The Golden Age of Love Marriage in Western Societies

Love marriage appears to be a valuable cultural value in many countries throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as many other modernized societies around the world. However, it was not always true in history. In the 20th century, industrialization, urbanization, increased social mobility, and social and cultural modernization brought the hope that love would finally conquer marriage.

When Was Love Marriage’s Golden Age? 

It turns out that the decade of the 1950s, which began in 1947 in the United States and lasted until the early 1960s there and until the late 1960s in Western Europe, was a truly remarkable time for marriage. Romantic love transformed marriage in the 20th century. Love finally conquered marriage. Romantic love and sexual fulfillment became the realities of premarital and marital relationships. In the Western world, marriage entered its heyday during this time period.

In that decade, there was a surge of support for the view that a happy marriage should be one in which each spouse feels they have received their fair share of sexual satisfaction, emotional closeness, and the opportunity to realize their full potential. The majority of people believed that they would not only find the greatest happiness in marriage but also the greatest meaning in their lives. Marriage had become nearly universal by the 1960s in many western European countries and North America (see for review, Karandashev, 2017).

What Was Good About the Golden Age of Marriage?

During that period, about 95% of all men and women strived to marry and married younger. During the 1950s, the norm of young marriage was so prevalent that an unmarried woman as young as twenty-one might be concerned about becoming an “old maid.” Many men and women relished the opportunity of courting and dating the partners of their own choice. They enjoyed marrying at their leisure and establishing their own households. The life span increased, married people felt happy, and divorce rates held steady. Married couples felt independent of their extended family ties. They enjoyed the freedom of their marital relationships (Coontz 2005, pp. 226–228).

By the 1960s, it looked like marriage had found the perfect balance between the personal freedom of a love match and the limitations needed for social stability.

Would the Golden Age of Marriage Spread Throughout the World?

Many social scientists thought that as industrialization spread around the world, love-based marriage and the male breadwinner family would replace the many other marriage and family systems in collectivistic societies. They predicted that love marriages would prevail over the consanguinity and arranged marriages widespread across many societies in traditional cultures.

For example, American sociologist William Goode (1917–2003), an expert on family life and divorce, conducted cross-cultural analyses of marriage and divorce across many societies. He examined family data from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, and Japan available at the time.

Based on his analysis, Goode revealed that the above-mentioned cultural evolution of conjugal family systems and the “love patterns” in mate selection were evident in all of these world regions and societies. In his pioneering and seminal book “World Revolution and Family Patterns” (1963), he presented these results and conclusions in an explicit and direct way.

People across cultures prioritized their material and psychological investments in the nuclear family as well as their emotional needs. They believed that each spouse could legitimately expect to rely on the other, prioritize their relationship, and put their loyalty to their partner ahead of their responsibilities to their parents.

The Love Marriage Ideology 

According to William Goode (1959), the ideology of love-based marriage declares the individual’s right to choose his or her own spouse. This cultural ideology also emphasized the value of the individual over inherited wealth and ethnic group. Goode provided statistics and other data to show that love marriages were gaining popularity around the world at the time.

Many social scientists agreed with Goode and supported this conclusion. They believed that in Western societies, love marriage and the nuclear family increased their popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. They thought that the cultural evolution of marriage had prevailed in Europe and North America and had reached its culmination.

Their scientific prediction was that the rest of the world’s cultures would soon follow this marriage pattern that will soon be prevalent across many societies. This way of thinking about relationships was very appealing to young and educated people, especially women (see for review, Karandashev, 2017).

The Need to Belong: Individual and Cultural Perspectives

The “need to belong” is, at its core, a desire to feel loved and accepted. And all men and women have such needs and strive to fulfill them in their relationships with caregivers. Infants, from the early days of their lives, experience this kind of need as attachment.

Everyone has “the love need,” which is the need to belong to a group of significant others (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Maslow, 1943). In the same way, we can define love as the physical and emotional connection that a person feels for other people (Pinkus, 2020). Affiliative love and the need to belong can be fulfilled in various kinds of in-group relationships.

When the Basic Need to Belong Meets the Feelings of Attachment

Humans as a species are “social animals.” They are dependent on each other. Their need for interpersonal bonding implies the basic need to belong and be attached to others, which is significant for their physical, social, and psychological survival.

Infants and small children are dependent on adults as caregivers for care, support, and protection. In the early years, a child feels the need to belong to and be cared for by caregivers. This can be a group of caregivers, as in the case of tribal or kin community bonding. This can be one or two caregivers, as in a case of pair-bonding.

In various aspects of their lives, children experience attachments to their caregivers. They need to be close to significant others to feel physically and emotionally secure. These feelings fulfill their need to belong to the caregiver or a group of caregivers who protect them and deliver them an experience of psychological safety and comfort, like being in a “safe haven.” (Ainsworth, 1989; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1988/2008; Harlow & Zimmerman, 1959; see for review Karandashev, 2022).

