Erich Fromm spends the majority of his essay, "Is Love Art," discussing the different concepts and aspects associated with romantic love. He considers how the notion of love has changed as society has evolved. When comparing the romantic love of today with the traditional convention of arranged marriages, it is difficult to consider this love. Fromm states that love was "not spontaneous personal experience" (932) but was "supposed to develop once the marriage had been concluded" (932). Fromm admits that in our society, this idea of love is nothing short of laughable. In fact, when we consider this type of arrangement, love is perhaps one of the last things we would attempt to define this circumstance. While Fromm might be right in his assumption that love might develop between two people that find themselves in such a situation, it hardly seems correct or fair to call this arrangement love at the onset. Instead, this type of relationship would be better defined as an "arrangement." The idea of entering into a marriage with the hopes that love may or may not occur seems a bit drastic for our culture. Love generally operates in the other way, prompting individuals that are afraid of commitment to rush into relationships because they are in "love." An arranged marriage is merely a contract that does not need love to exist but love certainly makes it easier.
One form of love that Fromm touches upon is romantic love, which can definitely be categorized as love and it is perhaps the most complicated form of love, as Fromm elaborates. He is correct when he maintains that love is an art and a "process of learning" (934). This applies to all forms of love, including love between family and friends. We often associate the failure of love with romantic love because of he "break up." We do not generally break up with family or friends but rather learn to work around things if we feel the relationship is worth saving. This concept does not work with romantic love, primarily because of romantic feelings. Perhaps with romantic love, we move toward the break up too quickly. To overcome this failure of love that leads to a break up, we do need to study the meaning of love because it is much more than a feeling. In regard to romantic love, when I consider marriage, I know that while love is necessary it is not sufficient and this is where we would do well to study what love means. We know that love is a necessary ingredient for marriage but it is not the only one. To experience the best relationship, we do need to consider what else a marriage needs in order for love to thrive. For example, respect, honesty, trust, humor, value, and patience are just a few of the other ingredients that make a marriage work. Love might be something that we do fall into but from is correct in his estimation that that is the easy part. The difficulty arises when we find ourselves in a long-term relationship past the newness and the excitement. This is where Fromm's theory comes into play. Romantic love is complicated and the sooner we begin treating it like something other than a fairy tale, the more likely we are to have a strong relationship.
Fromm also states that in order for one to become a master at an art, one must believe that there is nothing more important than that particular art. Because most individuals do not treat love as an art, they fail to see how important it is to learn everything there is to know about it in theory and in practice. Love fails because "people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures; in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love" (934). This is true in so many cases. I would add that people do not expect love to be difficult when it is. Simply because of the fact that we change and because life itself changes should be enough for us to be prepared to face these changes as challenges. When we do not and fail to tackle problematic areas together, we fall into trouble. Love is a great…