My homie and co-owner here at Fearless Men, John, implored me to read a book for non-married types he’d recently read. It’s called The Sacred Search. I haven’t read all of it, but that’s never stopped me from sharing still percolating thoughts.
I’ll rip the premise of The Sacred Search from the back cover of the book:
What if being in love isn’t a good enough reason to get married?
So let me ask you 3 questions, whether you’re married, you’ve been married, or you’d like to be married:
- Have you ever been in love?
- Was that love life-giving?
- Why – not who – do you want to get married?
Someone recently asked me if I’d ever been in love. Of course, a couple times. Was it life-giving? I think so. Yes and no. I’ve always passed that thought over because I accept that every relationship has its ups and downs.
Here’s why, at 30, I re-evaluate why I want to get married. For ages, for me and I’m guessing you, it’s been about dating someone who’s beautiful, fun, that I’m full of chemistry with. God saw Man at the Genesis of creation and thought Man was lonely. So in my mind, I want companionship.
But seriously, I’ve got friends. Do I want to sign up for making offspring (as if the earth doesn’t have enough)? I used to think that marriage and turning on the baby-making factory was the Right Thing To Do. But what makes that inherently right?
A buddy of mine, I’ll call him E, recently observed that lots of people get married because they think they’re supposed to.
Is Feeling “In Love” Enough Reason To Get Married?
Is that enough reason to get married? Because you’re supposed to? Because people just do it? Because you’re lonely and need companionship?
Is it enough reason to get married, simply because someone makes you feel really really special, and really really loved?
The Sacred Search shares this statistic, and it’s what provoked this entire article:
In 1967, a study of college-age women found that 76% of women said they would marry someone if the man had every trait they were looking for, even if they didn’t feel “romantic love” toward them. In more recent research, 91 percent of women said “absolutely not.”*
Think about it. 45 years ago 76% of women surveyed would get married based not first on emotion, but on the traits that they desired in someone. 7 years ago, only 9% of surveyed women agree.
I’ll write to women here for a second—since 50% of our readers are female. If you found the man you’ve been dreaming about, but he just didn’t make you feel overwhelmed with love, would you still take him?
Men—if you found your nearly ideal woman, but didn’t feel like you were head over heels for her, would you still make it happen and marry here?
You Won’t Always “Feel” In Love
Here’s the crux—one day, at some point after you get married, you’re not going to feel heads over heels in love for that person. Not that that feeling can’t return, you just won’t feel non-stop, relentless passion as you may in the dating cycle. I’m guessing you already know that.
My challenge is this: if we have already accepted that one day we WON’T feel crazy in love every moment, should you pass up on getting with someone that is still a great fit according to the traits you desire?
I know there’s a lot of split feelings about this. If we lived 45 years ago, pickins’ were probably slim and we’d be happy with what we got. If we grew up in a caste system combined with arranged marriages, we’d probably completely accept our assigned spouse.
With all of our modern, Western, privileges, has getting married only been made more complicated? Is it possible people are less satisfied with marriage?
Why Do You Want To Get Married?
I don’t have all the answers, and I didn’t plan a full conclusion, because I want you to sound off in the comments below.
I’ll leave you with this thought, and question: Maybe feeling in love isn’t enough. How “in love” do you need to feel to sign up for 50 years with someone?
*Quote based on the study by Debra Lieberman and Elaine Hatfield, “Passionate Love: Cross Cultural and Evolutionary Perspectives,” in The New Psychology of Love, page 280, 2006.
[Featured image courtesy of http://imagesnoise.com/]