Most of us take it for granted that love is
the one thing which really counts in choosing a life partner. "Do I
love him?" or, "Do I love her enough?"
Many people believe that the answer to these
questions should settle the matter of marriage.
Bill might make a far better husband, but if Jill loves Jack more
than she loves Bill, she will marry Jack.
I believe that the idea of love is the crucial
matter in marriage has been drilled into us from childhood
through movies and other media. For example, parents who object to
the choices of their children are made to appear selfish and wrong.
Considerations as differences in family or social position are made
to seem unimportant. When young people defy their parents or their
traditions and marry for love, we applaud.
The picture has been so produced as to make us feel
that we should. The novels and stories which most of us read present
the same general point of view. The girl is sometimes represented as
engaged to some nice, respectable person whom she does not love. So
that we will not like him, he is portrayed as intolerably stuffy.
Therefore when she runs off and marries the man she really loves,
often at the very last minute, we feel that she has done the right
The general idea often is that a husband should be
someone glamorous and exciting. Advertisements help to hammer the
same idea home. Love and happiness are presented by the world as
the only things in marriage which are worthwhile. Of course the
world presents this point of view because it is in line with what we
want to keep on believing.
Behind it all is the very powerful force of
public opinion. The fiction is accepted because that is the
way marriage choices seem to work out in real life. You
cannot make yourself love another, no matter how eager he may be to
marry you, or how good a husband he would make.
On the other hand, when it does hit you, you are a
goner. Cupid just sneaks up on people, twangs his bow, and before
anybody knows it, they are hooked, regardless of how suitable the
relationship may or may not be.
Such is the fiction upon the basis of which so many
people select their marriage partners. Now let us look at some of
One of the most inescapable facts is the extent of marriage
failure. Hundreds of thousands crowd our divorce
courts, often bitter and disillusioned.
Yet, these same people were quite as much in love
with each other as most young people are at the time of marriage.
Obviously something is terribly wrong with this idea that marriages
should be based upon feelings of love which people have toward each
Even more conclusive evidence is to be found in the
speed with which these romance die out for most people after
marriage. Think of the people whom you know who have been married
for ten years or more. How many of them still have this romantic
glow which is supposed to be the very purpose of marriage?
The failure of romance to continue does not mean
that there is something the matter with any particular marriage, or
with marriage in general. It does mean that selecting life
partners on the basis of this supposed love feeling alone is not
enough. In other words, we have been making our choices too
often on the basis of fictions alone.
If our christian dating
are to succeed, we must exchange these fallacies for some real love