Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You can't have both

From Seraphic Secret:

May 16, 2006

500 Volumes, 114 Souls

Watching the opening scene of Pride & Prejudice is painful. My vision is blurred. I am sniffing and snuffling. Finally, I hit the PAUSE button, run to the bathroom--Karen and Offspring #3 groan--where I yank a fistful of tissues, honk! blow my nose, and wipe the silvery strings dripping down my cheeks.

The reasons:

1. Well, simply put, it's just so darn good to be back with Jane again, to be in the comforting embrace of a masterful storyteller. After the painful two-hours plus of The New World, gosh, Jane Austen is... home.

2. Karen is sitting right beside me on our little bedroom couch. Pride & Prejudice is the ultimate story of the desperate need for love and marriage in a proper middle class family.There is so much of Karen in Lizzie. There is so much of me in Darcy's desperate love of Lizzie. Karen is sitting right beside me on our little couch and a major part of me just wants to fall to the ground, grab my wife's knees and thank her, thank her, endlessly express my gratitude for loving me,for marrying me, for putting up with me all these years..."

It's finally dawned on me that there's a reason why I find Robert Avreche's "How I Married Karen" series so fascinating: My experience was exactly the opposite of his.

My husband and I met in synagogue, and knew each other for about a year and a half before we started dating. We were friends long before any other possibility had occurred to us. I joke that we got married because we got tired of commuting across Central Park to each other's apartments to stuff envelopes for synagogue mailings.

My husband and I never went through the kind of "interview" that many people do on first dates (and/or on "shidduch" [looking for a marriage partner] dates), because we already knew the answers to the sort of questions that one would ask. And we already knew that we shared interests. Our relationship grew naturally. I cannot tell you how much I recommend this approach to relationships: Instead of looking, specifically, for that special person, just do what you enjoy, and, with any luck, you'll find somone else who enjoys the same things. I've made most of my friends that way, and, in the long run, found my husband that way, too.

On the other hand, I've never had that "struck by lightning" experience in romance that Robert describes so beautifully. "Love at first sight and forever" is just not the way my own life happened to work out. So I guess I'm living that experience vicariously.

Love growing from friendship, or love head-over-heels from the start. Both are wonderful. But you can have only one.


Blogger Tzipporah said...

I think my hubby and I fall somewhere in between - there was definitely "infatuation at first sight" - and we became betrothed (not engaged - a more private covenant) after only knowing each other eight days.

But in the 8 and a half years since then, we've also had the most wonderful friendship. I'm a firm believer that you have to not only love, but also genuinely like, your partner.

Wed May 31, 07:12:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Infatuation at first sight plus a life-long love and friendship--that's a wonderful kind of marriage. I guess there are other roads that can take people to the same good place.

Thu Jun 01, 07:39:00 AM 2006  

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