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What Happens When Initial Loving Turns Merely Into a Mutual Tolerating


Many dead marriages have never been alive.

-- Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Genuine Love Has True Friendship at Its Base

At a picnic with a sizable group of our friends and their families, a talk started about marriage. Some funny and lighthearted stories were to be heard, when I casually said: "We never argue -- disagree, yes -- but not argue."

Upon which a woman in her sixties-or-so shouted: "Don't argue, you say?! My God, then what else do you do all the day long? We would die of boredom without arguing."

In my relatively long life I've had a chance to see many, many couples who never really got adjusted to each other -- their relationship being a game of nerves in a range from a cold marital diplomacy all the way to a chronic arguments which they didn't bother hiding. Many would even expect me to take their side, which, of course, I smilingly declined.

In such marriages I saw them using each other as a dumping site for their crappy moods, in their unfair version of stress management where the other was coming handy as a mental punching bag. Being a witness to that I would think how nothing seemingly remained of that solemn "Yes, I do" moment.

The problem was that all those individual differences between them didn't come out in first months or years, due to the fact that the bedroom fun managed to smoothen them. But then as years turned that fun into a routine -- many times even resembling a marital obligation "between two headaches or hangovers", those discovered differences were sticking out as if posing a threat to their happiness and peace of mind.

I am not even talking here about those aging "marital veterans" who became grumpy for no other reason but having lost all those good hormones that would keep their mood above water -- but rather about those marital rookies.

Well, as for myself, having been in marriage for long enough to qualify for that "veteran" category, I don't mind bragging a bit here, which in a way makes me qualified to talk about what a lasting love looks like.

Namely, I still buy flowers to my wifie of 57 years, I give her a hug each morning as soon as we get up, constantly finding some cute names for her out of a sheer endearment.

And yes, we never argue.

Namely, we have built our relationship on a genuine friendship. When it comes to that aspect of genuine love, I am rather quick to say something like: "You can sleep with any person who turned you on, but for genuine love you need all ingredients of a true friendship -- meaning respect, acceptance, compassion, understanding... "

And not to get a wrong impression about our being "compatible" as personalities -- no, we are quite different with our personality traits, temperament, interests. We are truly a living proof that two quite different people can build a harmonious and loving relationship by bridging their differences with a strong friendship while, of course, physical attraction was not missing from the equation to start with.

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A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

-- Mignon McLaughlin


So, is there a way to "rewind" our hearts back to the time when it felt like we were truly "meant for each other"?

Yes, there is; but it would take something that I call "emotional wisdom". We have to evolve our emotional repertoire to the point where we would stop being critical about others and start allowing them a right to be who they are.


Now, for a quick note to my readers:

As someone writing satires about human nature and the state of this world which is less than perfect, I should not -- apparently -- be the right person to talk about "not being critical about others". But, as people are likely to forget my regular explanation of it, let me repeat it: I don't criticize, I diagnose with love, hoping for my satires to be something like eye-opening.


Then, as those individual differences stop being a big deal, and we have embraced the fact that it's not others' duty to replace our responsibility to keep our happiness so good that we inspire some as well -- suddenly we may discover how we truly love that person with whom we are sharing kids and household and the rest of our life.

In that same process we might as well discover that our partner in life is not our "possession", and we can't treat them as one.

But, are we ready to make that inner giant step?

Are we ready for genuine love -- or our little marital soap opera feels just fine, with tolerating, with arguments, lecturing, accusing, blaming, if not even feuding involving our respective families?

Well, it's up to each couple to see their own truth and then use one of the options available -- turn the blind eye on the crap going on, or to upgrade it into something so much more feeling like genuine love.

And it's never too late.

© 2022 Val Karas

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