Friday, January 30, 2009

Does Love Justify a Marriage?

First, a definition of love...(is that possible?)
Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction. The word love is both a verb and a noun. This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states. --from Wikipedia

Okay, so I realize this is taking on a huge topic...but I want to narrow it down to love that justifies a marriage if, in fact, it does. I may be rambling here, so please bear with me. If love is the only justification for marriage, what kind of love must it be? I love certain foods--even have an emotional tie to them. I also love a cuddly pet who will sit in your lap. I love babies...their innocence and perfection. I love ideals like loyalty, patriotism, honesty, and integrity. I love my children regardless of their challenges. And I love my husband.

It didn't take long while dating my husband to realize I felt love for him. It was that love, of course, that kept me wanting to get to know him better and spend more time with him. But was love the reason I married him? In fact, once he proposed to me, I began to get cold feet! Why? Due to the recent divorce of my own parents, I wasn't so naive as to believe that marrying for love was infallible. They had married because they loved each other. Why hadn't it been enough?

Marriage has to be about more than just loving each other. As my husband and I discussed the possibility of getting married, there was far more discussed than how much we loved each other. We discussed friendship, commitment, financial responsibility, raising a family, church activity, how to deal with disagreements, and future goals. The bottom line: we wanted to be sure we were creating a firm and secure foundation for our future family. If it had been for less than that, I might not have cared so much which church my husband attended or if he even attended church. I don't think it would have mattered what he wanted to do for a career, because I could have chosen any line of work and not depended on his income. Without the prospects of a future family, would I have been so concerned about his commitment to the marriage? Many people do "fall out of love" with each other and move on to other relationships.

So...does love justify a marriage? In today's ultra-modern society, many argue that any two people who love each other should be able to enter into a marriage. I don't believe that marriage has the same purpose if not focused on children and family. What about marriages that do not result in children?
1) If we're talking about couples who planned to have children but were unable, you would only hear them express pain and sorrow for their inability to bear children. They might even adopt children to fulfill these desires.
2) If we're discussing older men and women who get married past the child-bearing years, would they not also express the wish that they could have married sooner so they could have children? Or perhaps this is a second marriage for them. They will certainly help support and nurture each other's families.
3) There is another category--those who simply do not wish to ever have children. Does marriage serve a purpose for them? Of course. They might change their minds. They hold within them the divine ability to procreate, and the desire to do so might be awakened in them.
4) And finally, what about homosexual couples? Should a marriage that cannot produce children be justified only because two people love each other? I think not. Because I don't believe marriage is justified by love alone.

What makes marriage divine and beautiful and something to strive for is this: two people of the opposite sex, each with a part of the power to procreate--dependent on each other, who are committed to bringing forth children and providing for them all of the sacrifices and efforts and time that a secure home requires. There is nothing more beautiful or more joyful than the happiness that a family enjoys because of the willingness of the married couple to serve and sacrifice for their children. Perhaps this is the real definition of Love. And if that is so, then it is the only justification for marriage.

For more on this topic, read the following:


  1. I just reread this and I love it just as much the second time. But I thought this time I'd drop a note to tell you my appreciation for this analysis. It's great. What great observations regarding the relationship of love to marriage.

  2. Matthew Holland, Mormon scion, has quit the NOM (National Organization for Marriage) board.

  3. As a courtesy to bb, here's a heads up from this NYU grad:

    NY Marriage Equality: Astroturfing - Courtesy of the Same Ten (Mormon) People,-Courtesy-of-the-Same-Ten-(Mormon)-People

    And, yeah, I fixed the graphic. Dude in the bottom-right corner was looking way too sullen for such a joyous occasion.

  4. I like to talk about issues related to marriage, some time ago when I was in college studying psychology conducted a study called before marriage, where we found the main problems for which divorces happen ...

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