Love and marriage go together like salt and pepper or shampoo and conditioner. So what happens when the love disappears? Often that means the couple lets the marriage go. But does that make good sense?
If you ran out of conditioner, would you refuse to shampoo your hair? If you ran out of salt, wouldn’t you still add pepper to make your soup taste better?
rosemary garlic pork chops or burgers?
It might take ten years for the loving feeling to change. Or two. Suddenly (or gradually) the wife sees only his shortcomings. Or he finds himself focusing on how she’s changed in ways he didn’t imagine. Oh, no, she not only is beginning to look like her mother but now she acts like her, too.
She realizes they don’t have much in common other than their house and children. For entertainment, he likes to watch or play sports, and she reads or goes to the movies. Even his preference for plain meat and potatoes opposes her desire to cook gourmet meals. Opposites.
me or us?
Without the softening of love, one spouse simply irritates the other.
“Love covers a multitude of sins” is true in marriage. Love filters our spouses’ many imperfections.
Can a marriage survive if the love is gone? Can a couple get the love back so they can be happy in their marriage and as individuals?
fighting and starving equals love?
In the play Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye asks his wife of many years, “Golde, do you love me?” Golde sings back, “Do I what?” She refuses to answer him, replying he’s stressed out with all the turmoil in their family and town.
Tevye asks her again. Golde reminds him she’s washed his clothes, cooked his meals, helped in the family business, and given him children for all the years they’ve been together. She doesn’t think it’s necessary to talk about something like love in that light.
He asks again. She replies, “I’m your wife.” Then she thinks aloud about how they lived, fought, starved, and made love together, ending with “if that’s not love, what is?”
feel or act?
Although Fiddler on the Roof was set in the early 1900s and our ideas about love and marriage have changed, their values are still relevant today.
Tevye talks about love as a feeling; Golde refers to love as action. They know marriage is a mixture of good feelings and the right actions.
Because love is both.
Sometimes we act loving even when we don’t feel like it only because we chose the other person. So we do the right thing regardless of what we really want to do.
Feelings are like the tide. High tide and low tide, but as long as the moon (our action) is in the sky, low tide gives way to high again. So we can ride the emotions when they are strong, and hasten them back when they are low.
Because as Tevye and Golde tell us, “It doesn’t change a thing, but after twenty-five years, it’s nice to know.”