Commitment is a powerful thing. The moment we make a commitment—whether it is to another person, an institution, an ideology, or something else—our lives become reoriented. While many people, from the Ancient world through to the present, have spoken eloquently about dedicating oneself to a principle or a truth, doing so doesn’t bring the same experience as dedicating oneself to a person. One does not interact with the truth the same way they interact with a person. There is a feeling of nakedness and immediacy that accompanies a commitment to another person. While one works to bring a truth into being or to disseminate it to others, one doesn’t work to bring one’s partner into being in the same way. Rather, both parties work to bring a fulfilling relationship into being.
As many a married couple could attest, one of the hardest part of marriage isn’t making the commitment. It isn’t necessarily even keeping the commitment. It’s the building of the commitment in the midst of so many other aspects of one’s life. Marriage is a dynamic entity, requiring revitalization and adaptation to the fluctuating contexts it finds itself in. This is one reason why theorizing marriage in relationship to law, culture, history, habit, geography, and many other factors is important; it helps us prepare for the potential events that may disrupt our commitments to another. Given the value of this task, here are some papers that attempt to do just that.
- Thomas Mertens, “Sexual Desire and the Importance of Marriage in Kant’s Philosophy of Law,” Ratio Juris, September 2014.
- Mark Peper, “Adultery, Open Marriage, and Autonomy,” International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Fall 2016.
- Anika Maaza Simpson, “Black Philosophy and the Erotic,” Black Scholar, Winter 2013.
- Jeffry Ramsey and Olivia O’Connor, “Hume and Same-Sex Marriage,” Journal of Social Philosophy, June 2017.
- John Finnis, “Marriage: A Basic and Exigent Good,” Monist, July/October 2008.
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