One of the best articles I've read in a loooong time is in Elle's September issue, "Till Whenever Do Us Part," by Rachael Combe. I often feel like magazines are very unrealistic about love, marriage, divorce, etc. In this article, Combe is refreshingly realistic:
"Yes! I thought, f--- happy. The point of living isn't to be in a perpetual state of fairy-tale ecstasy; it's to find the meaning of life, the meaning of your life. And the point of marriage, I think, is to create meaning, with every happy and sad memory, every hardship overcome, every kind of act, every moment of acceptance, every triumph, every grandchild, pet, and friend you accumulate together. The point of staying married until you die is to have a witness to your whole life, to the meaning you built. In the end, you can look at your spouse and say: Somebody knew me--and I knew them. Which isn't to suggest you need to marry to have this kind of intimacy, but if you do marry and stay alive to that marriage, you will get that reward."
The writer explains how she's been accused of being puritanical with this view, but I think she hits the nail on the head when she says, "I think my belief system is more accepting of human nature. I'm not saying that all divorces are wrong, or that a marriage can't be so unrelentingly ugly that divorce isn't the right and righteous choice. I'm saying that much of what we accept as grounds for divorce is, in truth, forgivable. Isn't it more puritanical for there to be so many acts over which you could punish or abandon your spouse and so few for which you might forgive him? And isn't it more rigid to have a long list of things that can demolish you trust in or love for your partner?"
She sweetly concludes the article with an image of her grandfather at her grandmother's side as her grandmother passed away. Their marriage wasn't easy, and her grandmother didn't necessarily experience love at first sight with her husband. But what comfort, what beauty it is to know that she had love at last sight.
I'm not married, but for some reason this article resonated with me. This author didn't write what is socially expected. I look forward to reading more of her work.