Culturally different ways of socialization and childrearing practices in different societies can use ethnically specific strategies and methods to fulfill children’s needs to belong. These approaches vary in tribal communities, extended families, and nuclear families and may include multiple caregiving practices. These varieties of relationship systems incorporate culturally different models of attachment (Karandashev, 2022; Keller, 2013; Keller, 2018).

In any case, children feel secure when their need to belong is met and insecure when it is not. In later years, the need to belong to the “safe haven” of one or several caregivers transforms into the need to belong to a peer or a group of peers.

How Individuals Feel the Need to Belong

The need for bonding and the need to belong are among the most basic human motivations. However, individuals vary in the degree of these needs. Some individuals have a stronger desire to belong to a group, while others have a weaker desire to belong.

On the one hand, would you agree that…?

  • You need to feel that there are people you can turn to in times of need.
  • You want other people to accept you.
  • You do not like being alone.
  • You have a strong “need to belong.”
  • Your feelings are easily hurt when you feel that others do not accept you. 
  • You try hard not to do things that will make other people avoid or reject you.
  • It bothers you a great deal when you are not included in other people’s plans.

If you agree with most of these statements, you probably have a strong “need to belong” to the circle of another person or others.

If you strongly disagree with these statements, you probably have a low “need to belong” to the circle of another person or others.

On the other hand, would you agree that…?

  • You seldom worry about whether other people care about you.
  • Being apart from your friends for long periods of time does not bother you.
  • If other people don’t seem to accept you‚ you don’t let it bother you.

If you mostly disagree with these statements, you most likely have a strong “need to belong” to the circle of another person or others.

If you agree with the majority of these statements, you probably have a low “need to belong” to the circle of another or others.

Answering these questions gives an idea of how strong or weak your need is to belong to a group of others, even one.

You can find the full scale to assess the need to belong at

See also the references in Baumeister and Leary (1995).

A Cultural Need to Belong

Regardless of our individual differences and interests, the cultural norms of our society encourage us to feel that the need to belong is important or less important in our daily lives. The cultural value of the need to belong is high in interdependent collectivistic cultures, like in Eastern societies, while it is lower in independent individualistic cultures, like in Western societies (Karandashev, 2021; 2022).

In other words, when compared to people living in modern Western individualistic societies (like north-western European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), people living in traditional collectivistic societies (like Japan, China, and other eastern-Asian countries) have a tendency to feel a greater need to belong in their communities. The values held by Eastern-Asian collectivistic societies encourage a sense of belonging, connections, and kinship among members of the community (Karandashev, 2021, 2022).

Therefore, societies teach individuals to belong or not belong according to their cultural values, despite people’s individual differences. Societies don’t like diversity, while individuals do.

The Cultural Evolution of Human Bonding

Animal species’ need for positive social connections and bonding has deep evolutionary roots. According to scientific evidence, many animals, including birds, dogs, cats, and primates, exhibit social emotions, behaviors, and a need for bonding and love. They are capable of loving and need the love of others.

Humans have evolved into one of nature’s most social species, though sociability varies between individuals. People’s feelings of love for one another have evolved into more complex forms of bonding.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the origins of the need for love and attachment are the needs for bonding and belonging. We may therefore assume that love and the need for love are widespread among animals and humans, with species and individual differences (Karandashev, 2022).

Human bonding and love have evolved over time, both biologically and culturally. Researchers have traced their evolutionary roots all the way back to the beginnings of biological evolution and human domestication, as well as the history of cultural evolution (Karandashev, 2022, chapter 3).

The Evolution of the Need to Belong to an In-Group

Humans developed motivation for positive social connection with others early in their cultural evolution. Their need for human bonding and love evolved. Due to biological and cultural evolution, humans are the most “social animals” among various animal species. People have survived by working together, assisting, and supporting one another, their families, and their tribe.

Early tribal societies required cooperation and coordination, which inspired the development of bonding, attachment, and love. The main driver of emotional attraction and attachment between people that consolidated their relationships was “love,” understood broadly as “bonding.”

The distinction between “ingroup” and “outgroup” provided the evolutionary basis for the need for community bonding and kinship love. People were able to differentiate between those they identified as members of their “ingroup” and those they identified as members of their “outgroup.”

Since then, their need to belong to the “ingroup” and to love the members of the “ingroup”—kin, family, and significant others—became their intrinsic human motivation. The feeling that they belonged to an “ingroup” provided them with security, sustenance, and psychological ties with significant others.

