also Childhood, Family

“Do you take this person …?”  “I do.”  Fateful words:  A vow to remain true to one individual for the remainder of your life. Why make such a vow? Why confine yourself to one person?

In order to have a stable, lasting relationship? One that can bear fruit? Children? Is this a societal mandate? You must marry; it is expected … a natural union. Monogamy is common amongst mammals. Mallard ducks mate for life. How ‘bout practical reasons? Easier to have two striving and pooling resources for common purposes:  A home, furnishings, acquisitions. And greater physical security:  One person is sick, the other can still function, protect and provide. Probably you marry for all of these reasons.

What about love? You want to give your all to one person. Have it reciprocated. In loving someone, you can be more completely yourself. You can express yourself and someone cares enough to listen, to understand. This is important. For alone how meaningful can your actions and accomplishments be? And in loving another individual you must learn to be selfless, to be aware of another’s feelings. You have an opportunity to leave your childish, egocentric world and participate in another’s. You must give up part of yourself in order for the union to work. For the old adage of ‘give and take’ is true. You cannot always ‘have it your way’. You often must yield your wants and desires for the sake of another. And when children come along this is compounded. For most people this is their greatest opportunity to grow through loving.

Unfortunately in a society that is fixated on acquiring material things and maximizing pleasures there is a tendency to abandon relationships that are not meeting expectations. You love someone, marry and three years later you are in debt, your partner has put on 30 pounds and sex is not as exciting as it once was. Surprise, surprise. Nothing stays the same. Early exhilarations will always diminish. The longer you know someone, the more intimately aware you become of personality traits. Not all will be attractive to you. This happens with all long-term relationships:  parents, siblings, friends. Only natural. You learn to accept what you know is never going to change and try some friendly persuasions in other areas. Most often this will take the form of both suggestions and ‘acting out’ by you. An example:  Your partner may have a propensity for talking too much and ignoring you and others in conversations. This can be maddening. But you can set a good example by showing a keen interest in others when you and your partner are socializing.

A relationship will never be perfect but as long as there is a mutual understanding and respect you can and should share your life. You will mature as you constantly renew your efforts at loving. Remember that this is what your life is all about:  Growth through loving. To succeed in this quest marriage can be the most effective means.



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.