Friday, June 26, 2009

Vindication of Adolescent Romance

The current New York Times Review of Books carries a lead review of Cristina Nehring's A Vindication of Love. It is a defense of passionate romance against boring marriage.

Against Nehring I argue that marriage is a social institution that is first about raising children. A good marriage depends on the relationship of husband and wife, of course, and they will be happier if they are passionately attached to one another. Most married couples are.

It is typical of adolescents to think that marriage is primarily about them. Actually, it is typical of adolescents to think that everything is about them. The view that what makes marriage great is the stormy passion might be forgiven in a 15 year old. It is harder to credit in a grown up mom - well, older woman with a baby - like Nehring.

This vindication of "love" has more in common with Twilight than with good marriage and family life.


TallCoolOne said...

Hmmm...shades of Sandra Tsing Loh, anyone?

LMR said...

I think it's unrealistic to expect two people to be "passionately attached" to one another day in and day out over the course of many years. But I do think it's possible to be passionately (in a different sense) attached to the bigger picture of marriage and family. It is this attachment that makes it possible to get through the times when you don't feel particularly passionate towards or bored with your partner.

Yes, marriage is occasionally boring. So is life, but it is still better than the alternative.

Nate Crimmins said...

Ditto LMR. Ditto.