Early Community Bonding and Dutiful Love

Cultural evolution began with tribal and community love. This kind of love fitted the ecological, economic, and social conditions of those ancient times. Tribal community-based societies had united, collaborative, supportive, and responsible social relationships. The “need to belong” and “community love” bonded individuals within a group—the tribal community, kin, and extended family.

This dutiful love suited people’s interdependent lifestyles in those ecological and social conditions perfectly. Men and women experienced this “collective love” as community responsibility. People in a tribe worked cooperatively, supported and protected each other, and raised their offspring. An extended family and tribal community rather than parents raised their children together. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” was a community-bonding reality.

Cultural Evolution and Varieties of Relationship Systems

Human societies, like social animal groups, have a wide range of mating and social bonding relationship systems. There are varieties of multi-male and multi-female social groups. In these types of societal organizations, groups comprise several adult males and/or several adult females, as well as their offspring.

These types of sociality, for example, are common in many nonhuman primates. The relationship systems of primates vary greatly in their community and family organization. In such multi-male, multi-female societies, many male and female individuals form large social groups. They practice polygamous relationships, in which both females and males can mate with multiple members of the opposite sex.

Many of our human ancestors also had multi-male and multi-female social organizations of this kind. However, different from their ape ancestors and other species, human relationship organization and mating systems have evolved further (Chapais, 2011; de Waal & Gavrilets, 2013; Flinn, Geary, & Ward, 2005).

Human evolution developed a different relationship system that emphasized long-term pair-bonding mating and extended and nuclear families. Since then, people in many traditional collectivistic societies live in extended or nuclear families and reproduce offspring with substantial parental investment. Evolutionary forces have made it advantageous for humans. The “need to belong” to a tribal community transformed into the need to belong to an extended or nuclear family. Long-term pair bonding has evolved and become a widespread cultural form of relationship systems in many societies around the world. (Geary & Flinn, 2001; Hill et al., 2011; Rooker & Gavrilets, 2016).

Evolution of Pair-Bonding

Later in human social evolution, in addition to social bonding, the relationship system of pair bonding and attachment evolved as the evolutionary mechanism of bonding. Human societies’ extended family structures began to give way to nuclear family structures.

In the process of natural selection, the human “attachment behavioral system” evolved over time as a motivational system “designed” to regulate proximity to an attachment figure. The attachment behavioral system gradually became more favorable to pair-bonding attachment (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980). 

The Evolutionary Early Forms of Human Bonding

The need for positive social connections and bonding has deep evolutionary roots among animal species. There is strong evidence that many animals, such as birds, dogs, cats, and primates, are social in their emotions and behavior. And they love and need the love of others.

Humans have become one of the most social species in nature, even though sociability varies between individuals. People’s love for each other evolved into more complex forms of bonding (Karandashev, 2022).

According to multiple studies, the need for bonding and the need to belong have been at the origin of the need for love and attachment (Karandashev, 2022). So, we may assume that love and the need for love are widely present among many animals and humans, with variation between species and individuals.

Human bonding and love have undergone a long course of biological and cultural evolution. Researchers have traced their evolutionary roots back to the early times of biological evolution and human domestication as well as to the history of cultural evolution (Karandashev, 2022, chapter 3).

The Evolutionary Need for Positive Social Connection and Human Bonding

Biological and cultural evolution has made humans the most “social animals” among various animal species. People have survived by cooperating, assisting, and supporting one another, their family, and their tribe. Humans outperformed all other species in their capability to survive and thrive.

The early need for tribal coordination and cooperation triggered the evolution of bonding, attachment, and love. “Love,” in a broad sense of “bonding,” became the primary factor of emotional attraction and attachment between people that strengthened their relationships.

The evolutionary distinction between “ingroup” and “outgroup” provided the evolutionary foundation for the need for bonding and love. People distinguished those who they identified as part of their “ingroup” from those who they identified as part of the “outgroup.” And their need to belong to the “ingroup” and love the members of the “ingroup”—kin, family, significant others—became the motivation intrinsic to their human nature. Belonging to an “ingroup” provided them with security, subsistence, and psychological attachment to others who were essential to their survival.

The Early Cultural Evolution of Community Bonding

Tribal and community bonding were the earliest forms of love in the history of cultural evolution. This type of love fits well with the ecological, economic, and social conditions of the societies in which people lived in those times.

Men and women in tribal community-based societies were united, collaborative, supportive, and responsible for each other. This “community love” was the love within a tribe, kin, or other group of related people. Later, this form of love transformed into an apparent “ingroup” favoritism toward those belonging to our “ingroup.”

 That dutiful love worked well for the interdependent way of life in those ecological and social conditions. Men and women felt this collective love primarily in the form of responsibility for the community. Many tribal members were involved in serving, supporting, and assisting one another in their labor of protection, subsistence, and child rearing. The kin, extended family, and community felt responsible for the nursing and parenting of children. The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” was a reality of community bonding.

