Why do so many people want and encourage love marriages like those in the US given the high rate of divorce in the US?

Answer by Christopher Lamke:

Marriage is a wonderful ideal and should be available to any consenting adults. Divorce should be available wherever marriage is available. Most people on Quora are intelligent enough and old enough to understand that humans are, at best, incompletely rational. We often want what we want, and that want is based on non-rational forces such as romantic love, lust, envy, …

All of us change over time, both physically and in our worldview, as we accumulate life experience. Change is the defining aspect of life and healthy human beings will experience the world and other people differently, and have different needs and desires, at full maturity than at the dawn of adulthood.

Expecting a man or woman to relate to their partner the same at age 50 as they did at 18 is unrealistic and unhealthy. We have contracts (including marriage) to bind our will over time, to provide stability and continuity to our society, and that's a good thing. In societies with arranged marriages, those contracts are legally binding but they are often much more socially binding. People's lives can be damaged or destroyed by the breakup of a marriage. This is especially true for the woman, whose life can be endangered by those who consider her life less important than their sense of "honor".

The binding of two people regardless of their individual desires fulfills a purpose, providing a rigid structure that allows a group to focus on the daily struggle for survival. In the developed world, the struggle is not for survival but (largely) for self fulfillment. While an advanced society needs contracts to conduct some transactions, there's no compelling evidence that this must include a marriage for life contract.

In the absence of conclusive evidence that arranged marriages or marriages for life are necessary for a successful society, I don't see a reason to consider arranged marriages as fundamentally good, much less necessary. Given human nature, I see no reason to pressure two people to remain married if they'd be healthier and happier apart.

This is just a short explanation of my stance and I've probably missed something important. I look forward to your comments. I'll leave you with this quote, attributed to Goethe, that expresses a fundamental aspect of the human condition, as it relates to love and marriage.

“Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.”

Why do so many people want and encourage love marriages like those in the US given the high rate of divorce in the US?

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