MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
For most of recorded history, people got married for logical pragmatic sorts of reasons.
Since around 1750, we have been living in an era in the history of love that we can call Romanticism where the marriage of reason was replaced with the marriage of feeling.
Love now unfolds against a cultural backdrop that subtly guides us as to where we should place our emotional emphases, what to value, how to approach conflicts, what to get excited about, when to tolerate, and what we can be legitimately incensed by.
It's normative points include:
Knowing the history of Romanticism should be consoling because it suggests that the problems we have with relationships don’t stem from our ineptitude, inadequacy or choice of a partner.
We need to tell ourselves more accurate stories about the progress of relationships, stories that normalise troubles and show us an intelligent, helpful path through them.
Romanticism emerged as an ideology in Europe in the mid-18th century in the minds of poets, artists and philosophers, and it has now conquered the world.
It has permeated our culture with many assumptions about how couples are supposed to get together. It teaches us what to value, how to approach conflicts and what to get excited about.
The right person is expected to be someone who shares our tastes, interests and general attitudes to life. This might be true in the short term. Over an extended period of time, the relevance of this fades dramatically; differences inevitably emerge.
It is the one with a capacity to tolerate difference that is the true marker of the right person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition.