love is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts in the entire human condition. god knows we here in the ol' U-S-of-A don't have our heads on straight about it. we have chosen to build so much of our social fabric on these weird pillars: love, marriage, family, etc., etc., etc. and yet, a lot of these properties, which we've bound together, have next to nothing to do with each other.
i personally don't believe that we were put on this earth solely to couple off and perpetuate the race. being a heathen who's just really not that fond of kids, this is an understandable impulse. but more importantly, the older i get, the more i realize that the "bedrocks" of love and marriage are skewed beyond belief and, honestly, they're totally unrealistic. this is just not a good way to run a railroad, folks.
there's no denying the biological imperative exists. i may not have it, but it's out there - i've read a lot of people's writing about pining for the kid, the husband/wife/partner, and all that. but there are a couple of wrinkles to all this that we as americans are just not willing to face. the biggest one, BY FAR, is that love is not enough to make a coupling successful. there's a big difference between loving someone and being able to run a life with that person. there are people in my life that i love dearly, care about with all my heart and soul, and enjoy to no end. those people are also ROYALLY incompatible as life partners: we are at such crossed purposes about where, when and how to go about things. this is reality; sometimes love just ain't enough.
there are a number of approaches to this problem that american society proposes. largely, though, it perpetuates the myth that if you love each other hard enough, you can soldier through anything. bunk. this sort of rose-colored foolishness keeps the wedding and rom-com industry active, but it's no way to live. i propose instead that, when you're looking at your partner and thinking about THE FUTURE, you look long and hard at the mechanics. it's cold, hyper-rational, and on a number of levels, it brings the coupling/marriage process back to what it was in the beginning - a property arrangement with political and socioeconomic implications. marriage was not love-based until recently, kids.
romance is far from dead. it's just far from relevant when planning how to live the rest of your life. you can learn to be gooey-sweet romantic with someone you can run a life with. you can't reverse the process without trying to fundamentally change the person you supposedly love. that's not fair to either of you. bring your mind as well as your heart to the table, and you'll save yourself a lot of grief in the end.
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