Later in cultural evolution, religious teachings, such as Christian and Buddhist ideologies, continued to support “love for all and everyone” as a high value.

Evolution of Kinship Bonding and Love

Kinship bonding and family love evolved later in human history. Emotional attraction and attachment between kin and members of extended families became common in collectivist societies of the traditional type.

People have lived in tribal communities of extended families in many traditional collectivistic societies for centuries. Kinship love meant the priority of family interest, favoritism, and support among kin and extended family (de Munck, 2019; de Munck, Korotayev, & McGreevey, 2016).

This kind of bonding provided the resources for physical and social security, wealth, and the care of everyone in the family. This type of dutiful and responsible love supplied food, shelter, safety, and other accommodations and resources. Consequently, kin bonding, family attachment, and “filial love” emotionally supported this collectivistic way of life concordant with the economic and social conditions of their lives (Karandashev, 2022, Ch. 3 and 7).

The Biological Evolution of Human Bonding and Love

The basic human need for positive social connections that have evolutionary and social roots is the foundation of love relationships. These origins can be traced all the way back to the beginning of recorded history. (Karandashev, 2022, chapter 3).

The evolutionary need for bonding and love derived from the early evolutionary distinction between “ingroup” and “outgroup.” The “ingroup” is us, and the “outgroup” is them.

The need to belong to an “ingroup” became the core of human motivation. Belonging to an “ingroup” provided security, subsistence, and psychological attachment to others whom they needed for survival.

The Evolutionary Need to Belong

People clearly benefit from living in cooperative and supportive groups that work together and help each other. People who live with others are safer and have a greater sense of physical, social, and psychological survival security. They had more consistent access to food and a greater capacity to defend themselves from raiders due to cooperation. Therefore, those ancestors of humans who lived in tribal communities had a greater chance of surviving.

People are “social animals” that have survived because they worked together, helped, and supported each other, their family, and their tribe. While hunting, they discovered that more hands are always better than two. As food gatherers, they gained protection from threats by traveling in groups. Those with a stronger sense of community were more likely to live longer. They had more and better offspring, which made them the dominant genetic group.

“Love as a means of community bonding” is the main thing that brings people together and makes their relationships stronger. As social beings, they have a better chance of staying alive when they live together because they can help each other. This is why the need to belong is intrinsic to human nature. Subsequently, men and women have an innate need to belong.

Social Bonding That Enables Human Physical Survival

When people belong to a social group, they have a greater chance of surviving because the group can provide better access to resources for maintaining sustenance and security. Those who live in tribal communities have a greater sense of security in their social connections than those who live alone. When members of a community work together to share resources, it makes it easier for them all to obtain food, water, and shelter. In addition to this, they are better able to defend themselves against predators as well as aggressive outsiders attacking them.

Social Bonding That Empowers Psychological Survival

In a later stage of evolution, human motivation also included the need for psychological security in addition to physical security. In tribal subsistence-based and traditional collectivistic societies, extended family, kin, and the tribal community provided sufficient conditions for secure social bonding. The ties of tribal community and kinship were the social relations that kept people together in many small-scale, low-technology societies of the past.

Over the course of evolution, the need to belong to a group and feel safe psychologically and emotionally became the driving force behind all human behavior. Strengthening one’s physical and psychological strength, as well as developing supportive relationships, became vital to surviving in life.

Thus, bonding, the need to belong, and the need for love all have their roots in our evolutionary past, which I discussed at length elsewhere (Karandashev, 2022, chapter 3).

How People Were Domesticated

Natural selection almost certainly played a role in the development of social abilities, social bonding, and prosocial behavior during the course of human evolutionary history. “Domestication syndrome” was at work with humans in the same way as with animals.

Brian Hare, a Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University, proposed the theory that explains the “Survival of the Friendliest” (Hare, 2017). According to this theory, humans domesticated themselves in the latter stages of evolution. In the course of evolution, human social skills emerged and evolved when natural selection began to favor in-group pro-sociality over aggression.

Social characteristics in humans evolved as a result of a “domestication syndrome” similar to that seen in other domesticated animals. The meta-analysis of many studies from the fields of paleoanthropology, neurobiology, and developmental biology was in accord with this evolutionary theory of domestication (Hare, 2017).

Evolution of Animal Bonding and Love

Many people love birds, cats, dogs, and other animals. They enjoy being around them and feel a pull to help them when they can. Do animals love us back?

Indeed, animals do feel emotions such as joy, love, fear, despair, grief, and others. It is also true that many animals are capable of loving the people who care for them. And they love us, not just because we feed them; they love us as companions.

