I thought everyone knew this but I was supervising the other day and this issue arose. So I told her I would write it down.
Marriage is not about love, marriage is about friendship. Marriage in western cultures is about two people living in close quarters for a very long time and endeavouring to maintain a friendship that is of a good quality. Not an easy thing to do.
Marriage is about this.
If two people are compatible at least to some degree in their Parent values that is a good start and one reason why cross cultural marriages can be a hazardous venture.
If two people can at times be caring and considerate of the other party that is a really good thing in a long term friendship (marriage). Random acts of kindness, unsolicited, can generate so much good will.
But probably most important of all is the Free Child contact. Two people who like each other, enjoy each others company and want to spend time together because its fun for them is doodle dandy thing to have in a long term relationship.
None of these have anything to do with love. I am using love here in the sense of a man and a woman falling in love romantically. What I have described above can happen in any relationship.
Love happens when a man and woman meet and fall in love in what is called the honeymoon stage of the relationship. The romantic stage when one gets all those good feelings about the other. This usually lasts 6 to 18 months. From a psychological point of view this is where the attachment between two people develops exponentially. As they fall in love romantically and add sex in there as well two people can develop a very strong attachment, one of the strongest that can develop between two people. Probably only surpassed by the mother - child attachment.
However as I keep banging on about, with attachment comes the desire to maintain proximity. With a strong attachment there is a very strong drive to seek the other out and be with them. People will expend tremendous efforts to maintain proximity with another where there is a strong attachment.
Of course the best situation is if a couple fall in love, develop an attachment and they are also good friends as I described with the FC contact and so forth. Then they have the desire to maintain proximity because of the attachment and also they like and enjoy each others company. Perfection!
Sometimes that does not happen. People who enter couples counselling often have an attachment. Thus they are very reluctant to leave each other because of the desire to maintain proximity (plus all the societal pressures), but the FC contact and NP caring of the other is a very distant memory. They may not even like each other, in fact they may actively dislike each other but they can’t leave because of the desire to maintain proximity. But there is no FC to FC contact left.
Marriage is about friendship and love is about attachment.