Marriage lives, but barely. In some places, it continues only as the fossils of a past era in which people wrote love letters with a pen and the interval between one letter and the next was the impetus for forlorn hearts to continue their seemingly senseless beating. Back then, there was some magic and mystery; there was dancing, maybe even love. And perhaps, also, there was a sense of waiting which put the drama of love within the context of time. How else could eternity be possible?

Maybe things weren’t quite that good.. But it’s hard to imagine that marriage ever teetered so near to the edge of boredom and grief as it does today.. Even from the first moments, the math doesn’t work out right for modern
marriage—1 man + 1 woman doesn’t equal 2 happy newlyweds anymore…(I once unabashedly used the line: “In the mathematics of love, 1 + 1 = 1.” Not that I don’t believe it’s true, but today I’d flagellate myself with a wet al dente noodle if I ever I said that again.)

Really, the math works out to some sort of debt or to the strange pragmatic thought that 20 Gs might work better toward a new family wagon, then the 300 lb. jewel-encrusted, Victorian dress she basted in for 3 hours. The problem may also lie in "someone’s" insistence that bride and groom must book the palatial hall where Elvis first tripped in his blue suede shoes. Maybe the groom would even demand to wear said shoes.

Another math problem newlyweds have to solve is the fraction ½ . That’s the proportion of couples who regret spending thousands getting hitched, and then spend more money trying to get a divorce. In the end, maybe the problem is talking too much (re: the wedding) and loving too little (re: the person who will grow old before your eyes); or perhaps we mistake the honeymoon for love or the flickering of the infatuated heart for the permanence of two wills that must will but one thing…Fulton Sheen has more to say on this:

“Love that is held together only by the flesh is as fragile as the flesh, but love which is held together by a spiritual oneness and based on a love of a common destiny, is truly "until death do us part." What makes a true mutual inherence is not the sharing of the same sensations of pleasure. Rather the "sister-soul" and "brother-soul" are formed in the daily communion with the same joys, sorrows, efforts, and sacrifices… It is not enough just to share the same words and the same enjoyments; one must also share the same silences. "Mary treasured up all these sayings, and reflected on them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) Those who do not yet love one another deeply have need of words; those who deeply love, thrive on silences.”


2 Responses so far.

  1. Maryellen says:

    I appreciate your blog. This post struck a chord in me, because of the feelings I get at Weddings. It's less than joy because I always wonder if it will last. (and I pray it will)

    My husband and I celebrated our 60th Anniversay this month (by God's grace alone - not due to any successful 'method'.)

    I linked here from your wife's blog "Words, words". So glad I did - it's a marvelous blog.

  2. Son says:

    Mary Ellen,
    Sorry if I butchered your name...but thanks for your comment. As it happens, I'll have to revisit the bittersweet experience of a wedding this weekend. Like you I will have my doubts (as much as I don't want to!). And like you, I'll pray.

    Congratulations on your 60 years! God be praised.


Leave a Reply

What Does It Mean To Be Human?