The needs for positive connections and bonding with others are evolutionary motivations that have evolved over time in social animals and humans. These origins can be traced all the way back to the natural evolution of other social species, such as dogs, cats, and primates (Karandashev, 2022, chapter 3).

Love as Social Bonding Among Animals

Researchers documented substantial evidence that certain animals and humans, during the course of their evolution, have developed the psychological mechanisms of cooperation, prosocial behavior, and social bonding. These evolved mechanisms aided their survival in both nature and society (e.g., Germonpré, Lázniková-Galetová, Sablin, & Bocherens, 2018; Marshall-Pescini, Virányi, & Range, 2015; Hare, 2017; 2006; Fisher, 2004; Rosenblum & Plimpton, 1981; see Karandashev, 2022, Ch. 3 for a review). 

According to the findings of neuroscience, a wide variety of animals have the physiological mechanisms that enable them to experience love as feelings of strong affection for another animal or person.

Evolution of Oxytocin

Oxytocin is the hormone of love and social bonding. Along with the evolution of animal and human social behavior and the capacity for social connections, oxytocin has accordingly evolved. This chemical messenger’s roles in the brain are associated with a positive social relationship, attachment, caring, and interpersonal trust (Carter, 1998, 2014; Carter, Williams, Witt, & Insel, 1992; De Boer, Van Buel, & Ter Horst, 2012, see for review Karandashev, 2022, Ch. 3).

Varieties of Relationship Systems in Animals

Various interindividual relationships may exist among social species that live in groups. Many of these relationship systems engage multiple females and multiple males. And the relationships are promiscuous. Others are usually pair-bonded species that live in groups with only one female and one male (Lukas & Clutton-Brock 2013; Reichard & Boesch 2003; see for review Karandashev, 2022, Ch. 3).

Love as Social Bonding Among Dogs

Dogs have a well-earned reputation for being social and friendly with people. Dogs may have descended from wolves. Yet their social behavior has diverged from that of their wild ancestors. Some archeological findings and scholarly speculation point to the possibility that in prehistoric times certain wolf subspecies began to settle in close proximity to human settlements. (e.g., Germonpré et al., 2018; Marshall-Pescini et al., 2015; Morell, 1997; see for review Karandashev, 2022, Ch. 3).

Instead of competing for prey, they started to prefer helping the people who fed them in exchange for their service. Those friendly wolves had a better chance of survival and reproduction. Natural evolutionary selection was favorable to those wolf-dog hybrids for their cooperative tendencies toward humans. The domestication process took place, and those variants of wolves eventually evolved into domestic dogs. Nature chooses those who are best suited to the conditions under which they must survive.

Love as Social Bonding Among Primates

Like other social species, the chimpanzee groups have a variety of different behavioral traits and interindividual relationships. Nevertheless, they all share the characteristics that define them as a distinct “chimpanzee society.” They might also pursue distinct mating strategies and have different mating systems (Chapais, 2011).

Bonding as a basic form of love seems to be present among some primates. Infant primates are hardwired to cling to their mothers, and even a brief separation causes anxiety. They start looking for their mothers. They are overjoyed and excited to be back. It appears that infant primates certainly experience love as attachment (Rosenblum & Plimpton, 1981).

It appears clear that a desire for union and a desire to avoid separation are the fundamental motivations that give them a better chance of survival. Unlike those of other primates, human societies are the only ones where multiple reproductive pairs remain together (de Waal & Gavrilets 2013).

Why Is Gratitude Important?

Gratitude is more than just saying “thank you.” It entails recognizing and appreciating the people and what they do for us. It is the appreciation for whatever our lives bring us. Gratitude makes us feel better and lifts our mood. It improves our lives and relationships in many regards.

As Buddha, the religious teacher of South Asian culture (the 6th or 5th century BCE) and founder of Buddhism, taught,

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

 Buddha, the teacher and founder of Buddhism, a religious and philosophical system of southern and eastern Asia, live in India, approximately the 6th–4th century BCE

National Cultural Traditions of Gratitude

The customs of gratitude appear to be highly valued across civilizations and cultures. People expressed their appreciation in the ritual of “giving thanks” to God, spirits, mother nature, and others.

People of many societies in history and nowadays celebrate Thanksgiving or similar festival holidays on various dates. It is a good cultural custom to give thanks and appreciate what we get and what others give to us.

As William Bennett, an American politician and commentator, told

“Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is indeed a virtue.”

William Bennett, American teacher and scholar, born 1943, New York, USA

American Thanksgiving is probably among the most important holidays of the year. Americans have greatly celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday for centuries.

