Love and Marriage - Part 1


Love and Marriage - Part 1

By P.K.Odendaal - 6 May 2015.

PATIENCE: Lady Angela, tell me two things. Firstly, what on earth is this love that upsets everybody; and, secondly, how is it to be distinguished from insanity?
(from Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan)
 
A well-known song goes like this:
Love and marriage goes together like a horse and carriage.

What an apt combination of two things which are essentially vital to each other, but it is also is as divergent from each other in form, size, purpose and behaviour as the sun is from a tree. That is exactly the dilemma with love and marriage and in me it stirs many convergent and divergent emotions and thoughts. These are the fact that one leads and the other follows, that they always move in the same direction and at the same speed, that they are always linked closely with one link and that the horse is lightly steered from the carriage.
My view of love is also very vague, but this I know, love is totally metamorphic. It changes its form and intensity to fill the voids available and in the forms needed. It is thought to be an emotion which cannot know anything, yet it is alive and knows everything. It is not physical and is thought to be a weak and vague feeling, although it gets so strong and specific that it can change a person's life and it can change the world. For sure it inspires us and yet it injures us and causes us pain. It is so pervasive and yet so difficult to find. It lets you jump for joy and yet it also makes you cry.
In fact, it is so omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient that one gets the feeling and idea that it actually is a shadow because it has exactly the same characteristics as God and may even be God itself. Then the scripture 'God is love' gets meaning in the sense that it is not something God gives but something God but is - an invisible image of God moving amongst us. And that is what I feel love really is. Another idea would be that it is the emotion of God or His personality that is being radiated into the world.

And perhaps love is ...
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you


Unconditional love.
There are two types of love - the unconditional one which I will address firstly - and then there is the conditional one. The unconditional one Shakespeare champions in one of his famous Sonnets:
Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds.
I am a fool for unconditional love, and will fall for it every time, however weak its thread. Just a flicker of unconditional love stimulates me immensely. I am prepared for the risks and pain that accompany such a wild dash into it.
It is the love of 1 Cor. 13 v:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, v:5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; v:6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; v:7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. v:8  Charity never faileth
But it takes a lot of courage and pain to pursue this.
Love is also beautifully echoed in The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:
When love beckons to you, follow him, though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you, yield to him, though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you, believe in him, though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you, so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, so shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you, that you may know the secrets of your heart and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, into the season-less world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. And think not that you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

One of the most moving contemporary love songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber from Love Never Dies:
Who knows when love begins?
Who knows what makes it start?
One day it's simply there, a life inside your heart
It slips into your thoughts
It infiltrates your soul
It takes you by surprise, then seizes full control

Try to deny it, and try to protest
But love won't let you go, once you've been possessed

Love never dies, love never falters
Once it has spoken, love is yours
Love never fades, love never alters
Hearts may get broken, love endures
Hearts may get broken, love endures
And soon as you submit
Surrender flesh and bone
That love takes on a life much bigger than your own
It uses you at whim
And drives you to despair
And forces you to feel more joy than you can bear

Love gives you pleasure and love brings you pain
And yet, when both are gone, love will still remain

Love never dies, love never falters
Once it has spoken, love is yours
Love never fades, love never alters
Life may be fleeting

Love never dies, love will continue
Love keeps on beating when you're gone
Love never dies, once it is in you
Life may be fleeting, love lives on
Life may be fleeting, love lives on