Critique Of “The Radical Idea Of Marrying For Love

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In her essay “The Radical idea of Marrying for Love,” Stephanie Coontz expresses her views on the evolution of marriage from its former survival and connection based purpose, to its now personal and emotional fulfillment motives. Coontz explains that in the past “it was inconceivable that people would choose their mates on the basis of something as fragile and irrational as love.” For most of history marriage was a mere tool for survival and political gain. Coontz provides several examples of such marriages motives but goes on to explain that in recent years, the focus has changed to a more personal motive. This shift of motives in marriage is primarily seen in Western societies and can be tied to the media driven idea of a “happily ever after” seen, heard, and advocated in a plethora of ways throughout Western societies.   Today, marriage is based on the idea of love. Before getting married, couples take vows to love one another no matter what until death parts them. This, according to Coontz, ensures that couples are getting married for emotional and sexual fulfillment (or Love), rather than survival and political gain.   That is why it is believed that “married couples should be best friends, sharing their most intimate feelings and secrets”
Love, Coontz explains, is not a new idea and it has been seen in marriages before. Even though many marriages in history were arranged, the couples eventually fell in love. However, the perceived view of love throughout history by philosophers like Plato and Aristotle has not included the love of a man for a woman. Quite the contrary, since love sickness was often seen as a disease or even weakness. However, today our society has evolved to become a radical community where men are no longer the “bread-winners,” but instead “homemakers” and the readily available birth control mechanisms have lessened the needs for polygamy and reproductive based marriages to one that is dependent on a choice to experience true love. Why else...

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