Clearly love matters. But what's surprising is that it doesn't matter the same to everyone or for the same reasons.
In my November 17, 2013 article entitled, Three Reasons Why You Shouldn't Marry for Love, I was shocked by the responses that I got. Comments ranged from, “Thank you so much for writing this article. That's exactly what I've been thinking,” to, “I can't believe you’re a therapist,” and, “Obviously you've never experienced love.”
Some of the more observant readers noticed that I didn't define love so it was interesting to see what people assumed love to mean.
Here's what I concluded: Love means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The import people gave to love in marriage depended very much on where they lived around the globe.
For most Americans, to talk about removing love from the nuptial equation was the equivalent of blasphemy. These were the readers who were really angry with me. The people who responded from other parts of the world such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Europe, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, Mexico and even Canada, understood that you actually don't need love in a marriage at least not the romantic love that we Americans hold so high.
Given that the divorce rate in America is the highest in the world, I think we have something to learn from these other countries and cultures.
The upcoming book I’ve co-written with journalist Vicki Larson, The New I Do, Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels, addresses this very issue and we have some creative ideas for designing marriages that suit a variety of needs and levels of love.
I’d love to keep the conversation going.
And, if you’d like to take our survey, we welcome your input.