Can You Marry Someone You Don’t Love?

February 6, 2012  |  

A friend of mine posted this blog on her Facebook page and it got me intrigued. The blog post features a letter about a woman who is set to be married. You’re probably thinking, ooh, a love story, how quaint, right? Or you’re probably thinking, whatever, people get married everyday. Who wants to read an entire post about that?  Well here’s the thing: she doesn’t love the man she is about to wed. Ah, now your interest has been piqued.

Okay here is the lowdown: The 28-year young woman named Folu has been involved in a series of bad relationships, where she found herself giving away emotionally more than she received – a ratio of 70-30 percent to be more exact. Anyway, after dating a scumbag named Bode for over two years, who seemed to have taken delight in cheating on her and dangling a relationship on a string, our heroine began to realize that the feeling of being in love is “overrated” and is the most “negligible consideration in looking for a mate.”

Folu then goes on to discuss meeting her fiancé Tayo, with whom she has been dating and engaged to for 11 months combined.  While Tayo, who is a born-again Christian, meets one of her requirements, he doesn’t dress nice, doesn’t offer intellectual stimulation and is not really physically attractive enough to get her excited. In short, Tayo is boring. However, Folu claims that with him, she has found her peace and joy.

So what is it about Tayo that makes her believe that he is the one, despite not being the one that makes her heart go pitter-patter? Well, in short, he is nice to her. He does stuff like pick her up from the airport, something her former lover Bode would never do, and makes her feel safe, secure, pampered and cared for.  And although Folu does not love Tayo, she is convinced that eventually she could, especially after they consummate their relationship. According to the Folu, “I might not be with the handsome charmer I longed for as a young teenager. He might not have the best physique in the world. He might not have funny things to say to me all the time. He might not be able to make my heart do somersaults. He might not have the latest clothes and shoes nor know the latest slangs young peoples say. He might not understand my love for E! News and Yoruba movies. But of this I am sure: I am with the man God selected, handpicked for me….”

She adds, “My heart doesn’t have to skip beats when he is not with me. I don’t have to call him 10 times before I get one call back from him. I’m not pressured to do anything ungodly instead I am challenged to draw closer to God and know Him more that I might be a deserving wife to the man God designed for me and that I may bring him as much joy and bliss as he does me. If you call this settling then yes, this girl HAS settled.”

There is no way to verify the authenticity of this letter; however let’s assume for the purpose of this post that it is true. And it is not like there isn’t someone out there right now going through the same thing so it would not be so far of a stretch to ponder the possibilities. Nevertheless for those, who are familiar with my previous post in regards to settling, you know I’m not having it. I don’t care what the media says about the probability of marriage for Black women; life is too short to be with someone, who you sort of, kind of, maybe “like.” But that’s just my thing and if she is as truly happy and content as she says she is, than who am I to judge?

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  • sentimental

    Dummy nothing is for sure! One thing that was a major factor is the fact that he is a God fearing man and has brought her closer to God which is the best element in the relationship. Through prayer things will change for her and for him. That’s the answer to the spiritual part of the relationship, the second part is wise advise “Its better he’s looking for her than her looking for him” Tayo has the qualities of a good man; not the potential.” He may not be 100 % but he is a good 80″ quote by T.D.Jakes

  • Themcleods

    The reason there are so many unhappy, unsatisfied people is because we all (talking about the posters of this thread) make this statements based on how we feel.  How we feel is rarely based on any scientific evidence.  There are psychological (a science of statistics and probabilities) and physiological truths to love and attachment.  Because the masses of us do not know these things, we go off of what our friends say, what we see on TV, what we “think”, etc.  “Love” and infatuation/lust are two totally different things.  Here’s my point.  The lay person doesn’t know the difference as seen in so many of these posts.  “Love” is a word to describe your level of mental and emotional investment you have in a person…..NOT that ‘warm and fuzzy” thing most have refered to in this thread. 

  • kEELAH

      I can see where this poster is coming from.  What starts off as heart pounding, stomach somersaults DOES eventually calm down.  Love that sustains for years goes through ebbs and flows, but what does and should always remain is respect, appreciation and openness to grow with one another.  I think that ‘feeling’ that we all seem to be searching for is what is keeping lots of us in relationships of convenience where our TRUE needs aren’t being met or constantly chasing every possibility that we run across.  Read: Thirsty!!  

