M for Marriage
It’s interesting how closely love and marriage are linked, yet how far apart they can also be. In Western and modern countries, love doesn’t necessarily come as a package with marriage anymore. In fact, some people have an altogether cynical view on married life and even say it ruins love. There might be a kernel of truth in that – at least, I agree that married life comes with routine, with responsibilities and with obstacles to face, which can all be a killer for affection. Then again, it can also be argued that what is broken so easily was never love in the first place, but only or mostly physical attraction or the thought and thrill of being in love, followed by falling out of love.
Many ‘Westerners’ joke about how a marriage is eventually followed by a separation or divorce, and mention the ‘seven year itch’. Apparently, a marriage starts to decline and degrade by the 4th year and is doomed to end by the 7th year. That is probably in relation to the above-mentioned problems that darken the light of love once you’ve tied the knot. However, I don’t think something as individual and special as love (and marriage) should be generalized like this. Many couples make it through seven and many more years without such trouble – or fail much earlier than that. I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for a little more than 7 years, and we’re still in love and nowhere near calling it quits!
On a different note, many Asian and more traditionally-minded countries still view love and marriage as inextricably linked. You cannot have or live the former if you don’t enter into the latter. On the other hand, exactly these countries also rely heavily on arranged marriages where love isn’t part of the picture or only becomes part of it over time.
I could write about this topic for hours because it’s so complicated and interesting, but I don’t have time and I don’t want to bore my readers. So let me conclude with what I think about love and marriage in a nut shell:
I do think they belong together, though I agree that marriage isn’t a must. And I certainly don’t think that marriage destroys love, because if you truly love someone, then you’ll jump over the hurdles together and grow stronger by facing all the problems along the way. You’ll learn to make compromises, to appreciate each other, and to fight for your relationship. If there really is love, then there is no reason to give up! After all, the vow is all about “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health”.