Partnership for the sake of love is a comfort of a society where even the common people are rich enough to not be dependent on political manouvers to make it in the world with a reasonable degree of certainty(unlike serfdom for example, where you are something akin to a slave for a local lord). It isn't exactly common among humans, if we look at our history. Love is more alive now than ever, simply because we are more free to live it(also for social reasons, see the "man is the head of the marriage" and "a woman's place is in the house" attitudes of much of the last century alone).
Firstly, I hate it when people compare anything to the past, because you're family's past =/= everyone's history. For example my grandpa bought my grandmother.
Secondly, I hate it when people associate marriage with love. My family has a steady record of not getting divorces and separations. Not so much of a record of getting married out of purely love. My parents, willfully married each other, just because 'why not?' True story, decades of marriage, 3 kids, a lovely house, car, business, all because my dad said 'why not?' And meanwhile 'love marriages' are falling a part all around us while my father and mother are amicable to each other. Marriage is essentially making two people a single unit under the eye of government welfare and bringing two families and their resources together. You can love and have sex without getting married. However you are treated under the law differently under marriage.
Thirdly, you forgot to mention back then if you got a divorce people would gossip behind your back. Especially if you're a woman. Because the reason you're divorce is obviously entirely the fault of your vagina or something. In some societies they'd say it would be honourable for a widow who can't find work (because women don't belong outside of the kitchen) to starve to death. There would be no benefit to getting a divorce.
Fourthly, you can love something periodically. You cannot expect if a relationship didn't work that you weren't in true love with someone. My first boyfriend when I was a teenager? Yeah we're not together, we don't talk to each other anymore, we probably wouldn't recognize each other if we passed each other on the streets now. That doesn't change the fact we were in love.
Fifthly, you are discounting perhaps the illusion of Prince Charming. As they said while I was growing up "don't settle for less!" You will never settle down if you keep searching for your perfect Princely 'true love.' Because true love was a marketing term they made up.
Basically love does exists and there's nothing wrong with our generation. Not sure about you personally, but I know I am 100% capable of loving.
Love is the desire to share one's life with something.
If someone loves a food, they want to spend their time eating it. If someone loves an object, they want to spend their time with that object/having that object. If someone loves an action, they want to spend their time doing that action. If someone loves a person, they want to spend their time with that person. If someone helps someone that they don't know, like giving a homeless man on the street a few dollars, they intend to make someone else's life better. According to a thought I happen to agree with (I think by Aristotle) an act intending to good ultimately has the goal of reaching the greatest good, the greatest possible good in the world. Thus, by doing good in the world, like giving money to a homeless man, one attempts to reach the greatest good, and desires to spend their time in a better world without homeless people. That is love for the greater good.
Of course love exists. It's just not and never has been the ultimate driving force in the world. It is still invaluable and still potent, but when compared to other invaluable and potent forces, such as hatred, then it has competition. Hatred is important in the world because it creates conflict. Without conflict, there isn't change. Hatred also provides an opposite, something for us to avoid. It is a driving force in that sense.
So yes, love exists, and as long as anything that is alive exists, so will it.
Back 50 years ago, if you stayed with your partner, even if you hated him/her. Even if she/he was abusive. That's not love. Back a few hundred years ago, if you had any money, It was about bettering your social ranking. That's not love. Back even further, marriage was literally a transaction. Basically, one person, usually the woman, was literally being sold. That's not love.
I'm going to copy and paste content here since it's unreadable. --------- I used to believe in love. I really, really did. I believed it was the most powerful force in the human world. I still believe in the enduring love of family, as well as the love of friends that comes from mutual support, respect, and enjoying one another’s presence. It is the love within a monogamous couple that I have become cynical about.
I grew up in a family full of many strong marriages that began when the couple was quite young and never faltered throughout multiple decades. Whenever I have had doubts for whatever reason in the possibility of everlasting love between two people, I remembered them, and knew that even if my most recently failed relationship clearly wasn’t the right one, I would eventually find one that would be. But I’ve started to think that it might not be that simple. I might not be able to look at my grandparents as proof that me and some wonderful guy can do it. Things were very different in the 50′s as they are now, in 2013.
I think it has to do with the way we were raised. Not the way we were raised by each of our parents respectively, but how we were raised by society as a whole generation. For as long as we can remember we have been bombarded with new technology. We are convinced that no matter how well our current possession works, we MUST have the new and updated version, even if there’s barely even a difference. We throw away things that would still be perfectly functional and satisfactory for a long time, just because there is something better out there, or so “they” say. You may think that this is a nonsensical comparison, because of course people can distinguish the difference between a lover and an iPhone, right? I’m not so sure of this. It may be harder to picture it if you are reading this having grown up in a previous generation, but I am strongly aware within my peers of an almost innate attitude that everything is disposable. Technology is such a deeply rooted part of us and everything we do, and it is so constantly changing, that we do not know how to settle down, be stable, and enjoy what we’ve already got. Nothing is ever good enough, and we are ever searching for and awaiting the next upgrade. This kind of dissatisfaction with what we call “ours” may spread into other aspects of our lives more easily than you can see. --------