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March 08, 2007

Comments

Thomas

I think you should look for someone with common goals and ambitions. In my case, if my wife never wanted to have children, that would have been a deal breaker. As long as you're both striving for the same sorts of things, everything else will work itself out in the end. The best place to look, of course, is the internet.

David Alexander

You sue eharmony?

Nato

"You sue eharmony?"

I laughed *way* too hard at that.

But seriously, some kinds of changes are simply fatal. If I found myself in a relationship with someone who had utterly lost her epistemic hunger, I would feel, with justice, that my mate had died. Of course, my immediate reaction would be to attempt resuscitation, but ultimately when people change out of recognition or redemption, it would seem there's nothing to be done but end the relationship*, like writing off a defaulted loan. It's painful and consigns a very great deal to the earth, but that's the only way more fulfilling and healthy relationships can reemerge for either.

I don't know how common this is, but I suspect that it's not anything like the most frequent cause of dissolution. I think two well-matched humans can grow together indefinitely, their relationship constantly changing but remaining more or less healthy through it all. The big problem is identifying such a match. Most humans are worthy of love, but finding a mate to last a lifetime...

*Unless you have other indivisible shared responsibilities.

Nato

Also, I would say that if it's not going to last a lifetime, ending sooner rather than later is truly a blessing.

David Alexander

Nato,

I resonate to much of what you are saying and do not deny the desirablity of the good match that you are describing but I wonder if it is really a sufficient vision for relationships. It seems to me that something of a view of human nature is wrapped up in these views but at the same time it is obvious that you are speaking from heartfelt observation. I can tell that you and Nathan Smith have a deeper and more nuanced experience of romantic love. But I am thinking that on a fundamental level there is something to be said for longterm faithfulness that is not just imposed. We are limited. We must hope. People can change which is a reason to stay with them as well as to leave them. Love is a self-ordering and a disciplining of the self in relationship to the other as much as it is feelings which can sometimes have drought seasons. If we think of infatuation and the passionate first stages of love, the exertions and involvement of the intentional will may be obscured because they are so effortless in the thril of love I suppose... When we first marry it is presumably because we think we would like to spend a lifetime with them. If we divorce them it is a reconsideration of this first choice and a decision that they are not worth the effort. But how can we dare render such a judgement on them and doesn't it have a reflexive nature to it? Nathan Smith described his love who no longer trusted herself after breaking faith with him. Isn't there an essential framework for the aspirations they needs to be guarded inviolate here? Are we endangering our capacity to love by making ourselves the bottom line when what loves demands is our total self-giving? By the way, thanks for your philia.

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