Who is Spider-Man's greatest love? Despite having many past loves, it often comes down to a debate between Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy. Both have played major roles in Peter's life. Gwen is often seen as Peter's one true love with Mary Jane appearing the be a flakey party girl.
The reality of it is, there is much more to Mary Jane than most people know or give her credit for. From the moment she first entered Peter's life to the present, she has shown how much depth there is to her and why she is the one Peter is meant to be with.== TEASER ==
Mary Jane's carefree attitude was always just an act. She unfortunately grew up in an abusive household. Her father couldn't figure out what he wanted and the family was forced to move from city to city. His frustration soon lead to physical violence. Mary Jane created the persona of being fun and carefree in order to mask how she really felt.
Her connection to Peter Parker actually occurred years before they actually met. She was thirteen and she and her mom and sister were staying with her Aunt Anna. She noticed Peter working in the yard and immediately thought he was "cute in a nerdy sort of way." A year later Peter gained spider powers and began his career as a television performer. Mary Jane became fascinated with him because he wore a mask just like she did.
Shortly after, Peter's Uncle Ben was tragically killed. In his grief and thirst for vengeance, Peter ran inside the house to put on his Spider-Man suit. Mary Jane was still looking outside when she then saw Spider-Man emerge from Peter's window.
She knew his secret from that very day. Some would think with her previous fascination and the fact that he possessed great power and abilities she might be attracted to him as some are to celebrities but that wasn't the case. Knowing even more so now that Peter was hiding who he really was behind a mask just as she was frightened her in some ways. She managed to put off the blind date her Aunt Anna and Peter's Aunt May were trying to set up and didn't see him again for two years.
It was because they were similar in some ways that really frightened her. Deep down, she knew a relationship with Peter could work out. But after seeing her parents marriage fall apart as well as that of her sister after she had two kids, being in a relationship seemed like a "death sentence." She didn't want someone else to determine her life and future. They dated but she didn't allow the relationship to become anything. Eventually Peter got back together with Gwen.
When the Norman Osborn, as the Green Goblin, was determined to destroy Peter and Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy was killed. As he was grieving immediately afterwards, Mary Jane came to console him, Peter lashed out against her. This is where MJ began to come out of her shell. Despite the harsh words Peter unleashed, Mary Jane remained by Peter's side, being the friend he truly needed. Peter began to see that he wasn't alone after all.
Eventually Peter realized what his feelings for Mary Jane were. He proposed to her but she was still hesitant. Shortly after, Mary Jane finally fully opens up to Peter. He discovers that she's known his secret all these years. She's not quite ready to fully be with Peter out of fear that all relationships end poorly. She soon comes to terms with her father and parents' relationship and Peter and Mary Jane are to get married.
The two had their share of marital problems (largely due to writers not really knowing what to do with the marriage) and the end was in sight. After Peter revealed his identity to the world during Civil War and Aunt May was shot, Mephisto approached the couple. He declared that they had a love like no other.
It was a love that "comes about once in a millennia." That says a lot right there.
Despite their marriage now never having happened, it has been stated (by then Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada) that all the events before One More Day did occur except for the marriage. That means that when Peter was approached by an angelic force still holds. Peter was told that he and Mary Jane would overcome all of their obstacles and raise a family together.
The fact that both Mephisto and this angelic force realizes and acknowledges the love they have is reason enough that Peter and Mary Jane should be together. Peter and Spider-Man may be free to run around with the Avengers or Future Foundation and try to catch a date with Silver Sable or She-Hulk but in the grand scheme, none of that matters. Some day a writer will be allowed to put things back to where they should be.
Peter and Mary Jane may be just friends right now but it's only a matter of time until the relationship that was meant to be is allowed to play out the way fate intended.