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A Reflective Response to Marriage: Then and Now Essay

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A Reflective Response to Marriage: Then and Now
Stephanie Coontz

Thiana Richards
HUMA 024-7G
Kerry Potts
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

George Bernard Shaw described marriage as an institution that brings two people together "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 conditions continuously until death do them part. Shaw was making fun of the idea that people should get married because they were in love, but little did he know that in the years to come that would actually happen.
In the history of marriage, marrying for love was very rare and was considered a serious threat to social order. Marriage was more about picking the right in-laws than picking the right partner to love and live with. The point to marriage was to gain advantageous marriage connections with some value and avoid paying debts to others. Marriage became the main way that the upper classes consolidated wealth, forged military coalitions, finalized peace treaties, and gained claims to social status or political authority.
Personally for myself I could never live in the twentieth century. I would have been a disgrace to my family and probably would have been disowned. Love to me is a very serious thing to consider and I have trust issues of letting people in intimately so marrying a stranger wouldn't work for me. If I was going to share the rest of my life with someone, share my bed, and myself, someone to be the father of my children then it would have to be someone I know, trust, and love.
In history there were many cases of abuse, murder, suicide, and spouses who ran away because they were force to marry people they didn't love and sometimes people they didn't know very well. Especially because way back in history divorce was not considered an option and the stress and depression threw people over...

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