Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Marriage

It's gray out this morning.

After having the boys home all week last week due to eye infections (all three! of them), I didn't want to take them back.  I've decided (with Mr. C.'s support -- thank you, i love this) to homeschool them next school year, and last week we worked every day on reading and writing.  On days they're at preschool we can still get to these things later in the afternoon, but it always feels out of whack.  
Next winter I'll look forward to not ever having to go out in the snow and the cold early in the morning.

We can eat hot oatmeal or scones or muffins or...cold cereal...and then get right to work, leaving lots of time for adventure and creative play and outings in the afternoon.

In any case, I digress...

I've been mulling these two quotes over in my mind.
These thoughts (offered by Pres. Hinckley and Louis de Bernieres) are so contrary in some ways to modern media messages.
Love is supposed to be about fire and sparks and constant "madness," right?
I mean, listen to the text of most current love songs on the radio.
Pay attention to the commercials, advertisements on romance, even popular sitcoms and romantic reality TV shows.

I believe that a lot of these give us an askew perspective on what love is really about. 
I remember attending a lecture on love several years ago when I was a college student.  It was part of a "Lectures on Love" series and was given by an esteemed professor who was also a marriage and family therapist.  He talked about how the media feeds us with these messages.  The result?  Lots of folks, once those feelings are a little cooled down, begin to believe they aren't in love anymore.  He identified this as moving from limmerance love to companionate love.
(Limmerance = butterflies, twitterpation, etc.)
(Companionate = more mature love, focus on being a companion to that person, etc.)

So...sparks and crazy passion all the time?
And if it's not like that, you're not in love?
It's little wonder commitment and long-term relationships are becoming more and more rare with the philosophies being fed to us on almost every side.

I don't pretend to be an authority on the subject, or to have things figured out. (Ha!)


My observation is that mainstream messages on marriage seem less and less to encourage a duality, and more and more to extol individuality ("if it isn't working for ME, we're done").  Less about sacrificing for a family, less about sacrificing for someone ELSE, and more about doing whatever it is that you want with YOUR life.

We live in interesting times.

I appreciate these quotes -- because I need the counsel and the reminder.
They ground me.
More than anything, I think marriage is about a deep friendship, one that you can count on. 

But, like President Hinckley says, we can improve constantly by trying to focus more on our companion: on their needs, their wants, their desires, their happiness, their well-being.

“I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion. Any man who will make his wife’s comfort his first concern will stay in love with her throughout their lives and through the eternity yet to come.”
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two." 
~ Louis de Bernières in Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Lots to think about.
Much to aspire to.
Hope you have a lovely Tuesday. 

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