Thoughts on Marriage: A Concentrated Love
Ask a married person, perhaps one who attracted a good deal of attention from the opposite sex, whether they prefer single or married life, and they will laugh at you. The question is a no-brainer. That seems crazy, I know, but it's true. Why on earth would they respond in such a way? How can it be overwhelmingly better to have the love of one person, who one never ceases to see, whose body changes and not for the better, who grates over time, than many? What could possibly be better than having the attention of many, the affection of multitudes, the passion of a plethora? Well, the look on the married person's face tells us. Marriage to one person of the opposite sex could be better. Crazy, ain't it?
But it makes sense if you think it through just a little. When you covenant, or agree to, love just one person, and do so with the promise of unconditionality attached to that love, you are giving that person an incredible gift (and they you). You are saying that you will love them no matter how they smell, what they say, and how they act (to a great, great extent). You are giving them an iron-clad pledge of commitment, and that brings a startling amount of security and contentment. Over a lifetime, that contentment becomes a settled joy. Take a look at your grandparent's faces, those who are married happily for many years, and then look at the face of your average Gen Next club-hound. There's no comparison. One experiences cheap thrills and passing pleasures. The other experiences faithful love and unconditional happiness.
Saying yes to marriage is saying no to a life of teased emotions and broken hearts. The life of those dedicated to messing around with as many people as they can may look glamorous on tv, but it sure doesn't feel that way. It's all very conditional, and uncertain, and pressured. That's why such people spend way more time cultivating their body than their heart. They know that their hopes for fulfillment, however fleeting, depend on their looks, and so they give their attention to them. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, grandparents bemused with the little joys of life sit on the porch. Rocking, they contemplate a lifetime of concentrated love and settled affection. I am happy to join them.