Vivian made a comment under the “Response to ‘What if Something Happens To Your Husband?’ at Simple Southern Spirit” post that I would like to respond to; this paragraph in particular:
“True love is when a woman marries a guy when she doesn’t need him. By “doesn’t need him” I mean, she doesn’t need him to support her financially and she can live just fine on her own, BUT she chooses to be with a man out of love and desire for that man. See the difference ? In a woman who doesn’t need you to live, but yet wants to be with you ? Versus a woman that needs you because she needs someone to pay her bills ? To me if a woman needs a man to pay her bills, there is no real love there, she is with him mainly for what he can provide financially and he is replaceable, hence your statement about remarrying if her husband dies so a woman can find a new provider. That’s not love, love is when someone can’t be replaced, no one else will measure up. Women remarrying for financial support means any man will do as long as he is paying her bills.”
First off, let us define what we mean here by this concept of “true love.” For Vivian “true love” seems to mean love not “contaminated” or “corrupted” by other interests or factors such as needing the other person to “pay the bills.” I would define “true love” in another way, to love someone completely and fully with all your heart and all your capabilities as a man or a woman where you are putting the interests of the other above your own idealistically.
Love, romantic love in the context of marriage, is a multi-part thing. It is not just “being in love” or “feeling love;” there are duties in a marriage and a higher purpose the marriage is meant to serve, a purpose greater than just the feelings of the man and the woman involved.
Love, the feeling of love, exists within a wider context and is meant to serve a particular purpose. Love does not exist simply as a stand alone entity for its own sake, a kind of consumption item to be consumed for ones own pleasure. Love is a signal of duty and obligation towards the beloved or the object of ones affections. You love the other person because you are meant to serve the other person, your feeling of love towards them telling you that you want to serve THIS PERSON more than any other person. The person you love the most is the person you want to serve the most, is the person you want to give your life to to the exclusion of all others.
Love is a reward or an incentive; it serves a very practical function and purpose. When you love someone the object of your affections gives you great pleasure. You enjoy looking at them because they are so beautiful, you like the sound of their voice, you love interacting with them and the beloved paying attention to you; you especially like approval from and affection and physical intimacy with the beloved. All of these interactions with the beloved give you rewards that you get specifically from the beloved and no one else. “No one makes me feel like you do” being the refrain. The purpose of all this is to create a very strong incentive to “be with” the person you love. This then is the motivation to serve the person you love so that the object of your affections will agree to allow you to be in close proximity with them and be intimate with them. Love creates the incentive to “be near” one person in particular more than any other person which then is combined with service towards the one you love so that the one you love will allow you to be near them and intimate with them.
Love must always be combined with service as the whole purpose of love is to motivate and reward service in the first place. One of the key aspects of loving someone is wanting them to be happy and wanting to please them and wanting to benefit them; wanting to make their life better. This emotional attribute of love certainly fits well with the primary purpose of love which is to motivate service to the beloved. Love without service makes no sense and is abusive and manipulative towards the “beloved” who is owed service but denied it.
Another thing, love is derivative of attraction; you love most whom you find the most attractive. Attraction however is based on the other person’s ability to serve you the most. Attractive qualities in a potential mate are precisely those qualities that best indicate that other person’s ability to serve you and benefit you so the whole reason why you find someone attractive in the first place is because their qualities and attributes indicate their high capacity to serve you best, better than the other members of their sex. Finding someone attractive means you perceive their attributes will serve you well, that they “feel good” to you. Of course you then hope they will be able to fulfill the benefit to you indicated or “promised” by their attractive features, that their attractiveness was a “true signal” of their worth rather than a false or misleading signal. If someone possesses attractiveness but then fails to follow through on their duty of service to their romantic partner then their signal of attraction in the first place was corrupt and fraudulent meaning the feeling of love they generated in the person who became attracted to them was based on false premises and was illegitimate at its core.
A woman is owed financial support whatever man she marries. In other words the man “paying the bills” should be a given whatever man a woman decides to marry. “Paying the bills” is a fundamental first duty or first principle of what being a man is all about. If a man can’t “pay the bills” then he is not even ready to get married at all to any woman, he is not even meeting the basic minimum standards of what he as a man owes a woman in a marital relationship. So a woman should not be marrying a particular man because that particular man is ready and able to “pay the bills.” All men available for marriage should come with that attribute and that benefit so that what makes a man “better” or “special” will be based on some other positive characteristic that is unique to him or a special strength of his. A woman should indeed choose a particular man above all other men because that particular man generates love and desire within her more powerfully than any other man. At the same time the man has to pay the bills regardless because that is just a basic fundamental thing.
It needs to be kept in mind; romantic love is competitive and exclusionary by nature. You marry one woman and fully devote yourself to that one woman and in return you expect and demand that that woman forsake and reject all other men in favor of you. What this means is that when you marry a woman you are not only giving to her what you have to offer her but in addition you are denying to her whatever your strongest romantic competition had to offer her instead. So if you fail to support your wife financially remember that you are harming her in a very serious way as you are not only failing in your duties to her as her husband, you are also blocking her access to better men who would not shirk their responsibilities towards her like you are doing.
So what about a woman marrying a man “just for the money” whom she doesn’t really truly love? A woman may indeed be abusive to a wealthy successful man in this way; a man particularly successful financially will have to be wary of this and look at his prospective wife during the courtship process carefully to make sure that she “truly loves him” and is not “just after his money.” This doesn’t mean however that it is wrong for women to evaluate a man based partially on his earning capacity and net worth; the money and earning capacity a man brings to a relationship is a very important part of what the man has to offer the woman. Most importantly it needs to be kept in mind that a woman is intrinsically dependent upon a man when a woman chooses to enter into a romantic relationship with a man as the primary moral purpose of marriage is to free women from the masculine world of work for money so that the woman can instead devote herself fully to the feminine realm where she is at her strongest and most competent and through which she can contribute to the lives of others the most. The primary purpose of marriage after all is service to those dependent upon the woman (in particular children) through the empowerment and support of women’s femininity through the mechanism of husbands financially supporting their wives.
As a man I most definitely want to be married to a woman who is dependent upon me and needs for me to “pay the bills” in order to be able to do all the things she wants to do and that I support her doing as a woman. I want a woman to not only love me because of my attractive characteristics which signal to her my capacity to serve her as a man but also to love me because of my actual service to her and my actual benefit to her life. I want to be loved not only because of my desirable characteristics but also because I am actually good and treating my wife well and giving to her both what she desires and also what she needs. I want to be a good man and loved and appreciated as such by the woman I love the most, more than any other woman in the world. That to me is true love, the kind of love I want most from a woman.