At a dear friend’s 50th anniversary dinner, Edward (Not his real name) told a story about a couple, who after 25 years of matrimony, had decided to part “because they weren’t happy.” Ed asked this question: “What does happiness have to do with marriage?” As if marriage makes you happy. As if marriage makes you malcontented.
Happiness is an inside job. The inside job includes prayer, meditation, study, exercise and frugality. All habits that have made me the kind of person that attracted my wife of 23 years. Has marriage made her happy? No. She was happy when we met, and as we’ve each sculpted our visions of happiness, this union has continued to be a power. The bond itself creates a power that transcends all understanding.
As Irving Singer has put it, “we are living during a period in which large numbers of people have renounced their faith in love.”
“Though many people are afraid of not being loved, it may well be that even more they are afraid of loving. For this reason, love, like many of the other virtues, relies upon the virtue of courage. Since love requires commitment without guarantees, giving without the assurance of receiving, intimacy with the exposure of vulnerability, love demands courage — the ability to take a risk even though it may lead to disappointment and pain.” – Rabbi Byron L. Sherwin, Ph.D. “Crafting the Soul”. p.160