Monday, June 27, 2016

Patricia Johns: Is Love Absolutely Necessary?





If you ever talk to married people--I mean really talk, and listen between the lines--you'll find out that people get married for a variety of different reasons.


1. Some marry for passionate, romantic love, because they can't imagine their life without this person, and they can't wait to make it legal. Being together is the goal, and they are willing to face anything in order to achieve it.

2. Others marry for convenience--he was older, kind, good to her, and she could learn to love him in exchange for some financial security. (That happens with men and wealthy women, too.) There are many social benefits to being married.

3. Some marry for mutual life goals--they both wanted the same things out of life, like social status, education level or lifestyle. Life is just sweeter when you achieve your life goals.

4. Sometimes people have reached an age where they're simply ready to be married, ready to have kids, ready for that stage of life, so they find someone who is also ready for those things and move toward marriage. Would a different person who is also wanting a domestic life also be an acceptable match? Sure, but this person will do just fine. Send out the invitations!

Affection is a factor, as is compatibility, but when getting married, being deeply in love isn't always a necessity to every couple.



Kim A. Calvert wrote an article for the Washington Post where she outlines her reasons for considering marrying a good friend. This man isn't anything more than a friend, but they get along very well, want the same things out of life, and want the benefits that come with marriage. Both have been married before, and while he has children from his first marriage, they are already grown and she has no desire to raise kids. If people can get married for a variety of non-love-related reasons, then why not simply embrace that and marry someone she cares for and respects? Why should she miss out on the benefits of marriage because she hasn't found someone she feels passionately about?

In the past, marriages have been arranged for all sorts of different reasons--love never once entering the equation. Some of these marriages have been highly successful unions of two people who respect and care for each other. Some have left both people miserable. But regardless of how society has treated marriage in times past, there are some basic human experiences that remain universal: childbirth, parenthood, friendship, family ties, and falling in love.

I would argue that Kim's idea of marrying a good friend has one basic flaw: what happens when one of you falls in love? The experience of really falling for someone is incredibly powerful. Wars have been waged for love. Lives have been uprooted, people have chosen to die in defense of the person they love. So just because one or both of you haven't experienced this yet, doesn't mean it won't happen. And how heartbreaking to finally fall in love with someone else after you've married for convenience!

Marriage is a personal choice. If you wait too long and never do fall in love, will you regret not "settling" for the sweet guy who proposed? If you marry the guy who curls your toes, will you live to regret not looking closer at the issues that could potentially drive you apart? Marriage is a risk--there is no way around it--but in this author's humble opinion, it's a risk best taken with someone you adore.

What do you think? Is passionate love an absolute necessity in marriage? Could you marry someone you both liked and respected, without a passionate connection? I'd love to hear your take on it!

You can find me on my blog: PatriciaJohnsRomance.com, and on Facebook. I write for three different Harlequin lines: Love Inspired, Western Romance, and most recently, Harlequin Heartwarming.

Patricia Johns
Harlequin author


26 comments:

  1. Welcome to Heartwarming, Patricia!

    As I was reading your post, reason 1 made me smile. As I read on, I was thinking, how sad not to experience the passion and love.

    I recognize that, as your post demonstrates, marriage and the reasons for it are very personal, but in my case I already had the answer to your question before I got it!

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    1. Thank you!

      Yes, I think the reasons for marriage can be varied--and combined! But without the passion, I wonder if it would be worth the work?

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  2. Years and YEARS ago, I read a short story about a librarian who'd never been in love (it was long enough ago that librarians were all stereotypical--she probably wore a bun and glasses). Finally, in her 30s (way old) she married a man who was as lonely as she was. They were friends. All went well. After their wedding, on their way to a honeymoon that worried them both, they had some sort of car trouble and he was going to walk for help. It was raining--of course it was--and she ran through the rain to walk with him. Her hand slipped into his, and on the day their marriage began, they fell in love.

    I may have some parts wrong--it's probably been 50 years since I read the story--but it has stayed with me always because (1) I thought it was the ultimate in romantic (2) there are all different kinds of love.

    Great post, Patricia, and welcome!

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    1. What a neat story! I can see why it stuck. I think we all long for love, but it might not happen in the same way for everyone.

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  3. Hi Patricia! Boy...I suspect you're opening a can of worms with this post! With the rise of the divorce rate because people rush to get married after falling passionately in love with each other only to discover they aren't compatible, I suspect there's a good argument for marrying a good friend. Like Kate, I think it's sad not to experience the passion and giddy feeling you get when you find "the one." But marriage is hard and you have to be able to connect with that person on many levels. Hmmm...I'm starting to see both sides...it's the Libra in me coming out, I suspect.

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    1. I agree--"the rush" doesn't always last! There are some solid arguments on both sides.

