, who states, “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. They are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.” ( qtd. in Shaw 378) Coontz explains that the ideas of marriage today are, although heart felt, unrealistic and daunting. She reveals that not so long ago the thoughts on love and marriage were very different for many societies and cultures throughout the world.
Coontz shows how different the feelings of love and marriage were. She brings the reader to a different place and time with the interesting details about love and marriage. She stated that the Greek philosopher, Plato, believed that love was not an emotion suited for marriage. Love, for some societies, was first and foremost meant for the extended family not for husband and wife. Coontz also writes about the ancient Indian culture, they believed love was meant to develop after a marriage had begun and to do so prior would cause problems for the couple socially. She writes about how the Europeans felt the emotions brought on by love were signs of insanity and could be cured only by the act of sex, and not necessarily with ones marital partner. Coontz states that the Chinese saw love between married couples as a threat to the dynamics of the entire family. She also shares details of Europe, during the twelfth century; infidelity in marriage was not viewed as taboo. In fact, true love was meant for intimacy outside of the marriage. It was common knowledge that kings and queens, for centuries, married for
Cited: Coontz, Stephanie. “A Pop Quiz on Marriage; The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love.” Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. 11th edition. Eds. Lawrence Behrens and Leonard Rosen. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2011. 376-389. Print.