I’ve been reading the Tao of Dating for the letter T in my alphabet challenge. It was that most women, when asked about their husbands, admitted to not only not falling instantly in love, they didn’t even like him that much!
Currently, the Western model of romance dictates instant chemistry and attraction. If you don’t have that spark, then why try? If you lose the spark, a lot of people just call it quits. If the person you married isn’t your Prince Charming or soulmate anymore, shouldn’t you go find one who is?
The idea of wining, dining, and intense romance is a very recent. Marriages started because it was an easier way to raise children and verify paternity thousands of years ago. Marrying for love is a recent, convenient, and (if the numbers are to be believed) a less than ideal development.
I’ll be the first to argue that the reason many marriages lasted as long as they did because until recently, women didn’t have any other viable options. 60 years ago divorce was expensive and women usually had to raise the kids on their own making crap wages at dead-end jobs. Now it’s a lot easier for women to escape bad marriages but with all new marriage starting out with 50/50 odds, are all modern marriages that bad?
No. India has the option of divorce now but a lot of arranged marriages work, seemingly better than Western marriages. Yes they’re raised in that culture but their relationship is under less pressure to perform to unrealistic romantic standards. Arranged couples can learn to love each other over time. They aren’t expected to be instant soulmates (another dangerous romantic idea).
Women are force fed a romantic fantasy from the time we’re toddlers when a lifelong commitment is about a lot more than rose petals, fancy dresses, and carriage rides. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that Prince was raised to be charming, not sincere.
Life offers screaming, spewing babies, serious illness, unexpected job loss, ailing parents, and mundane routines. When dealing with all of the above, you aren’t going to be madly in love with your partner 24/7 and that’s good. As the TOD says: “Madly in love is still mad, and mad people tend to make silly choices."
I believe that relationships need some romance but in many ways, love is a choice. Loving someone long-term is a conscious decision and requires effort. You have to decide if that’s the person you want to stand by when life hits them hard. You have to decide if this is the person you want in your corner when life slams into you. You have to decide if this is the person you want around when life isn’t doing much of anything to you at all.
This is why people recommend marrying your best friend. You know their faults, their bizarre habits, you do stuff together, and you don’t always like them but you love them anyway. I’d much rather marry my best friend than some insincere charmer from a crappy movie.