What’s Marriage Got to do With it


What’s Marriage Got to do With it in Marriage Conversation

Perhaps our deepest longing is to experience the legitimacy of our loving in the on going presence of someone loving us. Good marriages do that. In their absence, we too, cry. What’s Marriage got to do with it?

I’m talking with a friend over coffee the other day. She’s complaining – like always -about the complexities of love. I’m reassuring and challenging – like always – about love. About love being what we came here to do. About love being the juice of life. About love shaping relationships and in its absence, shaping them as well.

Now she is posturing. “Why can’t we all just love one another?” “Why does it all seem so difficult?” I’m not there. “Love’s not the difficult thing,” I say, “loving is.” She then goes towards the idea of marriage. Wants me to know that people will love one another with or without marriage. They’ll do it badly or they’ll do it well but marriage isn’t the critical component. Mental and emotional health is. And, desire is. And, lack of struggle for survival is. Also lack of stress. Don’t I think the world would be a more loving place if everyone had a job they loved and a safe place to live? “Why do you focus so much on marriage?”

I got up for a refill. The coffee shop buzzed with conversations, cellphones rang, people stared into laptops. I like the smells, the buzz and I like seeing people like one another. I came back to our table and sat down. She was crying.

I had a response to her question about marriage but it didn’t seem so urgent. I asked her what was going on. She looked at me and said “I wish I could believe that someone would partner with me for life, that I could relax into being myself just as I am, that aging, and money and career and children could all be worked with with someone I loved and who loved me. But I don’t see it happening.”

Perhaps our deepest longing is to experience the legitimacy of our loving in the on going presence of someone loving us. Good marriages do that. In their absence, we too, cry.

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