I’m not sure why you guys are talking about love, by answering me as though I don’t know that love is an act of the will and that sometimes you do unpleasant things which are right, because of this decision of the will. I understand its place in marriage.
I’m talking about* emotion being downplayed.
When there is a wedding of two people where affection is not a factor in the decision to marry, as far as I can see, you can have one of two things:
Scenario #1. Both partners feel no affection but get married anyway, and don’t anticipate possibly being repulsed by this. Affection may or may not eventually develop later into the marriage (and this is usually the expectation society fosters in them).
If the marriage never leads to at least a little affection in the sense that the spouses do feel that they are each other’s “family”, the marriage will endure an unreasonable levels of strain. A marriage which never develops affection such that you feel like your spouse is really “family”, but is rather only someone you “want to go to heaven”, and “someone you live with and have sex with because you’re supposed to”, can expect resentment to take hold, because NOTHING you do will be motivated out of, “He or she is my family and I actually want to do these things for her/him”.
Who in the world says things like, “I’ll go visit my wife in the hospital so I can honor her, because I have to, because she’s my wife”? Bad people in bad marriages who have a shred of decency left might think such things, but such is a marriage which failed to achieve the level of affection, sympathy, and compassion for one another which the couple had hoped to reach. Not very ideal, is it.
Humans were made to emotionally bond–not least of all with your chosen spouse for life. In an arranged marriage, I know that it can eventually develop, but I don’t see that people can reasonably take such chances.
Arranged marriages are often predicated on the* assumption* that couples can and will develop the affection they need to feel as though they are really family. However, things do not always develop this way, so, if we’re going to be searching for principles to go by, planning a marriage with no affection at the foundation is to take a very imprudent risk. Sexual attraction can and does wane at times, but that’s not nearly the issue you get when there is no affection. Affection tells you, “He/She is family.” Affection is more constant and it helps keep families together who otherwise might break.
Scenario #2. Both partners feel no affection but do the deed anyway, because they promised to please one another, and at least one of them HAS been repulsed by the idea of sex with their “spouse” from the very beginning. It is very hard to see sex with someone for whom you feel no affection–let alone attraction–as something somebody can reasonably request of you. The prospect is horrific. Unreasonable requests for sex do not need to be granted. “I cannot stand the thought of sex because it’s too emotionally torturing” is just as valid as, “Honey, this flu has me feeling awful today, I can’t.”
Yet Scenario #2 occurs quite frequently. I’ve read so much about this happening in parts of the world that I concluded it’s a given that there is a terrible risk when people who do not have affection marry one another. Since it’s not even possible that there can be mutual pleasurable relations–or any completely mutually consensual relations at all–the validity of such a marriage is at stake.
Distraught spouses in Scenario #2 marriages aren’t able to give full consent; rather, they are coerced by the internal and external pressures, like a gunshot groom or a rape victim, such as “I have to do this, I have no choice”.
Okay, for the sake of argument, let’s say that a Scenario #1 marriage which failed to achieve any level of affection is still okay, because there is “Love” in the sense of the kind of affection-free love you are at the minimum, expected to have. Now:
When planning an arranged marriage, what would help you to not end up with a possibly invalid Scenario #2 marriage? What ignored factor could prevent an invalid marriage?
Affection, from the very beginning. With affection factored into the decision to marry–and I’m not talking about wild sexual attraction either, just affection–there is no risk of either a Scenario #1 marriage that has much to be desired, or Scenario #2 happening.
Other things may go wrong to threaten a couple’s affection for one another, but like I said, this is a sign that something needs fixed. If it wasn’t there from the get-go, there’s a great chance you’ve entered an invalid marriage.
So it doesn’t seem like affection should be downplayed at all.