Quote of the Day: Love, Fidelity, and Perseverance

 

“Strong marriages—marriages in which a man and a woman stay together for their entire lives—are good for society as well as for the couple themselves. They serve as examples to the community of the virtues of love, fidelity, and perseverance. They demonstrate the capacity of the human being to live up to his or her promises.” — Made for a Reason Retreat Day Six—Marriage: Made for the Common Good

I see Susan Quinn has beat me to the topic of marriage today, and that we share a wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married 32 years today, slightly more than half my life. I’ll go ahead and publish this post and make this wedding reflection day on Ricochet.

In casting about for an appropriate quote on marriage, I came upon many that would work well on a greeting card or in a stand-up routine but didn’t offer any useful insight.  I saw the one above on a website focused on Catholic marriage and was struck by the fact that we talk a lot about love these days, but not so much about fidelity, perseverance, and promises. The latter are at least as important for a long and happy marriage, but they’re not exactly sexy, and they go against the obsession with individual desire and destiny that so many consider the greatest good for society these days.

My daughter is now at an age when marriage is much on her mind but feels like something that may never happen for her. She’s yet to take that step that I think is crucial in finding your partner in life, where you move past crushing on the most handsome and the most sparkling and seek out your personal puzzle piece, the one that just fits, someone with whom you can imagine not only love but fidelity and perseverance.

It’s particularly hard to make that transition in a culture that looks down on compromise and commitment. Babies are such an imposition that they should be killed before they ruin their mother’s lives. Celebrity marriages fall apart spectacularly for our entertainment. Sexuality and gender are so fluid that relationships can surely only be transitory, since both partners might shape-shift into something else tomorrow.

Add all this to the ordinary angst about finding the right one, and I can see how it would be easy to just opt out. I hope my daughter doesn’t—and if she does, it won’t be for lack of me nagging her to get out there! meet people! Amazon Prime is not going to deliver a husband! I hope her dad and I have been a good model for the happiness and satisfaction of one of those strong marriages, and not just a source of embarrassing PDAs.

Beyond that, I pray that we will once again get to that place where society values examples of love, fidelity, perseverance, and promise-keeping. And I thank God that I am no longer in that life phase of finding and well into the phase of being found.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Excellent topic, Terri! (if I do say so myself!) That is amazing that we share the same anniversary date. I love what you have to say, and I hope that your daughter will stay open to the idea of marriage.  I can’t imagine life without a committed partner. Happy anniversary to you and a wish for many more!

    • #1
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Happy anniversary! 

    • #2
  3. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I always loved this quote by Orson Scott Card in one of my favorite science fiction novels Speaker for the Dead.  

    “marriage is not a covenant between a man and a woman… Marriage is a covenant between a man and woman on the one side and their community on the other. To marry according to the law of the community is to become a full citizen; to refuse marriage is to be a stranger, a child, an outlaw, a slave, or a traitor. The one constant in every society of human kind is that only those who obey the laws, tabus, and customs of marriage are true adults.”

    As an unmarried person, I of course initially was taken aback, but upon reflection, I think he is right.  When you agree to marry, you commit to societal norms, to continuing society.  It is a communal act and not just a private one. Getting married says you are ready to take on your role as an adult in the community.  

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  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    When you agree to marry, you commit to societal norms, to continuing society.  It is a communal act and not just a private one. Getting married says you are ready to take on your role as an adult in the community.  

    This statement is so true, GC. It’s easy to forget, but we live in relationship to those around us.

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  5. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Beautiful.  Happy Anniversary!

    • #5
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    I always loved this quote by Orson Scott Card in one of my favorite science fiction novels Speaker for the Dead.

    “marriage is not a covenant between a man and a woman… Marriage is a covenant between a man and woman on the one side and their community on the other. To marry according to the law of the community is to become a full citizen; to refuse marriage is to be a stranger, a child, an outlaw, a slave, or a traitor. The one constant in every society of human kind is that only those who obey the laws, tabus, and customs of marriage are true adults.”

    As an unmarried person, I of course initially was taken aback, but upon reflection, I think he is right. When you agree to marry, you commit to societal norms, to continuing society. It is a communal act and not just a private one. Getting married says you are ready to take on your role as an adult in the community.

     And in traditional marriage ceremonies the community is asked whether or not these people should get married. The community is also charged to support the marriage. It is a pity the community no longer supports marriages.

    • #6
  7. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    And in traditional marriage ceremonies the community is asked whether or not these people should get married. The community is also charged to support the marriage. It is a pity the community no longer supports marriages.

    Well, this community does! I do wish it were harder for people to divorce (unless there’s real danger in staying married), and that there was something better to say and do when you hear of an impending divorce. Pretending that it’s all going to be okay, or that you’ll be better off, is not only insufficient, but not true for most exes or their children. Certainly the better path is to support marriages before they begin to deteriorate.

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  8. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing the wisdom you’ve earned over 32 years of marriage. I hope your daughter finds a worthy husband and a loving and enduring marriage. Surely she’s seen a good model! 

    *****

    This post is part of the Ricochet Quote of the Day writing project. You too can share a favorite or thought-provoking quote, with or without adding your own commentary.  Please sign up here to do a July QOTD post!

    • #8
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