Do you want the love of someone who’s motivated by duty? You absolutely do.
Before I tell you why you do, let’s talk about why is this even a question. It’s a question because American culture elevates personal feelings and self-interest over sacrifice.
A champion of this thought was 20th-century atheist writer and philosopher, Ayn Rand. The concept of duty gave her philosophical hives. She proclaimed man’s first duty was to self; more than that, it was his moral obligation to do what he wished. She railed against duty toward others as enslavement and a destroyer of reason, values, love, and self-esteem. She questioned: “Who could want to be loved not from “inclination,” but from “duty”?
Rand has been dead since 1982, but her words reverberate in our society. Women still declare disdain for love motivated by duty or obligation. And I wonder, “Since when?”
Certainly, every child expects her parents to nurture and provide for her regardless of their inclination to do so. If a parent wants to pursue an independent interest, needs a vacation, or is sick – too bad. A child (and the law) expects them to fulfill their parental obligations. And their sacrificial love, setting aside their own desires for the sake of their child’s welfare, is not tainted by the element of duty. Selflessness is the proof of love.
This doesn’t change because we age and the context becomes spousal love. If the only evidence of your partner’s love is assurances and expressed emotions, then all you have is reverie. Talk is cheap and feelings change.
The truth is, we’re all unlovable at times. We’re selfish. We’re petty. And we’re flatulent. We want the love of a man in spite of their own temporary aversion to us. We gain weight. Or we get hormonal. We get wrinkles. We want the love a man who resists the prettier, sweeter, younger colleague because they made a vow to us. And we get depressed. We get fired. Or we get cancer. We want the love of a man who stays when everything in him wants to run.Love comprised of pure inclination is like a fork comprised of pure gold. They're both too soft. Click To TweetLove comprised of pure inclination is like a fork comprised of pure gold. They’re both too soft to hold up under the stresses of daily use. You absolutely want the love of a man motivated by duty.
It’s not one or the other
That’s not the same as saying you want the love of a man motivated only by duty. Of course you want to inspire passion and feeling in his heart. But you don’t have to look any farther than the fragility of your own inclinations toward him to know passion and feelings aren’t reliable indicators of devoted love. You’re only one, big, garlic, belch away from total repulsion. Passion and feelings are notoriously fickle and, gutted of substantial commitment, a poor foundation to set your hopes upon. Duty is the virtue that fortifies passions and makes love last.
A woman who says she wants to be loved without the motivation of duty hasn’t thought it through. Sadly, many women had to think it through because their man operated under Rand’s philosophy and did what they wanted. They preferred to go hunting than go to work. They preferred porn to intimacy. Or they preferred to drink than to come home. Their broken sense of duty has broken their wife’s heart.
Speaking of broken hearts…the married Ayn Rand followed her inclinations and took an acolyte lover 25 years her junior. After a few years, this man followed his inclination to take another, younger lover and kept it a secret from Rand for years. When she found out, Rand blew a gasket. She made public, vindictive accusations and disassociated from him. Seems, when it came down to it, Rand believed love was proved by more than passions. And duty is a universal virtue after all.