Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The truth about marriage...from C.S. Lewis

Just recently I was talking to Krissy, Scott's youngest sister, and we got onto the topic of relationships. I remembered a quote from C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity about marriage and it went well with what we were talking about so I shared it with her(and then I sent it to Kelley, his other sister that's engaged!! Yay Kelley and Jericho starting a family!). It sort of lays out the reality of marriage. I think one of the reasons there are so many divorces in this day and age is because of the message the media sends out to audiences all over the world that you find this one special person and you are both passionately in love for the rest of your lives, no work involved, no personal sacrifices made. Then when their honeymoon stage is over they realize that this person has weaknesses and they have problems they need to work through, compromises that need to be made and they think, 'I was tricked, I didn't know any better, I thought I loved him/her but I don't love him/her anymore and there is someone else out there that will be better for me.' So anyways, this talks about the falsehood of that thinking and I like it so much that I want to post it here for me to have forever in my family blog book. So here it is(a little long but fantastic!): Oh and always remember, love is a choice that you make every day. So choose to love, it's such a wonderful thing!

"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….And of course, 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….

No feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense- love as distinct from ‘being in love’ – is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments 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.

If you disagree with me, of course, you will say, ‘He knows nothing about it, he is not married.’ You may quite possibly be right. But before you say that, make quite sure that you are judging me by what you really know from your own experience and from watching the lives of your friends, and not by ideas you have derived from novels and films. This is not so easy to do as people think. Our experience is colored through and through by books and plays and the cinema, and it takes patience and skill to disentangle the things we have really learned from life for ourselves.

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 change- not realizing that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. "


Angela said...

So true Elisa.

L'Anita Heiss said...

Hi, I found your blog through Carrie Rhinehart's. I just had to say thanks for that wonderful post. That quotation is definitely a keeper! I am always impressed by C.S. Lewis's thoughts.

You have a beautiful family!