Sunday, June 13, 2010

Falling in Love...

Poets, philosophers, and scientists have all failed to develop a theory of love which explains adequately this infinitely varied and complex emotional experience. Nevertheless, love is too important to escape continued probing of the scientific method.

More often than not today there are variations on this theme of love and marriage. The romantic part of the scenario hasn't changed. Boy and girl still meet, date, and fall in love. But young people have options today that their parents generally did not have. For one thing, when the time comes, they can move into an apartment with a mate without getting married. While many parents still disapprove of such behavior, there are others who hardly take notice of the unmarried couple who live in what used to be called sin.

Another option is that the husband may stay home and do the chores while the wife works fun time, not merely part time in a department store to make a few extra dollars for Christmas or to help the budget, but in a career that is every bit as much her right to pursue as it is her husband's. There may not even be any children, ever, in the picture anymore. More and more couples are postponing having a family until they feel the time is right. Some have made up their minds that children won't fit into their plans at all. Finally, for those who cannot live happily ever after, there's divorce, with or without remarriage. Divorce has long been an option, of course, but it is more frequent and acceptable nowadays. More than one-half of all teenage marriages have, in fact, ended in divorce.

Even if relatively few of you are planning to get married immediately, you have probably discussed the possibility -even if you've vowed that you will never do such a thing. Most teenagers will marry one day, however, and most will have what is known as a traditional wedding -- complete with minister or rabbi or priest, best man and maid of honor, wedding cake and veil and wine and reception and honeymoon. It's important to take a closer look at this serious relationship that is the cornerstone of the family, this social institution that unites one man and one woman to the exclusion of others, and at some of today's marriage options.

Marriages aren't always the natural result of falling in love. People marry for other reasons, even in the United States, where romance generally precedes a wedding. A family might arrange a marriage for business or financial reasons, a king might marry a queen from another country to form a political unit and to solidify power, a young woman from a foreign country might take an American husband to avoid deportation.

An old Czech expression leaves little doubt about the weak role Cupid sometimes plays: "Choose your wife not at a dance, but in a harvest field." Some people, because of their own or their culture's taboos about engaging in premarital sexual intercourse, marry so that they may be free to enjoy sex. Others who believe in "doing the right thing" marry because the young woman in the relationship has become pregnant; marriage in a case like this is a way of averting social disgrace.

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