I was reading Another Damn Wedding's post on music and cheesy love songs today (totally agree, Lyn!) and it reminded me (in a back asswards kind of way) of a post I wanted to write. So here goes, kiddos. Beware of tangents and blabbering!
I just recently finished reading Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and I would love to do a full book review of that, but I just don't know how. She brought up so many great issues that I fear I'd babble on and on and on and couldn't stop. Also, I flew through that book! So I'd like to read it again and process it a bit more before trying to put together something meaningful to say.
But I do want to touch on one topic: love. (yeah, ok, just the biggest topic EVER!)
Gilbert pretty much says that love is a horrible reason to get married and I am going to go ahead and agree with her. Love is flimsy. Love is changing. Love is an emotion held in a human heart - not the most stable of carriers. In fact, one of the most unstable carriers. Love offers no security, no guarantee. Love is indeed blind.
But I think Gilbert, in this instance, is talking about love in the sense of romantic love. The love that washes over us when we first meet someone, when they fill our brain and consume our thoughts. That love is not stable and can come a go, leaving a broken marriage behind. That kind of love is dangerous to marry for.
Gilbert tells the story of an elderly couple who lived by her while she was growing up. They were married for years and years. In her old age, the lady had alzheimer's and her husband took care of her. He did things that she used to enjoy, trying to provide whatever happiness he could to her now.
Talking to the old man one day, Gilbert asks him how he and his wife fell in love. But to her surprise that’s not how their story went. He was young and trying to start up his own farm. Someone gave him advice, saying that he must have a good wife to build a successful farm. So he choose a bride and they got married.
No love in the beginning of that marriage, but what love evident in the end while he cared for his wife. The moral of that story: love does not a good marriage make, but a good marriage fosters love.
That’s where my head is at right now. Love. What loves means, what love should provide for a marriage, and the different kinds of love. As Helen Fisher, a scientist of love, tells (check out an awesomely interesting 30 minute TED talk by her), there are three kinds of love.
2) Romantic love
Lust is that basic desire that Fisher describes as evolving to get us out there looking for potential mates. Romantic love is that obsession, that craving to be with someone that Fisher describes as evolving to focus our mating energy. Finally, attachment is that sense of calm and security with your partner that she describes as evolving to “allow you to tolerate another person long enough to raise a child.”
We praise romantic love and that ushy gushy crazy kind of love, but leave out the less glitzy phase of ‘attachment’. (maybe it just needs a new name...how unattractive sounding…) But that's what marriage is. And the mister and I are there. We've been together long enough (5.5+ years) to get past that romantic love stage and into the nitty gritty how-do-we-stand-each-other phase of working out the details. How do we manage money? How do we maintain that spark of romantic love? How do we deal with each other's family? Do our long and short term goals align? How do we make them align? and so on and so forth.
And this is how Lyn's post at Another Damn Wedding got me thinking (see, back asswards). We are not an ushy gushy couple. We don't really like ushy gushy songs. But that's what everyone expects. The honesty of where we are at in our relationship doesn't really sound so good in a song! I'm thinking lyrics along the line of "Merging our accounts and taking on your debt! Fighting over space in our one tiny closet!" Not so great. So how do we choose music for those important and 'significant' moments - like a first dance?
Or how do we write vows? Whenever I start them in my head, it always sounds like such a downer. Because when I think about our marriage honestly, I'm scared. And to get over those nerves, I have to think honestly about the trouble we will face and about why I'm willing to face that trouble with him. Thats what it really comes down to, but again, doesn't really sound the best. "Baby, shits gonna hit the fan, but I want you to be there with me when it does! And darn if we won't clean up that mess together!"
Pass Nana a hankie, folks, cuz this ones a tear jerker!
We will proceed carefully and take time to pick music and write a ceremony fitting for us. It will be romantic in some senses and I'm sure we will jerk a few tears, but I'm guessing that our vibe will be less of an ushy gushy ridiculous love fest and more of a happy, honest, thoughtful ridiculous love fest.
Cheers, all! Hope this made some sort of sense. Next time I'll pick a topic a little less large than 'love'! ;)
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