Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Marriage and Love.

I'm an conventionally unconventional fellow. The idea of marriage as legal institution has little relevance to me personally. I don't really care that the State recognizes our relationship, and I especially don't care if the Church does. But I do, very much so, believe in the commitment I've made to Kristi. It's a commitment to each other that both of us have maintained despite it occasionally flying in the face of Reason. We are each full of faults in our personalities and habits. As I expect anyone reading this is. :)

Mark Sanford (R. Buenos Aries) , like many other prominent Republicans that spend their time lecturing us on the the sanctity of marriage, was cheating on his wife with Eva Peron. Whatever. I think we all know when a politician is moralizing, he's full of shit. The more anti-Gay they are, the greater the likelihood they like the feel of another man's cock in their mouth. The more they expressed outrage at Bill Clinton's infidelity, the more likely they were themselves cheating (Newt, Rudy, Bob Livingston, Jesse Helms,...).

They are not alone in this hypocrisy, though. I myself am fairly radical about the environment, for example. But I live in in an Energy sucking 3,000 square foot house. And I have not one, but TWO automobiles! My actions do not square with my beliefs. So let me not cast too many stones on Gov. Sanford. A few, but not too many.

What really got my attention about the Gov's infidelity, was a section of the statement his wife put out today. You can read the whole thing here.
I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal.

Was a truer statement ever made? Perhaps this has been stated before, in some form or another. And it of course seems obvious and hardly worth stating after you've read it. That's a good indicator of it's veracity; it's obviousness upon revelation. For love to endure, you must want it to. It requires effort. Sometimes a lot of effort. Frequently more effort on one side than the other.

As my friends are getting older, I'm confronted more and more with failing marriages. Usually fault is easily attributable to one of the parties. Sometimes egregiously so. But sometimes not. Nobody is immune. People change, of course. Neither of us is the person the other married. Fundamentally, we are. But dynamics change. That's redundant, of course. They would not be called dynamics if they were not variable. :) So it's not unreasonable, or a great sin, or even a failure, if time has passed and you or your partner is no longer putting forth the effort needed for your love to endure.

I don't really know that there exists any formula that increases your odds of success. I suspect there is too much that is random and unpredictable. Like so many other things in life, it takes hard work AND luck to succeed. The Gov's wife ignores the role that chance plays in our lives, as her faith in her invisible Superfriend necessitates. Her statement is generally true, but it takes more than just desire and effort. Circumstances matter.

There are, of course, things you can do to mitigate the risk associated with time and evolving circumstances. Communicate. Don't just complain, but communicate. Compromise. Listen, and be willing to adapt. As an "Evolutionist", I acknowledge my bias towards adaptation as a solution for survival. And I hesitate to apply any lessons of biology to human social interactions. But I find this point to be self-evident.

Finally, if things aren't going to work out, adn they often won't, please wait until you've filed for a Divorce before you start a relationship with someone else. Cheating is ethically indefensible. And in most cases, morally reprehensible. However good it may feel at the time, it's never in your best interests.

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