Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?
Notions of love are Culture-specificShow moreShow less
Many different cultures have specific ways of defining and experiencing love.
In cultures that encourage polygamy - the marriage of one person to multiple spouses - the idea of a life partner (or life partners) is bolstered not by ideas of romantic love, but of pragmatism. For instance, the Maasai culture in Kenya practices polygamy, where it is considered a pragmatic decision in order to ease the pressure of running a household rather than placing it all on one wife.
A similar ethos underpins cultures that have arranged marriages. Arranged marriages are a pragmatic choice; they ensure both parties have similar values, families can screen for deal-breakers, and a level of compatibility is ensured.
This is not to say that romantic notions of love has no place in polygamy or arranged marriages. True romantic love has been shown to grow in many arranged marriages and the divorce rate for arranged marriages is extremely low. However, love is not simply something that happens to us, but something we have a say in; pragmatism should be the main consideration when forming the foundation of lifelong love.
[P1] Pragmatism is more important than desire when building a life together.
[P2] Love is something best built on the foundation of this pragmatism.