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  4. Patricia, Welcome. This post made me really stop and think and reflect. As someone who met, fell in love and married within one month--when all my friends said it couldn't last, but it lasted for 51 years, I can't imagine all the ups and downs without strong feelings of true love. I have to say that's more true when you go through a terrible illness with the one you love and when you have to say goodbye due to death. That said I often ponder over, what is love? It's not just the giddy first feelings of joy in the heart, and of course, the physical needs of deep feelings. For the first blush of love to sustain there has to be more like respect and trust and understanding. I wonder about arranged marriages. You asked some good questions.

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    1. Some interesting thoughts! I've heard that love isn't a feeling, it's an action. Perhaps love is also a partnership that develops over the years.

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  5. Hi Patricia Johns. I love the Heartwarming line and I hang out here a lot with many of my favorite authors.
    This is a very interesting and thought provoking post. I personally fell in love and married. I think it's the greatest feeling in the world to be in love, but I can't say that marrying for other reasons might not work out for some. I've been married for 22 years (in September) and I think that as we age the most important thing in marriage is friendship. I've always felt comfortable and able to be myself when I'm with my husband. I think that's one of the many, many reasons why I fell in love with him. But I guess love can take many forms, and just because falling in love is a requisite for myself, doesn't mean it has to be for everyone, if a person can stay faithful to an individual until death despite not being in love with that person. It could be a very sad thing though if a person falls in love with someone else after they've married for convenience, like you pointed out. I think we need Sophia Sasson's opinion on this. In her Heartwarming book which was excellent, First Comes Marriage, that's exactly what happened.
    And then we could look at the hundreds of episodes of Investigation Discovery (I.D.) that feature murders committed by marriage mates who originally fell in love and married. On second thought, this topic is too tough for me and my little humble opinion. I don't know...LOL.

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    1. It is a tough one, isn't it? I think the most heartbreaking thing would be to marry for logical reasons and then fall in love with someone different and experience that strength of feeling elsewhere. I suspect it happens.

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  6. Good morning, Patricia! Thought provoking post. Ron and I have had such a great marriage (48 years in Aug.) because we were good friends from the very beginning. He was a skeptical news reporter and I'm a very practical woman, so neither of us had illusions about what love should feel like.
    we just liked each other's company, so we got married. And then passion hit both of us like a sledge (I know, not a romantic analogy) as we lived together, raised children together, fought money problems, illness, life's little dirty tricks. I don't know if we've lived our lives in reverse, or if this is a truth not many of us are aware of - love can start with friendship and develop passion that lasts a lifetime rather than the other way around.

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    1. I love this Muriel Jensen!! Life certainly does have many little dirty tricks.

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    2. Muriel, that is so neat! <3 That's a book right there.

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  7. Hi, Patricia, interesting topic! Lots of great comments above, too. In my case, the answer is no - I couldn't marry someone without a passionate connection. I think it's because I suspect there is more to a connection than just passion! It's a good indication that there might be something more there. (Or maybe that's just how I feel because that's what happened in my case?) I feel like marriage is too intimate for anything less. But then again, I'm lucky to have the whole package in my marriage.

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    1. I went with a passionate connection too. For me, it wouldn't have been worth the work, otherwise.

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  9. Love this post and your first reply to a comment: Yes, I think the reasons for marriage can be varied--and combined! But without the passion, I wonder if it would be worth the work?

    I don't think there's enough money (marrying for security) in the world to stay with someone you are not passionately in love with and go through all of marriage's ups and downs. And him not putting the cap back on the toothpaste...and worse. It's love that helps us overlook those things.

    Awesome, thought-provoking post!

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    1. I agree, Patricia. :) Marriage is more work than we realize when we say I do!

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  10. Great post, Patricia. I would have to say no because I have seen several marriages fail recently because they felt like they were friends not lovers. Being friends with your spouse is important, I think, but there needs to be more than friendship to feel truly fulfilled in a relationship. Loving someone is different than being IN love with someone!

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  11. Interesting question. I think friendship is a solid foundation, but to make it last we also need love. I've known marriages to fall apart from lack of passion, but also because they love each other but don't really like each other. Attraction brings a couple together, but living happily is easier if you're friends, too. At least that's my experience.

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    1. I think that passion gives a lot of security. But you're right, living together is sometimes more about negotiation. A healthy mix might be best.

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  12. I agree with Beth. Interesting question. And, I've always heard marry your best friend.
    Used to be, you married for survival. That's changed now, and I think sometimes the fact that you don't have to 'work' together means too often you function apart.
    Me, I married a man I met on a blind date. He was exactly what I was NOT looking for. See, he is just like my dad.
    Cool beans, eh?
    My dad was a pretty cool guy.
    Took me too long to figure that out.

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  13. I married a guy a lot like my dad too. ��

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  14. Amy Vastine, I'm answering on my phone and it won't let me reply on your comment. LOL. I agree that love and "in love" are different. Personally, I think without being in love with each other, I wouldn't be very secure in t we relationship. I wonder if others feel the same?

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  15. These questions have plagued me over the years. I married for love. Didn't realize at the time the blinders were on.

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    1. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It's always a risk!

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