As John F. Kennedy, an American politician and the 35th president of the United States, once said,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

John F. Kennedy, (1917–1963), American political leader and president of the United States

Or in another place, he said:

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

– John F. Kennedy

Even though it falls on different dates, people in other countries also celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday. Among those countries are Canada, Grenada, Liberia, and Saint Lucia. Germany and Japan both celebrate festivals with names that are very similar.

Gratitude Is the Appreciation of Giving and Receiving

In many cases, gratitude is clearly involved in interpersonal relationships. Social bonding implies reciprocal giving and receiving. These kinds of actions are important for the proper creation of people’s obligations and the maintenance of interpersonal bonding in human communities.

An appreciation of giving and receiving is a vital part of fair and equitable relationships. This is why it is very important to express gratitude for what other people do for us. Gratitude is not only a kind gesture; it is frequently necessary for a normal and adequate relationship.

As Aafke E. Komter, a professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, wrote,

“Beneath the warm feelings of gratitude resides an imperative force, a force that compels us to return the benefit we have received”

(Komter, 2004, p. 195).

How People Experience Gratitude

How do people subjectively experience gratitude? The intensity and expression of gratitude are determined by an appraisal of the situations, actions, contexts, and outcomes of what a benefactor did for a recipient. People may express gratitude differently depending on how they perceive the value of what another person has done for them. Appreciation also varies depending on the benefactor’s intention and the degree of sacrifice applied in giving (McCullough & Tsang, 2004). People tend to be especially grateful and express gratitude when they receive something they want and when they feel that the giver was sensitive to their personal needs and wishes. (Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008).

As an American writer and humorist, Mark Twain (1835–1910) once noted,

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.”

Mark Twain, 1835–1910), American writer

People experience gratitude as thematic patterns of somatic feelings and an array of appraisals. The experience of gratitude also involves various emotions, such as joy, love, awe, happiness, awakening, release, peace, security, and feeling blessed. People frequently experience the somatic response to gratitude, the feelings of overwhelming emotions, and tearfulness. These emotions are frequently accompanied by a sense of taking your breath away, bursting with emotion, and fullness (Hlava & Elfers, 2014). 

These feelings and emotions are associated with sensations of being emotionally overwhelmed. Here are some examples:

“I start tearing because I’m so—it’s an overwhelming emotion. It’s an overflowing with joy kind of feeling.”


“My eyes fill with tears, but I do not feel sadness. I feel at a loss for words and am filled with gratitude and love.”


“I just burst into tears, and I was crying, I mean, in addition to just the positive feelings of just gratitude and excitement.”


How Gratitude Affects Our Relationships

Gratitude is very beneficial for our relationships and can transform interpersonal connections.

Expression of gratitude plays an important role in relationship building (Algoe et al., 2008) and relationship maintenance (Hlava, 2010; Kubacka, Finkenauer, Rusbult, & Keijsers, 2011). Gratitude affects the experience of relationship boundaries between “self” and “other” (Hlava & Elfers, 2014). The expression and feeling of gratitude strengthen our bonds with those who have helped us (Algoe & Haidt, 2009).

Please, remember this saying of William James (1842–1910), an American philosopher and psychologist:

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

William James (1842–1910), American psychologist and philosopher

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Need to Belong and Love

Everyone has a “need for love” of some kind. For women and men who believe that love is bonding, the “need to belong” is basically the “need for love.” Those who have a strong desire to belong to a group tend to think that love is a form of bonding.

Just imagine being dropped on an island alone for the rest of your life, like Robinson Crusoe, the protagonist of a novel by English writer Daniel Defoe (c. 1660–1731). You have food, a place to sleep, and comfort, but there isn’t a single other person around and no way to bond with loved ones. For the majority of men and women, these would be extremely challenging living conditions. For some, it is more challenging than for others.

The Basic Social Need to Belong and Be Accepted

As the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle noted, humans are social animals. Therefore, they have the need for social bonding, the need to belong, and the need to be accepted by others, like a tribe, kin, family, parent, or mating partner.

Many people are acutely aware of their lost connections to significant others when they are separated from them by being away from family or in a foreign country. Being rejected by a significant other is an especially challenging feeling.

Evolutionary Benefits of Belonging

Love as community bonding is the key survival mechanism that brings people together and strengthens bonds between them. Living in a community gives them a better chance to survive due to the support they provide to each other. Consequently, the need to belong is intrinsic to the nature of some animals and humans.

Love as Social Bonding

Love as a form of social bonding has biological and cultural evolutionary roots. In this sense, love is helping another survive and thrive. The acts of love are feeding, protecting, supporting, and caring about others. In other words, in a practical sense, “love” is doing something good for another person (Wierzbicka, 1999).

