close Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn
3 mins

Is Love Supposed To Last A Lifetime?

Are we truly supposed to spend our adult lives in monogamous relationships? Or is traditional marriage an outdated institution no longer fit for purpose?
by Michael Benninger | Aug 16 2017

Apps have revolutionized dating, divorce rates are rising, and society is becoming increasingly comfortable with a more open definition of successful relationships. How we meet potential partners is evolving, but we still fall prey to the same problems that have plagued marriages for centuries. If maintaining relationships is so difficult, are we really meant to get married and start families or would an alternative approach to relationships make more sense?

Let’s take a look at two alternate approaches to love and ask ourselves, is love really supposed to last a lifetime?

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

By Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá

Authored by a husband and wife who believe monogamy is fundamentally incompatible with human nature, this book argues in favor of our innate promiscuity and details the disastrous effects committed relationships can have upon our health.

Here’s a glimpse of the evidence cited by the authors in support of their case.

Early humans evolved in small, hyper-sexual tribes that thrived thanks to casual sex and shared child-care responsibilities. Casual sex strengthened bonds within these groups, improving everyone’s chance of survival. And with no known way of identifying the father of any given child, every male was inclined to care and provide for every child.

Despite its benefits, the widespread adoption of agriculture led many early cultures to promote monogamy and diminish the role of sexual desire. The cultivation of plants and domestication of animals led to sedentary lifestyles and fostered possessiveness. This, in turn, resulted in greater importance placed on family and fatherhood.

By studying our primate relatives, we can more deeply understand our own behaviors. Like early hunter-gatherers, bonobos and chimps live in small, complex communities that grow stronger through casual copulation. Both species experience orgasms and pleasure from oral sex, and females have sex with several males in rapid succession.

The anatomy of male genitalia proves that humans evolved in competitive mating environments. Relative to overall body size, the human penis is largest among all other primates. This isn’t mere happenstance; such features evolved out of man’s need to compete with the sperm of several other men mating with the same women.

Modern women still exhibit behavior suggesting their ancestors had intercourse with many males in quick succession. Some women are loud during sex because such noises once served as invitations for other males to swing by and try their luck. Many animals, including our closest relative, the bonobo, exhibit similar vocalizations.

Our ancestors evolved to have sex with anyone they liked, and we continue to be biologically programmed to seek out several partners. Reconciling our evolutionary nature with society’s ideals is a lost cause, and an open attitude similar to that of our ancestors is a far better bet.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

By Gary Chapman

At the other end of the spectrum, this book claims that lifelong love is the optimal achievement when it comes to intimacy, and that even though relationships can be tough at times, overcoming obstacles is easy if you and your partner speak each other’s love language.

Here’s a quick look at this book’s takeaways regarding the role of love in intimate relationships.

To foster a lasting commitment, take time to check your love tank. All humans need love, and similar to how a car can’t operate without gas, we can’t function without affection. We won’t get anywhere running on fumes, but by ensuring your love tank is full, a healthy, lasting relationship can be a reality.

When the joy of falling in love inevitably fades, count on communication to see you through. The beginning phase of being in love tends to cloud our judgment, but as the euphoria of infatuation wanes, becoming fluent in your partner’s love language can exponentially extend the life of your relationship.

Real love means deciding to adopt a different attitude. Each of us expresses and perceives love in different ways, which might not always come naturally to us. But by using different words and actions to embrace the expectations of your partner, you’ll be able to communicate expectations about your commitment more quickly.

Misunderstandings often occur due to the mistranslation of your partner’s love language. Arguments occur from time to time in every relationship, as it’s rare for both people in a couple to speak the same love language. But through proper identification of your strengths and needs, the two of you can always be on the same page.

Pinpoint your primary love language, then identify which one your partner speaks. Start by defining your most frequent request of your partner and what aspects of their behavior have caused you pain. The sooner you both begin speaking each other’s language, the longer your relationship will last.

The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. By finding out which languages you and your partner speak, your relationship will have a far greater chance of standing the test of time.

Take a deeper dive into both of these books with the Blinkist app today. Then join our Facebook Group and chime in with your thoughts as to which approach to intimacy makes more sense for the modern world.

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Instagram LinkedIn Flickr Email Print