In this month of February where there’s an overdose of love everywhere, here is a refreshing and thoughtprovoking examination from a teenager.
Love is often spoken about as something divine and beautiful, but talk of it is so widespread that it can get degraded to a mere obligation. Some argue that falling in love is a given in everyone’s life, and that one has not fully experienced life without it. Others insist that it is impossible to be happy without a lover or spouse despite it not being the case for some. In today’s society, significant others are almost treated as an object to be won – interpersonal connections and close relationships appear no longer be as important as they were in the past. In a society where living alone is often perceived as a failure rather than a choice, the role of relationships and love in culture is to be examined.
A functionalist may argue that a spouse, or some other form of significant other, is necessary in an individual’s growth and maintaining a balanced society. In most cultures, it is expected and considered natural to have a partner in order to procreate and have children. In fact, that is the very purpose of a living being – to reproduce. This concept is so instilled in society that it’s almost difficult to imagine a good and settled future without someone else. Not having a significant other or spouse merely breaks the cycle; one is unable to have kids, raise them, send them to school, and get them married, as well. In this case, change is unwarranted, and whoever does dare to resist this cycle ‘breaks the family lineage’ and is often viewed as a disappointment.
The culture and personality theory illustrates the idea that cultures create and value certain kinds of citizens. People in the west, and in many other areas around the world, simply perceive a partner as a requisite aspect of adulthood. People who don’t have one seem out of place, and this can oftentimes be demoralizing. They may eventually start questioning themselves: are they worthless, unwanted or unlovable? This may not be true, but societal culture can influence thought and emotions. Even though one may be satisfied without a partner, expectations may force them to think otherwise. People may question what is right for them, and could possibly act to please others at their own expense.
As emphasized by the theories of functionalism and culture and personality, the idea of love can be changed from a personal relationship to a responsibility. Having a significant other or spouse fulfills one’s role in a harmonious society, and anyone who doesn’t fulfill that role is considered strange and rebellious. Living without a partner has been so denormalized that it can prompt self-doubt and hatred. Though a partner is certainly not necessary for happiness, societal expectations and pressures regarding relationships present significant challenges to those who would rather remain alone.
Any thoughts? Do share.