Sunday, January 3, 2016

Romancing Fidelity

Loving is action. Love is choosing. Love is friendship caught fire.

But with exceptionally high divorce rates, high numbers of humans sexually active without commitment, many writers actively negating the ethic of monogamy,
the media emphasis on promiscuity,
polyamory, pornography, prostitution,
etc., it would seem
that romance and fidelity,
commitment and monogamy are in serious trouble.

“…about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.”
American Psychological Association

“A 2011 study at the University of Iowa found that a woman's loss of virginity before age 18 was correlated with a greater number of occurrences of divorce within the first 10 years of marriage.”

“A 2012 study cited by Pew Research center found that an estimated 78% of women with bachelor's degrees, and 65% of men with bachelor's degrees who marred between 2006-2010 can expect their marriages to last at least two decades. Women with a high school degree or less, on the other hand, face a meager 40% probability of their marriages surviving the same period.”

That’s the very negative news of the recent past.

In this New Year of 2016, let's move toward Romancing Fidelity. Aim for the true goal.

Fidelity: Becoming loyal, reliable, consistent.

Love: Choosing commitment.

Romancing love is “friendship that has caught fire.”

Consider the fiery words of Sherman Alexie from one of his famous short stories. Roman and Grace are a married Spokane Indian couple. He is standing close to her with his basketball between them, as if the ball represents the expectant infant they will soon create...

“Michael Jordan is coming back again,” he said.

“You can’t fool me,” said Grace. “I heard it. That was just a replay.”

“Yeah, but I wish he was coming back again. He should always come back.”

“Don’t let it give you any crazy ideas.”

Roman pulled the basketball away and leaned even closer to Grace. He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day.

Choice: that was the thing. Other people claimed that you can't choose who you love—it just happens!—but Grace and Roman knew that was a bunch of happy horseshit...

Damn, marriage was hard work, was manual labor, and unpaid manual labor at that...that was what was missing in most marriages: politeness, courtesy…thank-you notes to his wife for the smallest favors, did the dishes…vacuumed...

...year after year, Grace and Roman had pressed their shoulders against the stone and rolled it up the hill together.

Then he lifted the ball over his head...and pushed it toward the caught fire.
From “Saint Junior” by Sherman Alexie, Grove Press, pages 176-178, 188

Yes, LOVE is friendship that has caught fire.
Love grows like a glowing vineyard in the sunrise,
takes root and develops one day at a time. Love
in maturity is like fine wine, improves with age.

Love is quiet understanding and mature acceptance
of imperfection. Love gives strength and creatively
opens in new ways
to your beloved.

You are warmed by your beloved’s presence,
even when your lover is away. Miles do not separate.
You want your beloved nearer. But near or far, you
know your lover is yours, and you are your beloved's.

Love means patience and trust. Love springs up;
you and your beloved feel more whole. Love fill
the empty spaces in your hearts, leads you both
to look up, and to give out to others.

Love is
creative, compassionate, gentle, and kind,
coming from deep in the heart, essential.

Love is choosing again and again, daily to love
your beloved even in the hard times.

Love is wider
than the widest, deeper than the deepest,
closer than the closest--
a fire of chosen passion.

Anon and adapted

Howard Zinn, who was married for 64 years to Roslyn Shechter, until her death in 2008, has a short pithy comment about individual choice despite the negative world around:

TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives…

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
― Howard Zinn

In the Love,

Daniel Wilcox

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