Over at Collectors Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford offers a tonic for those craven types who continually extol the virtues of “traditional marriage” without having the foggiest idea of what they’re actually referring to.
Though the murky concept known as “love” has been recorded for all of human history, it was almost never a justification for marriage. “Love was considered a reason not to get married,” says Abbott. “It was seen as lust, as something that would dissipate. You could have love or lust for your mistress, if you’re a man, but if you’re a woman, you had to suppress it. It was condemned as a factor in marriage.”
In fact, for thousands of years, love was mostly seen as a hindrance to marriage, something that would inevitably cause problems. “Most societies have had romantic love, this combination of sexual passion, infatuation, and the romanticization of the partner,” says Coontz. “But very often, those things were seen as inappropriate when attached to marriage. The southern French aristocracy believed that true romantic love was only possible in an adulterous relationship, because marriage was a political, economic, and mercenary event. True love could only exist without it.”