Why isn’t Marriage Romantic Anymore?

Dan and I were watching The Event one night. Afterwards, I turned to Dan and told him they should have had two of the main characters married instead of just dating. I would have pulled for them more. Then Dan pointed out something: most of the world does not see the romance or permanence of marriage anymore.

Dan’s words saddened me. I guess I’m one of those that still believes marriage can be the strongest human relationship in the world. Where a man finds a woman and chooses to love only her the rest of his life. Where a woman stands beside her man as his lover, friend, and ally. The kind of bond that if the woman went missing, the man will go to the ends of the earth to find her (cue music “I’ll Always Find You”).

I have a hard time believing in that kind of permanent love between two people merely dating. And even harder time believing that of total strangers. Yet that is the romance we see on the big screen or read about in books.

I know, I know, you’re saying that kind of romantic marriage is more fairytale than reality. And considering the amount of divorce, infidelity, and disrespect in marriages nowadays, it’s easy to see why. But isn’t the heartthrobbing, I-will-throw-myself-in-front-of-the-monster (even though I’ve only known you two days), let’s kiss (and do more) but I may or may not be here tomorrow kind of love just as fairytalish?

Why is it that marriage has to be unexciting, unromantic, or the big problem in a movie/book? Why can’t it be the romantic element? That together, the hero and heroine are stronger than they would be apart?

I love the opening scene to Star Wars: Survivors Quest by Timothy Zahn. We watch Luke Skywalker and his wife Mara Jade totally clean out the bad guys. But not just in that scene. They do that through the entire book. And Star Wars series. Apart, Luke and Mara are pretty good jedis. Together, unbeatable. They are a fictional example of a great husband/wife team. They love each other exclusively, watch each other’s backs, powerful in their own right, but even more so together. Why can’t we have more romance like that?

Or how about Spy Kids? The movie starts out with two international spies assigned to take out the other. Of course, they fall in love instead and choose to embark on the “greatest journey of all”: marriage (and kids :)).

I would love to see more of this kind of romance when I read or watch a movie. A romance where marriage is a good thing, something to be desired. It reinforces my own desire for a good marriage, one worth fighting for.

How about you? Would you like to see more of this kind of romance? What books or movies have you seen marriage portrayed as romantic?

15 thoughts on “Why isn’t Marriage Romantic Anymore?”

  1. For myself, I don’t really care to see romance in movies. All I can say is that sometimes life gets in the way of romance. Once you’re married, have kids, and have careers its hard to focus on much else.

    Personally, I’d like to say it kicks ass that you read Star Wars books. You are the only woman I know of that even likes Star Wars.

    1. Hi twindaddy,
      I love Star Wars. My husband and I have read almost every book to date, own every movie, and love the games. In fact, we are totally excited for Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO to come out.

      By the way, does your username mean you’re a daddy of twins? So are we (er, my husband is ;P)

  2. I agree with you 100%

    It makes me sad that today’s society has the view it does. I personally think that marriage is way more romantic than being in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. You don’t feel the anxiousness, insecurities and fears that come with “how much does he/she love me?” or “why can’t he/she commit longterm?”. What’s so romantic in that?
    Ultimately most of us want a marriage.

    A nice movie about love and decotion is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” or the book “The Notebook”.

    1. Hi Gigi,
      The Time Traveler’s Wife is on my list of books to read. I have not watched The Notebook, but now I might have to check that out 🙂

  3. Luke and Mara are a good example (even though I think it’s funny that she was supposed to assassinate him), but even Han and Lei are a lot like that. Another would be the Murrays in Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

    I think that part of the reason why the younger generation doesn’t view marriage as being of very much importance is that we watched our parents’ generation rush into marriages that weren’t incredibly fulfilling. Then again, I’m the sort that thinks that even without a marriage, you can still have the incredible go-to-the-ends-of-the-earth type of bond, and within a marriage, it’s awesome too. I just get bothered by the somewhat superficial “romances” that I see in movies, because it can be pretty obvious how fake they are.

  4. Yes, I have 11 year old twin boys. I, too, have almost all of the novels and a lot of the games. I’m trying to get excited about SWTOR, but I really don’t care for MMO’s. I would really like them to come out with KOTOR 3, but as far as I know that project has been scrapped.

    Grace makes a valid point. I would have had no problem not marrying my wife and staying with her. I love her the same whether we’re married or not. It was important to her, though, so that made it important to me.

