Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A to Z Challenge: M1 - Marriage

Today is one of several M posts because there are many M things I'd like to talk about, and I couldn't choose just one.

I read and write lots of historical Romance. One of the Big Goals in HR is Love within Marriage. Marriage is a forever thing (or at least, until death in some faiths), so is it any wonder that it's used as a distinctive marker for the HEA?

Throughout history, for the most part, marriage wasn't a joining of two people in love. It was a political union, most often for every reason BUT love. Yet humans crave that connection.

Today in much of Western culture, love is considered a necessary requirement before engaging in marriage. (In fact, if some governments learn that you are not marrying for love, but for some other reason, they could very well deny your license.)

In Historical Romance, you get two vectors:  Love Matches leading to Marriage -and- Marriage of Convenience leading to Love.  I've played with both. In the end, you get a married couple who love each other very much.

I confess I don't read too much Contemporary Romance (as I read mostly for escapism), so I'm not sure how strong the Marriage trope is when it comes to the realisation of the HEA. (Actually, the last Contemporary Romance I read was a M/M, and even that involved a marriage proposal between Our Heroes.) But in Historical Romance, it's all about finding Love in Marriage.

For me, if there's not a marriage (or at least the promise of marriage), the fulness of the love doesn't feel realised to me. For me, that's like Our Hero and Our Heroine declaring they want to spend the rest of forever together, and for the next eighty years, they shall express their undying devotion by holding hands. (Even I have kissing in my Sweet novels.)  Holding hands may be cute when you're eight or eighty, but in the years between, I'd expect a certain level of Brown Chicken Brown Cow between two people who are in love and have devoted their lives to each other.

I'm honestly trying to think of a Romance novel I've read that didn't feature marriage as a marker of the Couple's HEA. Feel free to suggest one in the comments.

Her Grace can't help but be a romantic.

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