    While personally, I must have at LEAST in the beginning felt that heart pounding butterfly thing for my husband of choice, I respect and commend her honesty.  Those feelings don’t sustain a marriage but appreciation goes a LONG WAY!

  • Pingback: Settling Down or Settling for Less? (and Stuffed Green and Yellow Bell Peppers) « Soul Food For Thought()

  • MixedUpInVegas

    Love in marriage evolves and changes over time.  It deepens from the breathless romantic love that brings two people together into an abiding respect for, and appreciation of, the many good qualities in your mate.  As time and the vagaries of life test each partner, the strength of their bond increases as it is tested and overcomes adversity for the good of the partnership.

    Many commenters here had said that love is not enough and that is soooooo true.  We have all loved people we would never marry, so clearly there is more to it.  A loveless marriage, though, is hard to imagine.  Perhaps each partner would “learn” to love each other over time.  It happens.  When someone is good to you, stands by you, lifts you up and sacrifices for you, it is hard to believe that those things would not stir your heart.  So maybe . . . .

  • Chantel Lewis

    Love is over rated in an instant gratification society that we live in. I respect her hustle not wanting to love after giving way to much. Good Luck!

  • lovehubby

    Marriage can’t work without love. For instance, people marry for money and end up in divorce; why…b/c there was no love in the first place. When marriages are tested love is what makes the difference. I will have been married for four years in June. I can’t imagine being with a man in holy matrimony without the love of God and love for each other as the foundation.

  • Love doesn’t last. It’s a fleeting emotion so I agree with Folu. 

  • tiffany

    this begs the question: what is love?

    • uzo

      1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

  • MissK

    This is my worst nightmare.  I’d rather stay single.

  • Pingback: CAN YOU MARRY SOMEONE YOU DON’T LOVE? | MyMajicDC - Majic 102.3 DC's Home for the Adult Urban Community()

  • NikkitaMichelle

    I can only speak from personal experience.  I don’t see anything wrong with Folu marrying someone that she’s not necessarily in love with.  What is being in love in the first place.  Everyone I know that had this wild crazy passionate in love feeling are now divorced.  Too many people confuse being in love with infatuation and lust. God doesn’t promise any of us that we’ll be in love.  That’s some crap that has been made up in romance novels.  After dating quite a few dogs that I thought I was in love with, I learned quite quickly when I met my husband that those relationships were totally one sided.  I was in love with who I knew these dudes could be and not actually who they really were.  I married my best friend and I loved him as a friend at the time.  It’s when crap hit the fan and he stayed by side and had my back through it all that a loving friendship turned into the greatest love I’ve ever known other than that with Christ.  I’m hoping the same can happen for Folu.

  • Pivyque

    I can understand that. It makes sense and the love can eventually grow. Love IS overrated. People will use love as an excuse for anything. If you find someone who fits the bill in every way, why do you need to love them? Arranged marriages last longer than most marriages that people entered because they were in love. I think that it is only settling if you are unhappy. I love my husband, but even if I didn’t, I would have married him because he is a good person and he makes me happy. I can live with that for the rest of my life. Love or not.

  • FromUR2UB

    I couldn’t do it, because it would require me to fake being in love with him.  Marrying someone with hopes of someday falling in love with them, is probably only going to make that other person miserable during the time you try to muster up affection for them, and deny them the love they deserve.   Love alone, is only enough when you’re a teenager, but it sure helps to love someone when the relationship is challenged and you’re trying to remember why you’re with them. 

    If the story is true, I hope she’ll wait a while longer before she marries him.  At 28, she’s not yet in danger of becoming an old maid, and it would be cruel to set him up for something she can’t fulfill.

  • 4CloverLeaf

    I think so. You can be in love and they can feel the total opposite, so why not? People marry and fall out of love, so why not? Finances change, people change, life changes, so why not?

  • Ms_Sunshine9898

    I rather be alone rather than be in a relationship with someone that I don’t feel the same way about giving them hope that I will feel the same way eventually. that’s just wrong. . . .

  • Lihgg42

    Support our heroes who
    serving our nation. Support our troops that safeguard our safety. A good place
    tailor-made for personnel in unifor:militaryloves*c’o’m.   It brings together those working in
    professions such as the armed forces, police, navy, security, medical,
    ambulance, prison, air crew and fire fighters, for friendship, love, romance,
    marriage and even more.