Social bonds increased the likelihood of survival for our ancestors. This bonding encouraged parents to keep their kids close and shield them from danger (Esposito et al., 2013). Attachment as bonding kept children close to their parents. As adults, those who had close relationships were more likely to survive, reproduce, and help their children grow up to maturity. To be without kin nearby would be detrimental (see Karandashev, 2019; 2022 for a review).

Physical and Psychological Survival Due to Social Bonding

Individuals have a better chance of surviving in a physical sense, such as maintaining sustenance and security, when they are a part of a social group. People who live in tribal communities feel safer in social relationships than those who live alone. Social cooperation provides the members of a community with better access to food. And they are better able to protect themselves from predators and aggressive foreigners.

In later stages of human evolution, the needs for psychological security and emotional bonding evolved into the most fundamental human motives. Having positive social connections helped not only with physical survival but also with psychological resilience.

People in traditional collectivistic societies tend to feel a higher need to belong compared to people in modern individualistic societies. Cultural values of Eastern-Asian collectivistic societies encourage the need to belong, connections, and kin relationships.

I extensively reviewed the evolutionary origins of bonding, the need to belong, and the need for love elsewhere (Karandashev, 2022, chapter 3).

The Basic Needs to Belong and to Love

Even though some people are more social than others, this deep need to belong is a fundamental human motivation (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). An individual’s need for social bonding motivates their desire to belong to and be accepted by a group or another person. It is fundamentally the desire for other people’s love. 

As Wystan Auden, a British-American poet (1907–1973), wrote,

“We must love one another or die.” 

(W. H. Auden, “September 1, 1939”).

The Ideal Beauty of the Petite Body Type

According to Henry Finck’s opinion, there is substantial evidence that cultural evolution and sexual selection throughout history favored the petite body type of a woman’s beauty (Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 518).

The Distinctive Body of the Amazons in Ancient Greece

Many ancient legends and epic poems of Greek mythology portray the Amazons, the female warriors and hunters of ancient Greece. What was special about their physicality? A British statesman and politician of the 19th century, William Gladstone (1809-1898), once remarked that

“Stature was a great element of beauty in the view of the ancients, for women as well as for men; and their admiration of tallness, even in women, is hardly restrained by a limit.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 520).

This Greek’s depictions of the Amazons appear to be different from modern aesthetic-amorous taste. Modern cultural standards do not perceive a very tall and bulky woman as very graceful, even if she is stately and majestic. Grace is an important attribute of physical beauty and a powerful trigger of love.

A very large and tall woman in love appears odd and almost comical in modern eyes. Besides, people rarely associate great stature with delicate joints and extremities. However, the quasi-masculine physical type of Amazonian women is the primary reason why modern lovers disapprove of this kind of woman.

Sexual Differences in the Types of Stature

People tend to differentiate the sexual features of beauty, which are considered as attractive in stature as in everything else.

An English statistician, psychologist, and anthropologist, Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911), made observations on 205 married couples. He concluded that

“Marriage selection takes little or no account of shortness and tallness. There are undoubtedly sexual preferences for moderate contrasts in height; but the marriage choice appears to be guided by so many and more important considerations that questions of stature exert no perceptible influence upon it…. Men and women of contrasted heights, short and tall or tall and short, married just about as frequently as men and women of similar heights, both tall or both short; there were 32 cases of one to 27 of the other.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 521).

However, Henry Finck believes (1887/2019, p. 521) that this argument is rather weak. Francis Galton admits that

“There are undoubtedly sexual preferences for moderate contrast in height”

And then, Henry Finck emphasizes that

“Galton’ figures show 32 to 27 in favour of mixed-stature marriages, in most of which the women must have been shorter, owing to the prevalent feminine inferiority in size. And in course of time the elimination of non-amorous motives of marriage will assist the law of sexual differentiation in suppressing Amazons.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 522).

Further Arguments in Favor of Petite Female Stature

Philological arguments attest even further in support of the modern preferences of men for the petite stature of women. It is quite illustrative in this citation from Crabb’s English Synonyms:

Prettiness is always coupled with simplicity; it is incompatible with that which is large; a tall woman with masculine features cannot be prettyBeauty is peculiarly a female perfection; in the male sex it is rather a defect; a man can scarcely be beautiful without losing his manly characteristics, boldness and energy of mind, strength and robustness of limb; but though a man may not be beautiful or pretty, he may be fine or handsome.” 

“A woman is fine who with a striking figure unites shape and symmetry; a woman is handsome who has good features, and pretty if with symmetry of feature be united delicacy.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 522).

An Irish-British philosopher and statesman of the 18th century, Edmund Burke (1729–1797), noted that “it is possible to fall in love with a very small person, but not with a giant.”

A Natural Prejudice Against Very Tall People

The mind of many modern people does have a natural prejudice against very tall people—women as well as men.

