The Marriage Equation

By Daniel Slack | Oct 13, 2016
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“Love is not the experience that life has to give, love is the experience we are willing to give to life.”

I was sitting in my car while my friend was filling up the gas tank. It was a bright summer morning, Wanderlust had taken hold of me, and we were looking forward to going on a short trip to somewhere.

My friend sat down on the passenger side of the car and asked:

“Did you see that? I definitely would be all over it!”

I looked up, I looked at the various vehicles around me. There was an old F-150, there was a VW Bug, but all in all, there was nothing I would consider remarkable.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“I am talking about that blonde over there walking into the store.”

Mixed in the crowd of gas purchasers, teenagers hanging out, and kids juggling candy they had just purchased, was a woman who had a rather interesting outfit that would have left me singing soprano if I wore it myself.

I inquired, “And what is your point?”

My friend stared blankly at me, looking rather confused. “Daniel, how could you not notice that woman that pulled in next to us?”

My reply seemed to confound the person further.

“For me, when I am with a woman, I am with only her. There is no other place I would seek comfort. There is no one else I would seek solace for my heart. There is no other person I would imagine myself with. When I am in a relationship, there are no other women in the world.”

My friend looked into my eyes, and responded with the most romantic kiss I had ever experienced in my life. For a few brief moments, life, the universe, and everything, was absolutely perfect. In the sunlight under the canopy of the Irving, my fiancé stated;

“Daniel, I have never met a man like you before!” as she nuzzled herself into my chest, and let out a sigh.

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Interestingly, this is not the first time I was involved in a discussion of this nature. My male friends, and some of my female friends, are “Girl Watchers.” They like to gaze at women from a distance and talk about whatever their imagination comes up with. They would often ask me questions like, “What is wrong with looking at women?” or “Why not play the field? You test drive a car before you buy it, right?”

My biggest problem with “playing the field,” is that we humans are prone to look for the easy way out based upon the memory of some other experience.

Early in my life, I realized how easy it is to sink into idealizations, especially after a bad turn of events. Whether it is due to a recent argument with a spouse, a resentment that has never been let go of, or the regret of not following through with someone I used to know, the human heart may try to justify a reason for leaving or cheating.

Over my short existence, I have heard every excuse in the book why either cheating or full abandonment of a relationship has merit. “I don’t connect with my partner like I used to,” “Its only online,” or even “I can’t control myself, I have to spread my seed!”

The problem with these excuses is that they deny the fact that we are Human. We are much more that the physicality of our bodies, we are more complex than the thoughts in our mind. Moreover, humanity is deeper that the emotional states we experience. We live a triune existence where we balance the various aspects of humanity, to emerge more than just a species of animal.

In my life, I have learned that the more I “spread my seed” the less value the act of sex or even the relationship has.

My friends often think of me as a prude, which may be true, but I use the idea of automobiles, as an example why. When I first received my learners permit, I was excited. When I finally got my driver’s license, I was ecstatic. When I purchased my first car, I finally considered myself an accomplished, mature, adult…

This is how I felt when I purchased my first Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40. I had invested immense amounts of time, energy, and money into my Land cruiser. A new carburetor here, a new paint job there. I got a lift kit and new tires. I even went so far as to buy another Land Cruiser so I could cut it in half and have a matching trailer.

But over time, my Land Cruiser lost its magic. I lost interest, partially due to newer models becoming available, partially due to my interest in the Mitsubishi Eclipse, a sports car.

The funny thing was, after I sold my Land Cruiser, my thoughts would turn to how my sports car is lacking in certain areas that my Land Cruiser would never have a problem with. The more I pined for my Land Cruiser, the less I invested into my Eclipse.

This is one of the main problems with the human heart, we will romanticize, about what we once had, or idealize what we might achieve in the future. If we use this example and apply into our relationships, we find that we will invest less and less into a relationship, but expect the same, or even more of a return, than when we started.

In successful relationships, there is one key component that is necessary. This key component is only exhibited in people of honor and integrity. The key component, besides love, to making a lasting, sustainable relationship is duty.

“Duty is the moral or legal obligation; a responsibility.”

Nowhere in the definition does it speak of feelings, emotions, pasts, or futures. My sense of duty is what keeps my faithfulness in any relationship I have, romantic or otherwise.

Sometimes, duty is all I have after a particularly harsh argument. Duty is all I have if my fiancé is apart from me and an attractive woman hits on me. Most importantly, duty is what gives me satisfaction at the end of a stressful or exhausting day, instead of going out with the “Boys” to a bar to “girl watch,” I come home to my fiancé, live in our simple home, and appreciate what I have to come home to.

Without Love, there cannot be happiness. Without Duty, there cannot be faithfulness.

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"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings."~Anais Nin

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