  • Let’s get it understood. I will gladly die alone, childless, and happy before I settle for the “He may not be’s . . .”

    Love is and will always be a byproduct. Meaning it comes after the common ground and goals that you share with a person, it comes from the ups and downs that a person endures with you, not oh because I’m so used to dealing with crap that I’ll take the first person that is good enough to function with. Holy matrimony is supposed to be forever. I’m not coming together as one with someone who’s barely good enough.

    When you do that it speaks volumes of fear of being alone and fear of being mistreated and valued. Let’s stop being weak and so ready to settle for from what i read in the article amounts to nothing.

    Vermel Kinmon

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  • Mrs.

    What’s missing here is the moral of the story: love is not a feeling! If most women sat back and made a list of everything you MUST have in a mate–this makes looks a “pass” (e.g. he’s ‘doable’) and finances a pass (he has a job, ambition and his credit isn’t HORRIBLE)–most women would realize that list really isn’t THAT long. Communication, friendship, respect, laughter etc… If you find someone who matches YOU, then you should sometimes give up on idealistic dreams. I’m just saying. If you’re 5’1 200lbs and you’re holding out for Idris Elba, you’re probably going to be disappointed…or, if you’re BROKE riding on the bus with a credit score in the 2 digits, you can’t expect to date BIll Gates–they’re not HAVING IT!!! Find someone who fits you and get rid of unrealistic goals/expectations.

  • Demilaw

    This marriage, like many arrange marriages could work out; I believe it’s better than settling to be with someone who makes you miserable and disappointed, which many women do, because they don’t want to be single or “lonely”…if this letter is true I hope she is happy, because someone can be “in love” and unhappy, and in my opinion, that really sucks!!

  • “Love” the way it’s described here can not now – nor will it ever – be sufficient to keep a marriage together. Believing that it will is precisely why marriage is NOT for children – it is a grown folks proposition. Grown folks who’ve got time in know this. You know the ones I’m talking about. They’ve shared drama, trauma, joy, ecstasy and quite literally everything in between. And if you could ask them whether they STAYED together because of how they GOT together  . . . 99% would say ‘no’. Butterflies, chemistry, spark . . . whatever flammability you want to subscribe to it . . . are cyclical. They ebb and flow. They are dynamic. Just because you’ve reached a place in your relationship where your butterflies are taking a nap DOES NOT automatically mean that you’re with the wrong person. What it PROBABLY means is that you’re BEING the WRONG person in the RIGHT relationship. And if you don’t grow up in a hurry, change your focus, and learn a sincere and abiding LOVE and appreciation for the CHARACTER of your partner . . . you’ll end up being yet another buckethead that gave up 80% for 20% . . . and trying to kick your own a** later for being such a brain donor. I’m just sayin’. Eden Sterlington, The Intimacy Officer, signing off.

  • “Being nice” or a “Good guy/woman” are just different ways of saying someone is of strong moral character.  One’s character should be the first criteria met for EVERY relationship we spend time on, be it family friends or romantic pursuits.  

    Often when we don’t love ourselves enough to know we deserve this basic expectation be met we assign more value to it than we should.  That said, I absolutely believe deep unconditional love should be part of any marriage built between two people of strong moral character.  
    All too often that’s not what marriages are made of.

  • RV


  • Sugar_Spice

    I couldn’t do it, security, physical attraction, being cared for, & so forth isn’t enough.  I married my husband because we love each other, are in love with each other, & all of the above.  I feel I wouldn’t be respecting myself if I settled for anything less.

  • Guest

    We must remember that when a man loves God and puts him first, the man will know how to love you. God plays an important role. We have to love God first in order for God to teach us how to love one another, Nothing is impossible when God is involved. He can show them both how to love and appreciate one another, all they need to do is continue to put God first…

    • Live_in_LDN

      Are non Christians incapable of love???


      • Slimmommy

        May I ask, why are you asking her?  Shouldnt you know that for yourself?  Why are you worried about what a woman you will never meet has to say?

        • Live_in_LDN

          Why are any of us, INCLUDING YOU, commenting on this public, online comment section when none of us will never meet each other or the author?

          Why are you making your opinion know on this public, online community when neither of us should be concerned of what ‘a women [we] will never meet has to say?’

          Go back to your glass house, research the term ‘rhetorical question’ and write me a 500 word report.

          • Slimmommy

            You questioned her, but I think you should be able to answer that yourself.

