Marriage Tuesday

here’s a quote about marriage from one of the grandfathers of our faith,  c.s. lewis:

What we call “being in love” is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us … 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. 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 could 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 parties ask, and receive, from God. 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.

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2 thoughts on “Marriage Tuesday

  1. I really appreciate Lewis’s insight. It’s one of the reasons why I wish the English language had multiple words for “love”. Our multiple uses of “love” eventually dilutes the import of the word. It also makes me wonder if the term “marriage” needs to be changed to make it distinct from the secular definition.

  2. I once heard a friend use the phrase “screaming newness” to describe that initial ‘in love’ feeling. I thought that was spot on. No one thinks straight or acts normal until the newness wears off and reality sets in. It sure does make for some great memories though! 🙂

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