display | more...

When we are young, we are sure that love is easy. We select someone because they amuse us, or they captivate us, or they make us woozy with longing and delight. We convince ourselves that we will always beguile our partner: we are young and optimistic. Some are fortunate enough to have true beauty and freshness that youth allows. They often think that they are a gift to their partner, and that they will never tire of opening the wrappings. A cinematic future looms ahead, in glorious colors: romance, children, cooperation, deepening love and understanding, and a slow motion procession to a golden age of companionship and relaxation. Then life happens.

To increase the probability of a successful marriage, love needs to be extremely mutual.

I see this fact in retrospect, after realizing that the love was largely one sided in my marriage. In the back of my mind, I knew this was the case, but didn't want to acknowledge it because I loved her so. I knew something was wrong, but was not prepared to handle the fact that she ultimately did not love me (to the degree I consider necessary in order to spend the rest of your life with someone). I did my best and hoped she would come around. Hoped that I could in some way convince her that I was someone worthy of her love. I believe I in fact succeeded at this, which is why it went on as long as it did, but ultimately I learned, you can't make someone love you, they either do or they don't. No matter what kind of person you are.

Love is hard. Daily lives lack the swelling soundtrack we embed in our dreams. The woman men romp with will not look as arresting with rice cereal in her hair. The men women romanticize will have a hard time deciding if he can leave the lazy boy to help bring in the groceries. Healthy lust for a partner can erode into a healthy desire for sleep, for peace, for the person you once were ... before you gave your self up for marriage. The person who glowed at the end of the aisle develops a patina with age and with reality.

Some people only admire copper when it is shiny and aglow with polish. Wise people, however, develop great affection for the warm verdigris that develops with time. They can appreciate the intrinsic value of the metal without devoting a life to cosmetic polishing. Revising the list of what is important is the basis of marital longevity. There is no guarantee that even this will work, but without evolution, marriage is doomed.

I'd like to be with someone, and I date fairly frequently, but I have not met anyone special...and sometimes doubt I ever will. But that's OK if that's how it works out. I have come to believe that shit happens for a reason. It may not be immediately apparent, but it seems it is usually to teach us some valuable lesson.