The Radical Idea Of Marrying For Love

The following academic paper highlights the up-to-date issues and questions of The Radical Idea Of Marrying For Love. This sample provides just some ideas on how this topic can be analyzed and discussed.

Date: June 19, 2011

Stephanie Coontz: “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love”


According to Coontz on the subject of “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love”, she illustrates her ideas that marriage expectations are sometimes unrealistic to many people from different cultures. This idea of marrying for love is also emphasized more by George Bernard Shaw’s theory.

According to Shaw, the main purpose of marriage is to bring two people together who are under the effects of passion and only death can separate them. Therefore, Coontz in her article tries to describe the various manners in which different cultures perceive the idea of love and marriage. In her opinion, most people from different cultures get married and fall in love as the days pass by, but they do not get married because they are in love.

Love when marrying in some cultures is meaningless, although in other cultures, love is the major purpose why people get into marriage because they perceive it as a necessity according to Coontz. My general expression on this article is that it is informative and interesting since the information provided was of great use to me. Interestingly, I learned that love is not a necessity in different cultures, and some people just get married and then fall in love later. It is quite interesting to learn the main purposes why people get married in different cultures.

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The article was very informative to me. Love and marriage are considered to go together for an everlasting and strong relationship in different cultures, therefore it is necessary that people respect the way each culture takes on this issue of love and marriage.

The Radical Idea Of Marrying For Love Summary


The article demonstrates the idea of love and marriage in different cultures. Coontz explains in detail the history of marriage in different cultures worldwide. In addition, she illustrates how marriage has changed from being a necessity just for the community survival to being a basic fulfillment in people’s lives in terms of happiness and excitement. Historically, marriage was viewed as tool to survive things such as affectionate and passion had little or no place in most marriages. According to George Shaw’s theory, people should take marriage seriously by involving the idea of love so that they remain together until death separate them. In some cultures according to history, it was absurd for some to get married with the claim of being in love with the partner.

However, that mentality changed in some cultures and currently, most people fall in love, get married and live together forever in love. It is still surprising that in some cultures, it was good for a person to get married then develop love later. In Marriage, in case love was accepted then it was only for a short time, such cultures did not encourage the idea that couples should expose their feeling to each other.

Analysis of presentation

Historically, it looked weird for a person to say that he or she is love. This is because it was seen as a big threat to the community. For instance, falling in love was seen as a social disruption behavior in ancient India. Love was perceived to be a destruction of the mind, which could only be treated through engaging in sexual intercourse. This could be either with the loving partner or just any person of opposite sex. According to Coontz, the fastest way to overcome temptation and desire is to engage in the act immediately, forget it and proceed with other useful issues.

The husband could be forced to divorce his wife by his parents if the wife was not behaving as required by the family or if she failed to give birth to a specific child in terms of gender. This can be seen in some communities like China, too much love expressed between married couples was taken to be a threat to unity of the extended family. The husband could be encouraged to marry another wife or even get himself a concubine. Interestingly, if the husband was seen expressing too much to his wife in a romantic manner, the parents could send the wife away from their home. According to studies, love in the Chinese society meant a disapproved relationship. This led to researchers to find for an alternative term that they could replace with the word love, as they knew that such a radical new concept needed a special label.

According to researchers, “marriage is not a real excuse for not loving” meaning that falling in love with a person outside marriage was permitted (Coontz 90). This was the way love was viewed in France during the 12th century. It was declared that if a man loved his wife so much, then he was considered a dull man and therefore no other person could wish to associate with him. People assumed that real love was only portrayed in books but it did not exist in the real world. Nevertheless, with time, the king fell in love although not with their legal partners. This was so because queens were supposed to keep secrets from their husbands, therefore this reveals that even the queens went out of their marriage to seek for love and affection from other men.

Currently, there still some societies that do not take love to be the major purpose for their marriage. For instance in northern Cameroon, love is not considered as a legitimate feeling in marriages. “In many poor families and working-class societies, expression of too much love between married couples is perceived to be a disruptive act because it motivates the couple to isolate themselves for the huge web of dependence that builds the society” (Coontz 90).

However, currently few societies have accepted the idea of love and have incorporated it successfully in their marriages and child upbringing. Countries like Western Europe and North America have established the entire process of new values on the manners in which they can plan and organize the issues of marriage, love and sexuality. These values have been proved to be useful thus are being spread all over the world. These values emphasizes that marriages are supposed to meet psychological and social needs more than ever before. There is supposed to be freedom in marriages, more understanding, love, less or no violence, and no gender discriminations as they used to be in the past.

Response to the Presentation

My general response on this article presentation is that it was an effective article because its ideas are informing and interesting thus of great use to me. Interestingly, I learned that love is not a necessity in marriage to different cultures, and some people just get married and then fall in love later. The author did her best in writing this article because it addressed important issues that are affecting many societies especially love and marriage. She emphasized the need to embrace love in marriages to avoid experiencing divorces and separation within families. The author succeeded in her presentation because her article was detailed well as required thus creates satisfaction to the reader.


The main purpose of marriage is for two people who are under the influence of passion to come together and share love until death separates them. Coontz in her article described the various ways in which different cultures view the idea of love and marriage. In her opinion, most people from different cultures get married and fall in love as the days pass by, but they do not get married because they are in love. The idea of love in many cultures does not exist; in fact, it is viewed as an abomination for someone to express too much love to his or her married partner. For instance, in Chinese society, any relationship based on love was considered a social threat to the extended family thus; it was not approved by the family. In France, any man seen to fall in love was isolated from others because he was viewed as not an active man in the society. Therefore, Coontz in her article has shown as the radical idea for marrying for love in many different cultures.

Works Cited

Coontz, Stephanie. Marriage, a history: from obedience to intimacy, or how love conquered marriage. New York, NY: Viking, 2005. Print.

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The Radical Idea Of Marrying For Love
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