Here we are, a while back, standing by our water-born home on Guam. A 30-Year Relationship So Far: The Exception Proves the Rule?
Yesterday I had a health crises, of sorts, and it was instructive. Seems my wobbly heart decided to go astray and I spent the afternoon and evening in the hospital where they had to resort to zapping it with 150 Joules to correct it's bad behavior. It was a bit like Dr. Frankenstein awakening his monster with a lightening bolt. I was told that when the volts zapped me, I sat up on the gurney, lifted up my arms, and said, "Ahhh."
I'm fine. Home safely and better than ever in fact. Through it all, of course, Terry was by my side and was a lot more scared by the whole deal than I was. It got me to thinking about modern man-woman partnerships and what makes long-time relationships work and how exceedingly precious and rare that type of connection is (Bride of Frankenstein anyone?).
So, I Googled some quotes concerning the subject. The funniest are disparaging, the best are profound. Both, alas, are true. I think the first and the last, Francis Bacon and Robert Frost, get it about right.To wit:
Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses.
FRANCIS BACON, Essays
To make a happy fire-side clime
To weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime
Of human life.
ROBERT BURNS, To Dr. Blacklock
When a match has equal partners, then I fear not.
AESCHYLUS, Prometheus Bound
A man doesn't know what happiness is until he's married. By then it's too late.
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.
JANE AUSTEN, Pride and Prejudice
Marriage, n. The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
AMBROSE BIERCE, The Devil's Dictionary
Those who talk most about the blessings of marriage and the constancy of its vows are the very people who declare that if the chain were broken and the prisoners left free to choose, the whole social fabric would fly asunder. You cannot have the argument both ways. If the prisoner is happy, why lock him in? If he is not, why pretend that he is?
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Man and Superman
I always compare marriage to communism. They're both institutions that don't conform to human nature, so you're going to end up with lying and hypocrisy.
BILL MAHER, Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006
Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety,
In Paradise of all things common else.
JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost
Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Wasn't marriage, like life, unstimulating and unprofitable and somewhat empty when too well ordered and protected and guarded? Wasn't it finer, more splendid, more nourishing, when it was, like life itself, a mixture of the sordid and magnificent; of mud and stars; of earth and flowers; of love and hate and laughter and tears and ugliness and beauty and hurt?
EDNA FERBER, Show Boat
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.
ROBERT FROST, The Master Speed