all you need is love?

18 Apr

I love this little blog.  I love all my internet friends and my IRL friends (Dad, that means “in real life”).  I love that y’all read this smattering of random streams-of-consciousness and think that it means something.  But I don’t do it for you – I write because if I didn’t, I would just spontaneously combust from the constant thoughts that are crying out for expression.  I’d just up and self-ignite, leaving a pile of white ash on the rug next to the shoes I removed for their own preservation once I realized what was happening (Rachel, you can have those)  .  I don’t think that’s ultimately what’s best for my children, so I will continue to jot down my thoughts and we’ll all see if they come to mean something.

In case you haven’t noticed, one of the things I am always thinking about is marriage.  Why some marriages work and others don’t.  Specifically mine.  I do not enjoy being a failure at anything, and so I am driven to understand what all this American marriage is really about.  My grandparents all stayed married to each other, and my parents have.  My brother is still married and if he has any sense at all, he understands that without Janet, he is nothing, so surely he won’t screw that up. 

A year ago, my dad was challenged to articulate his views on staying married, right here on this very site, and he said this:

“I believe the key necessary element is that BOTH spouses must be seriously intentional about the integrity and importance of the marriage, and stubborn. Surely one spouse can’t make it happen. It involves mutual fundamental promises and optimism and adhering to the essential, central matter. Recognize extraneous matters for their superfluity.
A basically cheerful personality is helpful (an understatement).
Well, this is a start….”
Calvin Trillin has the following to offer:  “approached by young people in search of wisdom about how they might go about linking up with someone with whom they are likely to enjoy a long and happy marriage… the only strategy I can divine for what passed for my wife-seeking activities thirty-odd years ago:   “Wander into the right party.”  Calvin is just so cute and we all know how he felt about Alice.

My friend Louise said two days ago: “You have to find someone who loves God more than he loves you.”  I forgot to tell her that CS Lewis agrees with her.  That’s about having ordered priorities and it’s a foreign concept, but it makes sense if you consider it from a principles-based standpoint.  Unless your beloved’s idea of what God wants is more FLDS.  So he would have to love the same God that you do.   The one who likes monogamy and love and respect and kindness and perseverance and unselfishness.  All that Ephesians.

Joseph Campbell had this to say in his interview with Bill Moyers on the power of myth:

What is marriage?  The myth tells you what it is.  It’s the reunion of the separated duad.  Originally you were one.  You are now two in the world, but the recognition of the spiritual identity is what marriage is.  It’s different from a love affair. It has nothing to do with that.  It’s another mythological plane of experience.  When people get married because they think it’s a long-term love affair, they’ll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment.  But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity.  If we live a proper life, if our minds are on the right qualities in regarding the person of the opposite sex, we will find our proper male or female counterpart.  But if we are distracted by certain sensuous interests, we’ll marry the wrong person.  By marrying the right person, we reconstruct the image of the incarnate God, and that’s what marriage is.

If the marriage isn’t a first priority in your life, you’re not married.  The marriage means the two that are one, the two become one flesh.  If the marriage lasts long enough, and if you are acquiescing constantly to it rather than to individual personal whim, you come to realize that that is true — the two really are one.

The Chinese image of the Tao, with the dark and light interacting — that’s the relationship of yang and yin, male and female, which is what marriage is.  And that’s what you have become when you have married.  You’re no longer this one alone; your identity is in a relationship.  Marriage is not a simple love affair, it’s an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one.”

Myths, parties, unions, God…It came upon me last night like a piano dropped from an upper east-side window.  The rules for being married are so simple and I shall now share them with you to see what you think:

1. Grow up.

2. Be nice, be nice, be nice.


2 Responses to “all you need is love?”

  1. dad April 20, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    As I read this entry, I wondered, at first, how I could leave out UNSELFISHNESS as an integral ingredient; but re-reading it, I think this is implicit in my original effort. I think I was trying to make the same points as Joseph Campbell’s.

  2. brightenthecorner April 20, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    You left it out because you responded quickly and spontaneously in response to MCM’s comment that it was a combination of Mom’s “get over it” mantra and bridge tournaments.

    You definitely made the same points as Joseph Campbell. Just a lot more succinctly, but that’s why his comments resonated with me – because it was the same thing as what you had said.

    Which I have sent to all my friends. Everyone thinks you are so wise.

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