I have discovered that committing to marriage meant committing to a lifetime of delight and sadness, inseparable from each other. Every time I look into my dear one’s eyes and feel how deeply we’re connected, the moment disappears before I can actually hold it-and I have to watch it do so. It’s excruciating.
It’s much easier to do this with your thoughts on a meditation cushion than with the feeling you get from his breath on your shoulder as you fall asleep. Now I get the fact that I will have to accept this as it is, repeatedly, until the end of my life, and that somehow this is love’s road.
I wish I had known that when you live with someone for a long time, you will experience continuous, mind-blowing irritation. (Okay, I did know this, but I forgot.) Often the irritation arises when you try to replace your actual partner with a projection of a partner. He always figures out a way to tell you how unlike your ideal he really is, which once you pick yourself up, gives you yet another opportunity to choose between who this person is and who you sort of hoped he was. No matter how many times I prompt my husband with the correct lines for his role, he does not get into character. This irritates me. We have to throw away the script and begin to improvise. You’re playing you and I’m playing me. Go.
I didn’t understand that love does not arise, abide, or dissolve in connection with any particular feeling. It has almost nothing to do with feeling. (Nor does it seem to be making a gesture, committing to state, becoming best friends, or anything else I might have thought.) Love has become a container in which we live. Through time and riding the mysterious waves of passion, aggression, and ignorance (and boredom), I think we began to live within love itself. At least I did. Each time I opened up, extended myself, accepted what was being offered to me, stepped beyond my comfort zone to embrace him, the structure was reinforced. I no longer have any idea if I love my husband or not. I can’t imagine what the feelings I have for him could be called. I’ve even given up trying to love him. Our relationship is what gives us love, not the other way around.