Murdering a Marriage

I heard a story this morning that made me stop and wonder. It’s the kind of story that binds one to secrecy. Names, dates, places – they’ve all been cast to the jail of the unspoken. Suffice to say, boy meets girl, they become happy together, boy then tells girl that he has another girl – a wife in fact. Girl falters, freaks a bit then relapses… into his arms and gives herself permission to lap up his love for a little while longer, while she wrestles with her logic, principles and emotions. It’s a tryst of left and right brain played out to the beat of her heart and her vulva’s vibrations. Mind, body and spirit are gathered in an impossible knot.

It’s an unenviable position, that many of us or our friends have been in at some time or other. The judges and critics among us thrive on it. The choir sings “whoreing Matilda“. I refuse to judge. In fact I may even go to the far left when I say that there can be positives for all three persons involved. Granted, there is no win-win, and it’s not my halcyon image of a healthy relationship. Marriages will suffer or survive. Lessons will be learned. Memories will be made. Inordinate amounts of sex will be had. And as with all betrayals, hearts break and tears flow.

So I’ve been wondering all morning about the temporality of life and about how nothing is forever. We don’t own anyone, no matter the religious or civic vows we’ve declared in return for deeds of matrimony. My own view is that it’s folly to believe that a statement of intent to love another person forever is something we just can’t stand over. It’s aspirational, to say the least. I don’t know what I’ll have for lunch Thursday week, never mind tomorrow, so how on earth can I be expected to tell someone I will love him for better for worse till death do we part? I don’t have omniscient powers, nor am I an oracle, so no matter how much I love him today, I absolutely can not stand over a statement that I will love him in two, ten or twenty years, come what may.

Religious doctrines are just that, laws written and preached by men of the church. They are not the coordinates by which I chart my love life. I believe in love. It is a sacred blessing that I consider to be above church control and civil law. It is undoubtedly the most important energy in the world. I believe romantic love can endure between some people for a lifetime, between some for seasons and everything beyond and between.

Does this mean I am suggesting that the ‘boy’ in the story should shut up shop with his Mrs because their time has expired? Not at all, as I mentioned before, I am not judging or casting aspersions. A stand out point in the story I heard earlier is that ‘girl’ is now hoping that ‘boy’s’ marriage dies of natural causes so that she isn’t seen as the main agitator. She is hoping that he leaves his wife of his own devices so that the playing field is open for her to legitimately engage. All the while, she remains ensconced in his arms, happy as Larry. It struck me that from his perspective their continuation is akin to marital euthanasia, whereas for her it’s matrimonial manslaughter. He’s poisoning his marriage while she’s hoping that their actions kill it off.

And though I hope that it works out well for all involved, I can’t help but feel that a relationship built on a currency of damage is a harbinger of despair to come.