I recently got an invitation to contribute an article to a publication about ‘love and money’. So I have been thinking about it.
It calls to mind a summer in the mid-1970’s when I was in Kyoto for a few months. I had visited Japan several times already and was growing curious about arranged marriages. When I talked to Japanese friends most of the women said they had a ‘love’ marriage. Most of the men said that their own family knew the family of their wife before the wedding. Everyone acknowledged that arranged marriages were common.
I was in a coffee shop (they had them in those days in Japan) near Kyoto University with about 15 students scattered around the room, mostly in clusters of males and clusters of women.
I stood-up and loudly asked for everyone’s attention. Americans were highly respected back in those days. Then I asked them each a question going around the room.
“Are you going to have a ‘love marriage’ or an ‘arranged marriage’?”
The women, with no exceptions, said a ‘love marriage’. The men all gave vague answers usually of the nature: “My parents will handle that, I don’t care.”
In the intervening 40 years I always check on that issue; nothing has changed.
From this I conclude that ‘love’ in selecting a mate is something 'modern', it is an accommodation to the modern commercial world. It appears that a traditional tribal-family society maintains its stability and hereditary social structure with arranged marriages.
Since I am a champion of the modern commercial world, I am consequently a fan of ‘love’ as the basis for family formation. ‘Love’ in mating supports meritocracy over hereditary social class.
Moreover, as a mature male who has had many lovers during my life and a few wives, I have also observed that it is always the woman who selects the man, even though few men know that or even believe that. So the 'love' part of selection is a cover for a meritocratic choice.