  • Advine3

    Many foreign countries have the practice of selecting their children’s spouses. What is more interesting is the divorce rate for arranged marriages is 90% less than those who supposedly marry for love…
    People also marry for money, business opportunities, looks,etc. The question lies within each beholder, what’s right for your needs to be met? Just a thought—we may have it all wrong?

    • Live_in_LDN

      Those cultures are more focused on collective duty where the concepts of shame and family honour run deep.

      Western cultures are more individualist; we look out for our own interests.

      The low divorce rates in these cultures are not really a question of if they love their spouse or not. They may be miserable for all we know. They are unable to divorce because they would most likey be cast out of their society at the very least, murdered at the worst.

    • Ms_Sunshine9898

      Many of those cultures are male dominated, put heavy emphases on family duty and honor, and find divorce to be a death sentence and a disgrace not only to the family but worthy of being shunned in the community for dare stepping outside of your marriage. . .

  • SB Sass

    Love Smart… It’s so much easier on the heart

  • Orangestar616

    ITA with your POV Charing.

  • Unconventional Intellect

    If I had my way, I’d be in an open marriage of convenience. My professional ambition is quite time-consuming, and I’d be a liar to state that my biggest goal of the day is slaving in the kitchen. I will be traveling the world, and professionally associating with well known and extremely attractive men. I already know the biggest reason why a guy cheats is to assuage is fragile ego. If I’m rarely home, it could only get worse—-unlessssss we have an understanding! The ‘convenient’ element comes into play whereas at least my two children would be granted societal legitimacy (for all it’s worth). I don’t know if I’d opt to sleep with another man, but at least if I felt reeealllly tempted, ‘the understanding’ would absolve any guilt from considering that option. It could work. There are a lot of successful partnerships where these unconventional details make it work so well—-they’re just not telling the judgmental world about it!

    • FromUR2UB

      I really don’t believe it can work.  That’s a cold marriage, and it begs several questions: What’s the point in marrying?  Why would it be more acceptable to date other people within a marriage, than to simply stay single and date a variety of people outside of marriage?  There’s even a tax burden that comes with marriage because you’re required to file jointly. So, other than getting on someone’s health insurance, what’s the advantage to getting married for those who want to live as single people?  Those arrangements don’t sound like they even gaurantee having someone in your bed every night.

      It doesn’t matter who you are; in this life, you don’t get everything you want, the way you want it, or even when you want it.  For everything you get, you have to trade something.  So, for people who marry and continue to date, and then act like they’ve got it all figured out while the rest of the world limps along, it’ll eventually catch up with them.   I think humans are wired to desire a monogamous love, which is why we become jealous when our mates share love with others that we feel should be reserved for us.  I can’t imagine that it would feel better, having them do it blatantly.  Personally, I’ve never felt that kind of jealousy for a man whom I didn’t love or feel an attraction.  So are open / convenience marriages really about loving fully and unconditionally, or withholding love?

      • Pivyque

        Well, I can see your point, but some people do not get jealous. Some people (like swingers) enjoy sharing their spouses. Some even enjoy watching their spouse with someone else. I don’t understand it, but that’s just what they like. Maybe they love that person and want to build a life with them (buy a home, have kids..) but still enjoy those other activities.

    • Pivyque

      That’s true. A lot of people indulge in that lifestyle. I don’t judge, but it is certainly not for me. Maybe I haven’t been married long enough…but I have yet to be attracted to another man since I met my husband.

  • Shanghai

    I dont think love is overrated because when love is present in a relationship then it is great.  I love my husband.  If I didnt love him would I have still married him?  Damn right.  We share the same faith, he is a great father, provider, we love many of the same things, share the same views about the direction of our future, have the same goals, etc.  A great man makes a great partner. I dont know how many times I have seen women put up with CRAP simply because, “I love him.” “What do you love about him?”  “I dont know, I just love him.”  Love is not needed for marriage.  But respect is.  Also I recommend women marry men on their intellectual and financial level.

    • guestter

      Best response on this page. My thoughts exactly. All the things mentioned here are what really matters. So many people, especially in western countries don’t know how to CHOOSE a mate. Love is usually lust. That’s why arranged marriages exist. Not the kind where you force a marriage but the elders parents and close trusted wise ppl of the family help to make suggestions for young ppl. Hell at 22, 25 even most ppl in this country are still very young minded. You don’t know what’s good for you at that age all you know is what LOOKS and feels good. You need help guidance n insight from ppl beyond your years that way you dont have to make tragic mistakes. Nevertheless there is no perfect formula but in my experience these things do help. Funny how the divorce rate has skyrocketed in eastern countries that have adopted the western model of marrying for ‘”love”
      “Love “is being responsible, showing respect, providing, leading, compassion.

