In 2002, the then-editor of Psychology Today, Robert Epstein, PhD, shared a bold, daring experiment he was in the midst of undertaking: finding a stranger to write a book with, called, "The Love You Make: How We Learned To Love Each Other, and How You Can Too." The pair would create a love contract, complete with a commitment to date no one else, undergo intensive counseling, and read a tremendous amount about love, dating and relationships, with a focus on arranged marriages and those that actually create love.
I've searched everywhere for the book or some mention of the results and discovered there's now a TV show in the works instead. Regardless, one quote from the aforementioned editorial gave me pause:
"In 1998, some friends of David Weinlick, a graduate student in Minnesota, set out to find him a wife. An advertising campaign generated 25 applications, and then a party was held where he interacted with the five finalists. His friends selected the winner, and the unlikely pair was married on the spot. Ridiculous, yes? Funny thing is, they're still married and doing fine, and their second child is due in November."
As a single woman, I have to admit these kinds of stories get me sitting up and taking notice, and not just at the adventurousness of the participants. Is romantic love, the lifelong kind, the one that helps us stay together through thick and thin, a learned skill - and can any of us use this kind of "ridiculous" data to better our own relationships? What do you think? Would you participate in this kind of research or experiment if it helped you find love, or at the very least, "taught" you how to love?
Reference: Editor as Guinea Pig - Putting Love To the Real Test by Robert Epstein, Psychology Today, June 2002.