Saturday, March 18, 2006

Marriage is NOT About Love

I think we do our culture a great disservice when we allow the notion to be perpetuated that marriage is about love. I don't think that this idea can be supported from the scriptures or the words of the prophets. Love is our responsibility in marriage, not the purpose. In fact, love is our responsibility outside of marriage too.

When we believe that love is the purpose of marriage, we can justify a man who leaves his wife of 30 years because he is "bored." When love is a responsibility in marriage it is clear that such a man is in sin.

The debate about "gay marriage" hinges on this issue as well. The proponents argue that we must not forbid two people with a loving relationship from forming a legal bond. If marriage were about love then this would be a good argument.

Bruce Satterfield gave a really insightful talk on the subject of the roles of men and women and the family. The following is taken from that talk.
Mortality was designed to facilitate the test of godhood. President Benson taught that "this life is intended to provide an opportunity to help our Father in Heaven with His great plan, and we do that through honorable parenthood. We cooperate with our Heavenly Father in helping to prepare tabernacles to house spirits of His children. So the matter of marriage, the home, and the family is a vital part of the plan of our Heavenly Father, and by keeping this . . . purpose of life in mind constantly and carrying out these purposes to have a fulness of joy in mortal life, and we prepare ourselves for exaltation in the celestial kingdom where we will receive a fulness of joy."(14)
Marriage is about raising children. I know that many childless couples are very offended by that statement. I really don't mean to be offensive, but I think that is the truth.

Old men and old women can still marry or infertile people can still marry because they do so in the pattern or type of relationship upon which society and even our eternal destiny is based. Of course not every person will be able to be tested with parenthood in this life. But that is the ideal and that is the pattern.

If people who are not married want to be part of a stable society, I don't have any problem with that. In fact, I want them to be part of loving relationships. The problem for me comes when we conflate love, sex, and marriage. They are not synonyms and we shouldn't treat them like they are.


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  • I would reword that to be "Marriage is not about romance."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/18/2006 3:13 PM  

  • I have been married abot 12 years or so, and i am madly in love. I think that my marriage to my wife is first and foremost all about love. Secondly it is about raising a family. I share feelings with my wife that are the greatest feelings that God made to exist. Because these feelings create children though, there is a duty and responsibility with it- that of children. I do not know of any other way that one person could love another more than through the lovely expierinces that spouses share with each other.

    By Blogger Rob Osborn, at 3/18/2006 5:58 PM  

  • The February 2006 National Geographic has an interesting article about the chemical actions in our bodies that define "love." What we call falling in love creates a dopamine imbalance that is akin to being on certain addictive drugs. However, that eventually levels off within 12-18 months and we start to develop a mellower oxytocin (also somewhat addictive) response to our mates. The more stable oxytocin responses are what makes it possible for us to deal with the problems of life together and remain committed.

    Of course, the Geographic didn't explore whether these chemical responses are the chicken or the egg, if you will. They did discuss how people that are low in their oxytocin responses to their spouse can do things to improve this situation. So, while we may get into marriage due to "falling in love," sustaining commitment and love in a marriage is a daily responsibility.

    By Blogger Scott Hinrichs, at 3/18/2006 6:08 PM  

  • I totally agree with what you are saying here. Marriage should be defined as the relationship between a woman who is already pregnant and the partner (or partners) of her choice--this way we can ensure that the marriage functions the way it's supposed to.

    One can understand, of course, a right reluctance on the part of a compassionate society such as ours to suddenly withdraw all of the rights and dignities attendant upon marriage from aging couples who may have been reproductive in the past merely because one of them loses the capacity to impregnate or to be impregnated in the present. But what is not enough recognized is that a perfectly reasonable compromise is possible, one which recognizes a continuing emotional bond between partners of many years while still accepting the moral responsibility to call a spade a spade. In cases such as these, the marriage should not be annulled (as it should be, of course, with couples who are discovered only After The Ceremony to have always been infertile), but merely retired. These “retired marriages” would be civil licenses granting sterile couples the right to retain many of the same privileges afforded to fit couples, but without having to make the blatantly fallacious assertion (especially once the young ones have all long ago left the nest!) that there is any longer anything natural, cultural or sacred about their union. There is not.

    Of course, It's pretty difficult to look your loved ones in the eye and say "Grandma, Grandpa, I love you but you're not >really< married anymore." Still, we need to be vigilant in this fight & you've helped give me the courage to be so. Thank you SO much.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/21/2006 7:30 AM  

  • It's like in that playground song; first comes love then comes marriage.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/21/2006 1:04 PM  

  • Unfortunately neither you nor most of those commenting.

    Love is about giving, not about being madly in love. That's rubbish. Falling in love is a selfish face of infatuation, neediness and projection. Christian love is agape, not eros as some of you believe.

    And marriage is not about love, but an agreement which works in the service of procreation. It's not about friendship either, although it can be between two friends.

    Marriage is also not he ideal. The ideal is celibate life. However, some are called to marriage.

    What I detest most of all if the dreadfully immature romantic notions that people attach to love and marriage. It's sick! Marriage is only an agreement that last a lifetime. Ideally you would want a marriage where each spouse encourages the moral perfection of the other. It's not a lovey dovey stupidity that many believe it is.

    If you're horny, go to a brothel if you have problems controlling the urge. Don't use your spouse like a piece of meat to rub your wang on. It's a stupid reason to marry. And your spouse isn't going to give you the love you secretly wish you received from your mother/father either. So stop using the other that way and grow the frak up!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/23/2010 8:13 PM  

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