I don’t regularly read the newspaper any longer. For decades, I read it every morning of every day, glanced at every page and especially read the comics (the intellectual section.) I stopped a couple of years ago. Newspapers have reverted to the early 1900’s. Each of them has a political point of view now and they slant news and articles to match it. I can get news off the web and find all the slanted columns I wish for little or no cost. I do miss the comics though.
Anyway, sitting at McDonalds (the restaurant everyone loves to disparage which encourages me to go there,) I found that someone left a bedraggled portion of the local rag for me to read this morning. There for my entertainment was “Dear Amy” who inherited the role of the deceased “Dear Abby.” Therein was a letter from a poor man whose marriage was toast. I don’t know what he thought Amy could do for him? In his case, he dated his girl friend, lived with her for several years, got married, had a baby with serious medical issues, and the marriage began to slide. They separated. The baby is fine now but the marriage is not. Obvious solution is to work to rebuild it. Get a third party to help. Do the basic work that marriage demands. He wants to do it.
She doesn’t. It’s not because he is violent, abusive, lazy, alcoholic or any such thing. It’s because, although she loves him, she is no longer “in love.” She is dating. To be fair, he was doing the same. Dumb.
Oh what a foolish and selfish society we have become! If there has been such an incredibly self absorbed culture ever on this earth, then the USA will share their fate. Why do we imagine that a fatuous display of temporary exhilaration is “love?” If that were true, I was deeply in love a dozen times in college, often by myself (i.e. unrequited.) Both men and women are guilty of this fantasy but it is mostly women who use the language “I am no longer in love with you.” As a result marriages and families, two extraordinarily precious things, are destroyed over a vain bit of short lived emotion.
Amy agreed with me. All hail the insightful Amy! Love is not an emotion. It has very little to do with emotion. Love is steady, daily, self sacrificial work and emotion tags along like a friendly dog. Who is emotionally moved to get up in the middle of the night for a screaming child who wants his or her needs met RIGHT THIS INSTANT? It’s your turn. You get up.
Love is a determined commitment to put the needs of your partner ahead of yours. It is a refusal to hold grudges, a willingness to hold one’s nasty tongue, a kindness undeserved, a service often unappreciated. It can be a grind, a disappointment, a deep loneliness (in the latter case, get some help.) If I wrote a “Dear Brian” column, I would give this advice over and over again: “Marriage is a treasure. It isn’t a cornucopia of pleasure and fun but it is satisfying.”
You know how to measure love in a marriage? It lasts to the end.
Galatians 69 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.