do you need to be in love to get married

By Miriam of 30 Thoughts

My friend and I were discussing what’s always on everyone’s mind these days: love and relationships. We were updating each other on our potential plus ones when I asked, “Why do I have to be in love with the person I marry? Why can’t I marry a man because I believe he’ll be a good father and/or a good provider?” My friend perished the thought and expressed that marrying for reasons, not including love, would be settling. I disagreed. Days later, I stumbled upon an article that eloquently echoed my sentiments in a beautifully written piece entitled, Three Reasons You Should Never Marry For Love:

1. Love is a changeable emotion. As quickly as you fall in love, you can fall out of love. Then what? Either the relationship ends or it becomes toxic. If love is your primary connection, the glue is gone. This is true for passionate, physical love as well as “soul-mate” love.

2. Love does not make for a strong enough foundation. Yes, love is strong but, due to the fact that it can evaporate, it is not something that can stand alone as the basis for a long-term relationship (especially when kids are involved). Anything built on a foundation of love is subject to crumbling.

3. Love is far from “all you need.” You need mutual respect, shared goals and compatibility way more than you need love to have a sustainable, lasting relationship. People “fall in love with love” just as Kim Kardashian showed us, because they think it will carry them the distance. We all want to be wanted and we love to love yet, if you had a recipe for a strong, healthy relationship, it might look like this: 3 Cups respect; 2 Cups shared goals; 2 Cups compatibility, 1 Tablespoon love, 1 teaspoon attraction (optional!). (Of course a relationship has many more ingredients than this but you get the idea). Read more here.

Like the article, I mentioned that in historical times, women especially, married for financial gain and status, and whether a woman loved her man was of no consequence, and at times the inverse was true as well.

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So, what’s so terrible about not marrying for love? If there is mutual respect, admiration and financial stability, can’t a man or woman be content in a situation where the things that matter most to HIM/HER are present? What exactly does love have to do with it?
At times, I feel as though the modern “in love” requirement for matrimony puts too much pressure on relationships. Considering also that you can grow to love someone over time, why must a couple be in love at the outset for their marriage to be validated?

My parents had a tumultuous marriage, but it wasn’t because they didn’t love one another. I actually felt that they did. But, somewhere along the line, they changed and life happened. This may be why I value friendship and respect in a relationship more than the uncertainty and inconsistency of romance. Their relationship taught me an invaluable lesson:

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that the two of you should be married.

‘Can we get along? Do we value each other’s opinion? Do we admire each other? Would I want my children to be like him? Does he offer stability? Do we share similar values?’ An affirmative answer to these questions is more important to me than whether my heart skips a beat when he enters the room or if we’ve exchanged ‘I love yous’ on the daily since we met.

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What do you think? Is love a requirement for marriage? If so, why? Would marriages last longer if there weren’t so much emphasis on being in love?