  5. I think it’s been de-valued as spouses are seen as disposable and people speak of “starter marriages” as though they were a joke. I agree with you that marriage can be place of strength and refuge. I don’t have kids, though, and I think the endless dramas of child-rearing can leach much of the romance out of many marriages.

    1. Child-rearing, dual jobs, life in general can certainly leach romance. My husband and I had to be proactive and creative about keeping the romance in our own marriage when our 4 children were little. But it was definitely worth the time and effort.

  6. Morgan–just read this post and couldn’t agree more. I think you might enjoy my post here: http://www.edgyinspirationalromance.com/2013/11/guest-post-married-romance-by-heather.html. I find it sad that Christian books won’t categorize stories w/married main characters as “romance.” As if all romance is dead once we’re married. In my mind, that’s when the real romance starts–sacrificial. Glad to see there are other readers out there who feel this way.

  7. I couldn’t agree more with this. Marriage can indeed be romantic, and dramatic, and interesting, and even hilarious. It’s one reason my urban fantasy features a married couple as the main protagonists. I love the Han Solo/Princess Leia dynamic or the Luke Skywalker/Mara Jade dynamic. One of my thoughts is that the modern tendency to “shack up” leaches some of the joy out of actual marriage, because there’s nothing special or sacred about that aspect of living together and sharing lives. A single friend asked me about what marriage was like (other than the obvious intimacy) and I mentioned the blessing of working with, growing with, arguing with, and living with my best friend with whom I am committed to maturing with for the rest of my life. Five years in, and plenty of interesting times, but that’s part of life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. Yes, I think couples miss out on the “being one” aspect when they shack up. However, that oneness doesn’t just magically come after the wedding ceremony either. It’s there, but it needs to be cultivated as a couple walks through life together, strengthening the bond between them.

  8. You asked the question as to why marriage isn’t romantic anymore, and then gave your reason why. I want to offer a point of view that sheds light that there is far more to this for some people.

    My issue with this point of view is how narrow and judgmental it is of people who have different concepts of love than you may have :\. You see marriage as the only definition of, or arrangement in which to experience committed, faithful, and devoted love between two people.

    Marriage is not exclusive to, or a guarantee of commitment, devotion, or even love. Marriage itself is not really even about love – it’s a lifestyle choice for people who feel that “love” needs to be experienced within an interdependent partnership where “needs” are met. Marriage can contain love, but need based relationships are not actually about love. Pure love is when you feel admiration for another based solely on who they are – not what they are to you, or how they work in your life. Many people are just as, even more committed, devoted, faithful – and yes PERMANENTLY than married couples. Saying that marriage makes it more “real” is saying that being someone’s roommate means you feel more love – and it’s just not the case – it just means you prefer to have the person you love be your roommate. Many people find that love is actually far more true, beautiful, and far more healthy if both people in the connection are allowed to maintain their independent journeys – i.e. separate homes, keep their last names, etc. That way both people continue to honor who they are as a whole person, and can eternally share who they are with the person they love from a complete state of giving. Marriage by design is 2 people “compromising” and “changing” themselves to create a “couple”. Marriage by design requires people becoming less of an individual to fit into a couple. And that feeling of “loss of a strong sense of self” is the very reason marriage is hard, why people cheat, why marriage is “unromantic” and why so many marriages fail. “Oneness” doesn’t come from losing yourself in someone, it comes from sharing the “wholeness” of yourself with the “wholeness” of another.

    This is one of my favorite quotes…

    ““It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit.”

    And don’t mistake anything i’ve said for an “open relationship” in anyway. I 1000% ONLY believe in monogamy, but cohabitation and an interdependent daily life is not requirement of that – and as we know not a guarantee of it either, committed, beautiful, faithful devoted love.

    What motivated me to comment was when you said this…”I have a hard time believing in that kind of permanent love between two people merely dating.” You’re assuming that love can only be experienced in a few typical checkboxes – i.e. “stranger”. “dating”, or “married”. You completely miss the concept that there are people who are 1000% committed, devoted, faithful, madly in love, and in unbelievably healthy relationships who are not married. And I personally believe in soulmate – not the misuse of the word as in “Match.com” find “any compatible partner” soulmate – but God created my soul with this soul millions of years ago and I loved him in the last lifetime, I love him madly in this lifetime, and I will love him eternally in the next lifetime and beyond. So please understand that the “sadness” you feel for others who have not chosen the same lifestyle as you can been seen as condescending and actually incredibly uninformed as your version of “love” is not all there is, and many of us out there are experiencing an unbelievably magical, healthy, and beautiful love you may have never even dreamed of.

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