“Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds”: Trouble in Paradise

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“Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds” by William Shakespeare (1609) is a sonnet or poem about the hardships that true love faces throughout time. This poem seems to speak of how “true love” can overcome any obstacle that it may face and that it will not falter even through the years of life and hardships. Today it seems that the idea of “true” love is not what it was four hundred years ago. Being that I am currently attending a VCU class centered on Shakespeare and his life, I have learned that in his day people got married for love or property, but didn’t divorce due to hard times. Even though divorce was near impossible to get in that time, you hear stories of people loving one another through virtually anything. This day in time many couples crumble when faced by adversity. Instead of relying on love to power through hard times, they give up and turn to divorce. The institution of marriage has changed in the last fifty years, much like it has in the past four hundred years. Attitudes towards all issues included in the institution of marriage have visibly changed. There has been a dramatic weakening of the normal imperative to marry, remain married, have children, to restrict intimate relationships to marriage, and to maintain separate roles for men and women (Editorial, 1990). Even due to the increasing changes to attitudes and actions of the men and women that enter into relationships, the institution of marriage still survives in America. At one time or another, relationships come upon times of difficulty. Marriages are no different, majority of couples go through times where there is some kind of trouble in their relationship. Patterns within marriages tend to show how relationships change through the different phases of the marriage. In the first stage of marriage, or newlywed phase is where happiness ratings tend to be the highest. These levels of
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