Yesterday was our three year anniversary which, to those who have been married longer, may seem minimal. To us that seems like a long time and every year we turn to each other and say “holy crap, we’ve been married X number of years!”. When we told people that we were engaged there were a lot of seasoned couples that acted like they had acquired some amazing knowledge about relationships upon becoming married. They would look at us and say “marriage is hard” and then smile at each other like they knew something we did not yet know. I am here to tell you that we have acquired no such visions in these last three years. We have simply stuck to the advice that Taylor gives every newly married couple: don’t be selfish. That’s pretty much it. Also, don’t let other people define your marriage for you. There are a lot of stupid people out there. We will celebrate this weekend by going to San Francisco to visit some friends.
“Happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.
There is a false and momentary happiness in self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit. True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared. There is no end to the sharing of love, and, therefore, the potential happiness of such love is without limit. Infinite sharing is the law of God’s inner life. He has made the sharing of ourselves the law of our own being, so that it is in loving others that we best love ourselves. In disinterested activity we best fulfill our own capacities to act and to be.
Yet there can never be happiness in compulsion. It is not enough for love to be shared: it must be shared freely. That is to say it must be given, not merely taken. Unselfish love that is poured out upon a selfish object does not bring perfect happiness: not because love requires a return or a reward for loving, but because it rests in the happiness of the beloved. And if the one loved receives love selfishly, the lover is not satisfied. He sees that his love has failed to make the beloved happy. It has not awakened his capacity for unselfish love.
Hence the paradox that unselfish love cannot rest perfectly except in a love that is perfectly reciprocated: because it knows that the only true peace is found in selfless love. Selfless love consents to be loved selflessly for the sake of the beloved. In so doing,it perfects itself.
The gift of love is the gift of the power and the capacity to love, and, therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So, love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.”
– Thomas Merton