OPINION: Our ideas about marriage aren't the only ones out there

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Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat

Army Specialist Anthony Baker embraces Taylor Gaines after asking her to marry him during halftime of the Nov. 13 football game against Oregon State.

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always fantasized about getting married. I used to dream about my pearl-white dress and my handsome soulmate I would walk down the aisle toward. Marrying someone whom I didn’t love never even crossed my mind. It is completely normal for individuals in our society to get married, of course. But when did love and marriage begin to correlate?

In the beginning of the concept, marriage was determined by mainly physical factors intended for survival purposes. The idea of marrying for love is still an idea that is fairly new to society. By no means does this suggest that it is wrong in any way; however, it is a very interesting idea to ponder.

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Throughout history, there were many cultures that believed that love and marriage did not go together. The ancient Greeks, Chinese, Indians and medieval French all believed that love in marriage was both disruptive and inappropriate. Marriages were almost always arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. In these cultures, except the Chinese, if love were to blossom from a marriage, it would then be seen as socially acceptable. 

Conversely, in the Chinese culture, the groom was expected to love, respect and trust his parents over his wife. If these expectations were not upheld, his parents had the power to send the wife back to her parents.

Today’s version of marriage looks much different than it did hundreds and thousands of years ago. There are vastly different expectations for marriage that society expects when observing whether a marriage is successful or not. 

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First off, the couple must be best friends. The couple must always place each other’s needs above their own. They must vow to never be sexually disloyal to each other, by any means. They should never keep secrets. This cocktail of promises and trusts are extremely difficult to find due to the fact that no human can be perfect all the time. This is probably why the divorce rates in Western culture are so high.

One of the biggest reasons for divorce is infidelity. This is seen as one of the most abhorrent acts that a partner could commit; it is seen as the ultimate betrayal. Nonetheless, there are multiple modern societies that are non-monogamous, with consent by all. Examples of this include: Senegal, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Nigeria. When researching this type of marital arrangement, most of the couples report being extremely happy

The Bari people in Venezuela believe that if men have sexual intercourse with a pregnant woman, then they are all the fathers of the child. The biological father is considered the primary father, while the lovers are considered secondary fathers to the child.

Western culture has certainly developed some of the most difficult parameters for married couples to abide by. It is quite interesting to dive into the history of marrying for love and how Western culture deals with love and marriage in modern society. In all, there is no answer for what is right and what is wrong. It is a personal choice.


Danielle Morris is a junior studying English and creative writing. Follow the Daily Wildcat on Twitter



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