The Spirit of Marriage

You’ve broken my heart. Your story makes me so sad and so incredibly angry at the same time. The person you were with more or less committed suicide. You were totally abandoned. It goes against the spirit of love.

What happened was your husband willfully destroying his own personality in a mishandling of an existential crisis, just like somebody might get heavily into drugs or enter into an affair with a much younger woman.

The whole reason you enter into a marriage is because you’ve found somebody you admire enough to counsel you through such a crisis. And once the marriage is entered into, it’s “for sickness and for health.” You’ve made a promise to listen. The demands of a shared history and love itself should cause you to at least bend your decisions to the shape of the other’s life – their feelings, their personality, their circumstances – not to totally disregard it.

I love this description of marriage. You’ve found someone whose counsel you trust. You’ve made a promise to listen. You feel obligated to consider your partner and to bend your decisions to the shape of the other’s life. Because of shared history. Because of love.

It’s a beautiful description, and it’s what marriage means to me. It’s heartening to me to know that there are others out there who feel the same way (in lieu of such sentiment from my husband). It’s heartening to me to know that when I date again the investment I make in my partner need not be in vain. That for some people, there isn’t a personal crisis big enough to warrant abandonment of the marriage.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the internet friend who wrote this to me, and to all the other internet friends who have saved my life during this crisis with your empathy and your boundless kindness.

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