As Thomas Fuller, an English historian and churchman (1608–1661), wrote in “Andronicus, or The Unfortunate Politician” (1646),

“Often the cockloft is empty in those whom Nature hath built many stories high.”

A British philosopher, Francis Bacon (1561-1626), said something in the same vein that

“Nature did never put her precious jewels into a garret four stories high, and therefore that exceeding tall men had ever very empty heads.”

This cultural belief is also backed up by strong scientific evidence in “Nervensystem” by Professor Hermann:

“When the body becomes abnormally large, the brain begins to decrease again, relatively, as Langer found in measuring giant skeletons.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 522).

The Beautiful Stature of Spanish Women

According to 19th-century scholars, beautiful Spanish faces and bodies evolved from the mixing of many cultures and body types.

In fact, many visitors to Spain were struck by the extraordinary beauty of Spanish women, who were distinguished by their petite stature, dark eyes, and long black eyelashes.

In past articles, I cited many quotes describing why they admired beautiful Spanish women. Among other women in Spain, they found that Andalusian women are especially beautiful.

Henry Finck expresses his belief that the perfect woman resembles an Andalusian brunette. Several features of Andalusian beautiful women that many reporters talk about are their stature, complexion, tapering plumpness of figure, and posture. One of these is the Spanish women’s diminutive stature, which contributes significantly to their exceptional grace of gait. (Finck, 1887/2019, p. 518).

Therefore, Henry Finck concludes that the petite type of body became the ideal type for a woman over time.

The Beauty of Andalusian Women

Many anthropologists and travelers commented on the remarkable beauty of Spanish men and women. In particular, foreign visitors mention their black eyes, which along with long black eyelashes make Spanish women incredibly beautiful. “Spain’s dark-glancing daughters” are stunning in their beauty.

Scholars in the 19th century thought that the unique features of Spanish faces and bodies evolved from the mixing of many different cultures and body types that moved to Spain over time

In previous articles, I provided many quotes from the writings of foreigners about beautiful Spanish women. The loveliest descriptions of the landscape, buildings, and women come from the Andalusia region of Spain. Most travelers consider Andalusian women to be exceptionally gorgeous.

Let us look at some of those interesting comments about the women of Andalusia and its largest city, Seville.

Incredible Andalusian Women

Here is what an Italian poet and novelist, Edmondo de Amicis (1846–1908), writes in his book about Andalusian women and girls of Seville, the largest city of Andalusia:

“There are some very beautiful faces, and even those that are not absolutely beautiful, have something about them which attracts the eye and remains impressed upon the memory—the colouring, eyes, brows, and smile, for instance. Many, especially the so-called gitane, are dark brown, like mulattoes, and have protruding lips: others have such large eyes that a faithful likeness of them would seem an exaggeration. The majority are small, well-made, and all wear a rose, pink, or a bunch of field-flowers among their braids…. On coming out of the factory, you seem to see on every side for a time, black pupils which look at you with a thousand different expressions of curiosity, ennui, sympathy, sadness, and drowsiness.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 517).

Then, Edmondo de Amicis continues as follows:

“The feminine type of Cadiz was not less attractive than that celebrated one at Seville. The women are a little taller, a trifle stouter, and rather darker. Some fine observer has asserted that they are of the Greek type; but I cannot see where. I saw nothing, with the exception of their stature, but the Andalusian type; and this sufficed to make me heave sighs deep enough to have blown along a boat and obliged me to return as soon as possible to my ship, as a place of peace and refuge.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 518).

In the same vein, George Parsons Lathrop (1851–1898), an American novelist and poet, portrays the Spanish girls in Seville this way:

“Some of them had a spendthrift, common sort of beauty, which, owing to their southern vivacity and fine physique, had the air of being more than it really was…. There were some appalling old crones…. Others, on the contrary, looked blooming and coquettish. Many were in startling deshabille, resorted to on account of the intense (July) heat, and hastened to draw pretty pañuelos of variegated dye over their bare shoulders when they saw us coming…. The beauty of these Carmens has certainly been exaggerated. It may be remarked here that, as an offset to occasional disappointment arising from such exaggerations, all Spanish women walk with astonishing gracefulness, and natural and elastic step; and that is their chief advantage over women of other nations.”

(As cited in Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 518).

The Small Stature of Andalusian Women

There are several features of Andalusian beauty that many observers frequently mention. One of those is the small stature of the women, to which they largely owe their exceptional grace of gait. (Henry Finck, 1887/2019, p. 518). Henry Finck expresses his belief that the perfect woman resembles an Andalusian brunette. This type of beauty in Spanish women is in their eyes, hair, stature, complexion, tapering plumpness of figure, and posture.

So, Henry Finck comes to the conclusion that evolutionary sexual selection was in favor of the petite brunette as the ideal of a woman’s beauty.