Swanny River asks in response to Blinded by Chivalry:
Can someone explain to me what is meant by a marriage depending upon the free will of the married means? Is an arranged marriage an example of people without free will? Women freely divorce and commit adultery by marrying another, so how is that different than a theory of adultery?
I assume Swanny is referring to the following quote from CS Lewis:
As I have said before, where marriage does not depend upon the free will of the married, any theory which takes love for a noble form of experience must be a theory of adultery.
What Lewis is saying is that when we elevate romantic love to something moral, then marriage can no longer be moral. At that point marriage must bend to romantic love, not the other way around. This is you will notice our current view. It isn’t just about arranged marriage. If a woman marries someone she doesn’t love because she wants something else out of the transaction (power, money, etc), then she must be allowed to exit the marriage at will. And if she marries for love but later falls out of love, she must be allowed to exit the marriage at will. If marriage is seen as something moral, a real, binding commitment, then in order to glorify romantic love you have to glorify adultery. Chivalry and courtly love are the antithesis of biblical marriage. You can’t get around this by trying to bring chivalry/courtly love into marriage, because the logic remains the same. Either marriage has moral meaning, or romantic love has moral meaning; both cannot be the case.
When the puritans incorporated chivalry into marriage they killed biblical marriage. Even Milton understood this, which is why he argued that when the feelings of romantic love were gone a marriage could no longer exist.