“Hear my soul speak. Of the very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly at your service.” -William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Marriage used to be a business contract. It was about securing the family lineage, keeping wealth, and producing heirs.
Many people are concerned about how this is changing marriage norms. Some are even convinced that “love” is no longer applicable to marriage. But some believe that love is still at the core of any successful union.
Marriage is an institution that has changed dramatically throughout human history. It was not always seen as a necessity, and it was even discouraged in some cultures. Yet, today it has become an expectation for many people.
The recent fall of this institution can be attributed to the increased prevalence of certain concepts like feminism, social media, and globalization. The digital revolution also has made information more accessible to everyone and has changed how we perceive marriage.
A Recent Privilege or the Natural Order of Things?
Marriage is an institution that has been around for centuries. It is one of the oldest institutions in human history and has undergone many changes in the past few decades.
Modern marriage is a privilege. Until recently, marriage became available to all people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race. Marriage in the United States was only available to white people of wealth and property until it expanded to include women and all races after the Civil War (1861–1865). Marriage continues to evolve as society changes and becomes more inclusive.
Marriage has become more about finding someone to share your life with and raise a family than securing wealth or property.
Today, many couples choose to get married after establishing themselves professionally and are ready to start a family. This shift away from early marriages can be attributed to the changing concept of marriage.
Despite these changes, many people still value the traditional institution of marriage. They believe that it is an essential part of our society and should not be dismissed lightly.
Evolution of Marriage
Money and marriage haven’t always been on the best of terms. ‘arranged marriages’ were present in many cultures and different religions. This process was used to ensure that the most valuable or prestigious men and women had a chance to marry their social equals. It also helped with the family’s wealth, status, and power.
But, today, it seems like people are choosing love over money, which has led to a change in culture where people can find love on their own accord without being forced into an arranged marriage.
In India, for example, arranged marriages have been on the decline due to more couples wanting to marry for love rather than for money or status. Only 17% of Indians now marry through their parents’ arrangement, while 76% of Indian couples choose to marry for love.
The institution of marriage has come a long way and will continue to change as society evolves. What is considered ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ marriage will likely change over time. We need to be open-minded about these changes and accept them for what they are — progress.
Arranged Marriage vs. Love Marriage, which one is better?
There is no easy answer when it comes to this question. Each type of marriage has its own set of pros and cons.
An arranged marriage may seem more practical because the couple is already familiar with each other’s backgrounds, interests, and families. But, a love marriage might have a higher chance of success because the couple is madly in love and can’t wait to spend their lives together.
Some people might argue the opposite. An arranged marriage may last longer because the commitment was made taking into account specific values and not emotions, and who knows? They might end up loving each other. Whereas love is transient, and if you based your decision on some spur-of-the-moment excitement. You may want to end the union once you don’t feel that love.
Both types of marriages have the potential for success or failure. Still, it all depends on how willing each person is to compromise to maintain a healthy relationship with their spouse.
Whether you choose an arranged marriage over a love marriage or vice versa — there’s no correct answer that will work for everyone! It boils down to personal preference and what makes sense for your culture and values and those around you. But, if one doesn’t work out — don’t be afraid to try something different next time because every experience helps shape who we are along our journey through life.
As crazy as this might sound, people used to get married for reasons apart from love back in the day. This is not to say that love isn’t necessary because it is! But, even though we are seeing more marriages based on love today than ever before — there are still some people who value other elements in a marriage, such as wealth or status.
One of these days, I might tell you about one of my friends who got married for money and didn’t get divorced because he fell in love with his wife afterward, but let’s save that story for another time 😉
Would you marry for money? What about status or land? Would you only marry for love? Let me know what you think in the comments!
This article was published first in Bottomline Conversations.