‘Marry the man who loves you more’, is a common piece of advice among women. In fact it is so common that this piece of advice has featured in many movies including Sex and the City. The idea of dating or marrying someone who loves you more than you love them seems more skewed towards women than men. Some contend that this was advice that older women gave to younger women about to enter the institution of marriage many centuries ago.
Where the idea came from
Unlike in the last century, love did not have much significance in the decision to get married. Relationships focused more on forces like financial provision, property, interfamily relations, children and so on. The idea of friendship and love as core ingredients in a happy and lasting marriage is relatively new.
In the past women depended more on men. Society viewed the woman as the man’s ‘property’. She was under his control. Perhaps this was the genesis of the idea that marrying a man who cares for you more than you care him would give you a better life.
Given the setting, if the man cared more for the woman then he would treat her better. In the past physical violence was common and acceptable. So a man who loved you more was less likely to beat you. If the reverse was true then such women had a very difficult time in marriage. Since society permitted men to treat women as they pleased, women were under the men’s mercy.
Is it relevant today?
First forward to dating in the current era, many women still argue that this idea holds true. Dating a man who is more into you makes for a better relationship than when you love the guy more. Some say that he is less likely to cheat on you. He will treat you with respect and show appreciation.
The person who loves more in the relationship gives more affection and accommodates the other person more. They accept you for who you are. You don’t constantly feel the need to change or compensate for perceived shortcomings. Loving your partner more then they love you makes you feel more vulnerable. This vulnerability increases the risk of heartbreak and pain. In seeking a relationship with a person who loves you more, one is merely trying to reduce the risk of getting hurt.
Human emotions are not scientific equations. There is no perfect quantity required from both partners to form a balanced equation. It is not possible to have equal affection from both parties. There is always one who gives more than the other one. Additionally, the degree of love is not one constant figure throughout. People love each other differently over time. Further, this also raises the question how do you measure love?
Is it synonymous to settling?
Marrying the person who loves you more than they love you also gives the idea that the other person’s feelings matter more. Almost everyone has been in a situation where they love someone who doesn’t love them and at the same time lack love for someone who loves them. In such a situation if you pick the person who loves you, is it settling?
Relationships go past the idea of feelings only. Besides love, compatibility is key. In choosing a partner then one has to evaluate a person’s characteristics. If the person who loves you more checks the boxes of your desirable traits then would that be settling for them or an actual choice? If the roles were reversed how would you feel if someone picked you because you loved them more than they love you?
Choosing someone who loves you more than you love them could be very selfish and unfair to the other person. It puts them in the same position that you are running away from by not picking the person you love more. However, despite the obvious benefits of marrying someone who loves you more, you hold the power over whether the relationship works. This is because how you appreciate them and make an effort to match up to their level of giving determines whether they eventually feel short-changed. Marriage is not a competition but the degrees of giving and receiving have to be close enough for both parties to feel appreciated.