Love and struggle

In “The Devil’s Dictionary” Ambrose Bierce defined love as “temporary insanity cured by marriage.”

Poor cynical Ambrose Bierce.  He never met my relatives. Take my Aunt Bessie, who became the bride of Francesco Cappella in an arranged marriage. I’m told they met the morning before their wedding, raised a family of 6 boys and 6 girls, and were married for 55 years. My Uncle Giulio and Aunt Helen, introduced by my father, brought up 2 girls and 5 boys, and were married for 62 years. My own parents had been married for 49 years when my father died unexpectedly of a heart attack. Did marriage “cure” their love? These couples were kind to each other, worked hard every day, sometimes quarreled, often bickered, but were always constant. We kids knew they would be Ma and Daddy forever.

Those who read Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s moving column two weeks ago in the Sunday New York Times appreciated that Ms. Rosenthal knew about love. If you are lucky enough to experience that kind of bonding—that recognition of completeness that comes from true partnership, Bierce’s definition may make you chuckle, but you don’t buy it. Romantic love may change with the passage of time, but after 50 plus years of marriage, I can tell you that my heart still beats a little faster when I see my husband smile at me from across the room.

I’ll close with something from Mr. Rogers, whose birthday was yesterday: “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” Not always easy, but always worth the effort.




9 thoughts on “Love and struggle

  1. Diane, this is a wonderful piece on love and marriage, and what it means. You are right. We love someone not because he/she is faultless. Humans are not perfect, and sometimes there are challenges and struggle, but there is always love. Did you share this piece with Joe?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend not to read the Modern Love column often (though I’m a regular reader of the Sunday Styles section) since I often disconnect with the writers. However, AKR’s piece resonated with me. I have read it several times and each time I’m moved to tears. She truly found love and the true meaning of what a great marriage is. It is my hope her family is doing okay since the loss they are dealing with runs deep.

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  3. I am most heartened by the leaping of your heart when your husband smiles at you from across the room – and by your comment that says he reads everything you write. Marriage is mutual support – lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love how you linked these different takes on love with your personal past and present experience. My parents always said marriage is a choice you make every day – you choose to be in a committed relationship even when it is a struggle. I think you can love someone and not stay married. It takes work and struggle — I completely agree. Thank you for sharing .

    Liked by 1 person

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