Do not spoil what you have by desiring that which you have not; but remember that what you have now was once among the things you once desired.

A passage i really liked in Mere Christianity…

“The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all.  If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. 

The promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love.  A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way.  He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.  But what, it may be asked, is the use of keeping two people together if they are no longer in love?  There are several sound, social reasons: to provide a home for their children, etc.

But there is also another reason of which I am sure.  What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state.  But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’.  Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing.  There are many things below it, but there are also things above it.  You cannot make it the basis of a while life.  It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling.  Now, no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all.  Who could live in excitement for even five years? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.  Love in this second sense is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, mantained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit.  They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else.  ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.  It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it. 

People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever.  As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change – not realising that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one.” 

Wow, what a long long passage… it’s quite odd… before i think i was a supporter of divorce… not that i saw it as a good thing, but that sometimes it is necessary.  and i think sometimes, under extreme circumstances, it still is.  But in general, i think people are way too laid-back about it, like everything else, the significance of marriage has disappeared in most people’s minds.  To them, it’s a way to show their love for their partner, and if things don’t work out, then too bad.  It’s time for them to move on to greener pastures.  I really agree with C.S. Lewis in that if you are in love, then getting married won’t add anything to it.  Marriage entails commitment and if you aren’t willing to commit, then what’s the point?  It doesn’t make any logical sense. 


3 thoughts on “

  1. Very interesting passage. I agree with a lot of what was being said also. The term love is so many different things. For me you don’t just fall in and out of love so easily. “It is a deep unity, mantained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit.” Sure you fall in love to start, but then you build on it and make it stronger. Love shouldn’t just be a feeling that can be changed on a whim. It should be something based on a strong foundation so that no matter what happens, it will stand up to it.
    I agree that too many people now don’t take marriage seriously enough. Or maybe it’s just that my conceptions of marriage are different from theirs. But to me marriage is a sacred connection, and lifelong commitment, and if you’re not ready to make that commitment, then don’t get married.
    Anyway that’s just what i think.


  2. Great passage!
    Personally I want to get married because I want to have a family some day… the love in a family is different as well, and is probably the type of love that’ll push its way all to the end of your life…  Love, like all things, are transient… even with one person you can fall in and out of love, or feel for that person at different levels of love, by the week, day, hour, minute… Love itself is not and should not be a commitment because it is only a feeling, but a relationship or a promise SHOULD be a commitment because those things are reliant on actions… Even “acts of love” is not love itself…
    Anywho, since you said you aren’t into marriage and such, does that mean you are into having relationships that are always in the heat of the moment? 😛  j/k j/k


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