  • DeepThinker

    I read this on another
    blog a few weeks ago. This woman needs to put the brakes on before heading
    to the altar with this man. She is marrying this man for her only selfish
    reasons and it is doomed to fail. Shame
    on her mother for saying what she thinks will appease her daughter instead of
    telling her the truth. Mom said (sic) once their marriage has been (sexually), consummated
    it, will trigger her to develop love for him.   What if s-e-x with this man is less than
    satisfying?  Will she cheat? Will she
    justify her cheating with her lack of desire for her husband?  She is taking a gamble at the expense of
    someone else’s “goodness”. This is one of the sneaky ways that broken women get
    one man “pay” for the previous man’s mistakes. She is also hung up on her
    ex-lover and until she addresses those issues, no other man will ever get a
    fair chance with her.  Plus she has a
    problem distinguishing s-e-x from love which is why she got played by the other
    guy.  Girlfriend needs to take this to
    God and sort it out. She better watch her back because this may backfire on her
    when hubby realizes what’s up and gets tired of waiting on her to love him and
    finds someone else who does.  Remember
    Robyn and Michael from Waiting to Exhale? LOL


    • FreeSpeechAintFreeApparentlyMN

      If Folu is telling a journalist what the deal is….surely she’s told her fiance. If he still wishes to Wife It Up, good for him! Are pre-arranged marriages based on love? Hardly. Do they last? Far more often than the unions of [the idiots] in this country! If she’s less than thrilled upon consummation of their union, I’m sure he’ll all but take classes in how to better please her. I can relate to her viewpoint. Honestly, my ‘type’ ain’t no dang good for me (extremely attractive, muscular, extremely flirtatious, Magnum-packin [well endowed], tatted up, intelligent thug). I’m staying away from that cuz I totally know better. I’m holding out for a fella who is academically and professionally accomplished, carribean-linked like me, attractive (enough), and not intimidated by my artistic ambition. Yeah, I’m basically waiting for Santa Claus to come to town for real. But I’m willing to hold out. Folu’s taking an unconventional route, true, but it just might work. Some call it Marrying for Convenience.

  • IllyPhilly

    Yes, been there done that. If there’s a mutual respect its a can do. Love is overrated.

    • YesISaidItCuzIMeantIt

      Well I’m curious Illy. (Presuming you’re a female); was your partner realllly okay with knowing you may be intimate with other people?

      • IllyPhilly

        Yes, the nature of our relationship was just mutual respect. No flaunting other guys/girls, no drama, no stealing. He eventually went on to fall in real “love” with someone who felt the same.

        • Julian Romeroii

          You’re whole original statement was BS!  Why get married if that was the type of relationship you had.  It’s no wonder that marriage has become a joke; or that you feel love is “overrated”.  It’s not overrated.  Only someone that would put themselves in such a situation would feel that way.  It if truly was ‘overrated’, than “he” would still be with you; but no, he found “love” and moved on.  Hardly overrated to me.  

          • IllyPhilly

            Yeah he found “love” and as I’ve said is proven everyday in the media love is overrated. marriage for money is what makes things happen. he left for love, but I got bank. Sorry ya man is broke and spit that love game to you. Ask Kobe wife, you think that’s love? Nah. Keep reading them books and watching them movies.

            • FreeSpeechAintFreeApparentlyMN

              Illy I’m with ya! My most financially prosperous times have been as an emotionally unattached woman free of the encumberance of a committed relationship.  My heart’s been broken so many times it doesn’t even beat the same anymore. (seriously!) Now in my early 30’s as a recording artist, I see that an ambitious woman is a threat to most ‘love-minded’ men. Their insecurities disable them to respect or support our noble aspirations (i.e. Jill Scott, My Hero). And seriously; how many average fellas are gonna be down with the pre-nup and hyphenation of my last name? Little to none. I’m holding out for the next shipment myself. Til then, I will keep alive; my dream of an open relationship. I bet Folu’s gonna be s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t. It’s always safer for a woman to be with a man who’s more ‘in love’ than her.