Marry for Love

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"If I do marry, I want it to be for love."
Princess Jasmine, Aladdin

Not for money, power, political alliance, social standing, compatibility, looks, children.... but because s/he is attracted to the person, feels a bond with the other and wants to be with him or her for as long as possible. Of course those things might end up being part of the package anyway.

Marry For Love comes in when a character in a work declares that they are not going to enter matrimony unless they have chosen and love the other person first. To them, there's no point in entering a life long relationship unless they can actually stand their spouse. This epiphany may occur when the option of an Arranged Marriage is brought up or simply the fact that the character in question is still single. They may or may not have already found their betrothed at this point in the story.

Usually associated with female characters, but happens plenty of times with males.

This may result in a Runaway Fiance, when the character runs away to get out of marriage.

Compare with the Rebellious Princess, an (almost) Always Female character who runs off with someone whom her parents have deemed unworthy. Also compare the Perfectly Arranged Marriage where loves comes after the engagement similar to Rule-Abiding Rebel.

Examples of Marry for Love include:



  • Every Jane Austen heroine:
    • The titular Emma states that she will only marry for love.
    • Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice says she won't marry anyone unless it's for love. This causes her to turn down two marriage proposals, one from a well-off pastor and one from a filthy rich gentleman. She eventually marries the rich guy anyway, out of genuine love.
    • The Dashwood sisters of Sense and Sensibility make it clear they will only marry for love, but this trope actually most concerns Elinor's intended Edward, who has to face his mother's wrath for refusing an Arranged Marriage to a woman he's never even met.
    • Catherine Moreland of Northanger Abbey makes it clear she has no intention of marrying John Thorpe before he can propose; she's already falling in love with Henry Tilney.
    • Anne Elliot of Persuasion realizes she can't even entertain the thought of marrying her rich cousin because she is in love with Captain Wentworth, and as far as she is concerned, whether they ever marry or not, she is forever separated from other men.
    • Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, in her first major act of independence and defiance, refuses to marry the despicable Henry Crawford because she does not love him and knows his True Colors. Interestingly, Austen's use of this trope should Joss the theory that Romantic False Lead Mary Crawford is the more Typical Jane Austen Heroine, as Mary falls in love with Edmund but refuses to marry him unless he's richer [1]
  • In Deltora Quest, Lief states that "when the time comes, [he] will follow Adin's example and marry for love."
  • In Bread Givers, Sara declares that she will do this after she sees her father marry off her sisters to wealthy men who were cads and in at least one case, lied about his wealth.
  • In a book from The Royal Diaries, Isabella I of Castile went behind her brother's back to marry the young, handsome, kind and intelligent heir of Aragon after he stole her heart.
  • In Cursor's Fury of the Codex Alera, Lord Placida gives this as his reasoning for complying with the villain's ransom demands when the villain reveals he kidnapped Placida's wife. This leads him to immediately get his armies into fighting position, on the logic that either his wife will be freed soon by the First Lord's agents, or killed, and in either case there would be nothing holding him back from kicking the guy's arse up between his ears.
  • Harshly deconstructed in A Song of Ice and Fire. Robb Stark breaks off a politically important Arranged Marriage when he falls for the Florence Nightingale Effect after he's wounded in battle. He hastily arranges for his uncle to marry his fiancee in his place in an effort to uphold the alliance, but at the wedding feast he, his mother and many of his high command are murdered by their hosts, who took the snub as an excuse to change allegiance.
  • An issue in the film and miniseries of The Feast Of All Saints. The patriarchs/matriarchs of both the wealthy white families and the Colored gentry insist on marriages/relationships based on status and wealth, not love. This leads to loveless marriages, cold and distant wives, and white men participating in placage as an escape.
  • Most, of Georgette Heyer's heroines will only marry for love. But even those who don't find a happily ever after somehow.

Live Action Television

  • Prince Arthur from Merlin defies his father and breaks off an Arranged Marriage due to the importance he places of marrying for love, stating that: "I'll be a much better king for the strength and support of a woman I love."
  • The Beauty and The Beast episode of Faerie Tale Theatre has Beauty telling her suitor that when she does marry it will be out of love, not need.


  • In Fiddler on the Roof the daughters want to marry the men of their choice: a poor tailor, a revolutionary, and worst of all, a gentile rather than have Yenta the matchmaker choose.
  • The musical Call Me Madam had the song "Marrying For Love." In it the Silver Fox describes how arranged marriages have been unhappy in his aristocratic family. He won't make the same mistake they did, even if he's getting up there in years.
  • In Cole Porter's Musical The Pirate, Serafin tells Manuela (who has been engaged to the Mayor of her tiny Caribbean village in an arranged marriage), "In England and America, they have a different custom. There the women marry for love," to which Manuela replies, "I know. That's a very stupid custom."
  • In the Cinderella movie musical The Slipper and The Rose, Prince Edward objects to having to choose from an array of loathsome princesses for a political match, and wishes he could Marry for Love.
    • In the unabridged version, the king and queen answer him with the song "What Has Love Got to Do With Getting Married?"
    • With the song "Position and Positioning", the Edward's valet and friend John explains that all people are limited to marrying within their own social stratum, and so lack freedom to Marry for Love. After hearing this, the prince knights John, granting him the status he needs to marry the noblewoman he loves.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

Web Original

  • Persephone did this with Hades in Thalia's Musings, in spite of being sought after by most of Zeus' sons.
    • Aphrodite resents not being given this option and feels trapped in her Arranged Marriage to Hephaestus.

Western Animation

  • Princess Jasmine in Disney's Aladdin, quoted above.
    • Heck, this trope is pretty much what Disney is famous for.
  • Don Bluth's Thumbelina.
    • Which is a bit of a Broken Aesop as she barely knew Cornelius.
  • Fox on Gargoyles. Xanatos, the richest (and probably most handsome) man in the world asks her to marry him, and her response is, "What about... love?" He responds with a fairly clinical evaluation of their mutual compatibility. Although she does end up marrying him, and they seem pretty happy with it.
    • Well, he said he loved her. He just admitted that he's not very good at it.
  1. (by abandoning his dream of being a clergyman for some better profession, or by his brother dying and passing on his inheritance, she doesn't care), but then, when has Draco in Leather Pants ever made sense?