…his argument goes something like this: Marriage is supposed to mean the life-long duty of monogamy. It therefore deprives both spouses of the precious gift of being chosen anew every day. When you roll over in bed and see your same old wife, he says, there’s nothing romantic about that—nothing loving about forging ahead with the same old same old. What people really want, he argues, is to be freshly selected as a partner over and over again. This freshness, this free will, this clear-eyed affirmation of affection is the only way to know that you are truly loved, and not merely endured out of habit or convenience.
In other words, the man is insane. And knows nothing about love. And has no business giving anyone advice about anything, beyond how to open, and possibly subsequently to close, the door to his office while hightailing it out of there and over to the nearest bar, where you are likely to find more sensible views about human love scribbled on the bathroom wall.
People in marriages that last understand that freshness and affection come when you stop chasing after them. They come at odd times, after you’ve earned them by putting in the long hours of devotion, faithfulness, and fortitude. What the therapist extolled as true love sounds like a perpetual nightmare of anxiety. Imagine rolling over in bed to see your not-spouse, and wondering, “Will he choose me today? Am I good enough? Will I make the grade?” That doesn’t sound like romance to me, that sounds like pure terror.
The freshness of the life-long duty
August 12, 2011 by joyfulpapist