Christian Relaunch

"True Love"

In popular entertainment in the modern global West it is supposed that stable human breeding pairbonds are based on something called true love. "You are the love of my life, my One", say boy and girl to one another. In real life, faith in true love is perhaps less extravagent, but it is usually present in some form.

"True love" is a myth, a misleading extrapolation from the phenomenon of infatuation, of being in love. Being in love is generally a transient experience, as people fall out of love almost as readily as they fall in, so bonds based on it are unstable. One lover soon deserts the other, only to resume the quest for the perfect partner. Marriage is constituted by actual interaction, not stated intention.

This myth arose quite recently. It developed from the courtly love of medieval romance literature, and reached maturity in the neoromantic movement that began in the late 18th century, which is why it is sometimes called romantic love or simply romance. Most societies have thought otherwise. They have always been aware of the strength of infatuation, and have sometimes tolerated it, as in India's Gandharva marriages, but have usually regarded it as at least potentially problematic, a threat to order, a path to woe not to weal. I think they were right.

"True love" is a misdirected reverence, a poor substitute for the sublime love for God which reverence should be.

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