Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday, I learned that a couple I knew when I lived in southern California is getting divorced. Even though I haven't kept in touch with them, even though it's been fifteen years since I've seen them, the news still shocked and dismayed me. Their marriage appeared bulletproof, and it seemed written in the stars that they'd adore each other forever. I wonder about the welfare of their son, who's now a teenager.

As in life, there are no guarantees in relationships. We have hope for ourselves and for others, and we cling to faith that we'll live happily ever after. It doesn't always happen.

I don't know what happened with my southern California friends. All that comes to me is that harmony in a relationship sometimes goes away, even while the love stays.

Singer-songwriter Hal Ketchum wrote lyrics that really struck me when I first heard them, and they still resonate every time I hear the song "Lonely Old Me."

Even love that is meant to be
is a garden that needs tending.

Even love that is for all time
cannot promise a happy ending.

On Annie's blog today, I clicked on one of her blog links to a Redding-area blogger by the name of Keith Stahr. Keith had a quote on his profile from novelist Tom Robbins that resonated much the same as "Lonely Old Me."

"When two people meet and fall in love, there's a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it's usually too late, we've used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It's hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay."

Maybe the message in those words hardly presents the whole answer. Is there a whole answer?

I dunno. If I figure that one out, I'll get back to you.


Pam said...

Well, the message in that text is pretty on target.

Sadly, waaay too many relationships gorge on the initial magic, sit back and smile in the glut of contentment, then fail to notice as the magic slips away.

By the time the gnawing for it begins to chip away at the complacency, too often it's just too difficult or too distant to recapture what was lost.

The falling in love part is the easy part, indeed. The "lasting" is the tricky part, the part that takes work on a daily basis.

And, then, there are always the cases when the initial magic was just a deceptive flash, unable or not meant to be stoked into something lasting.

Debby said...

You know what, Hal, I think that the whole answer is different for every couple. Each marriage brings to it two different people, with two different needs, with two different lines betweens what can be tolerated, and what cannot be tolerated. You don't need the whole answer. You just need the answer for you and for Rhonda, and although I know Rhonda not at all, I'd say that keeping the magic alive is a pretty big deal for you. Lily Munster wigs notwithstanding.

Kelly said...

Love the lyrics from "Lonely Old Me" that you shared.

So true, so true!

Redlefty said...

I never dreamed how hard it would be to keep the marriage magic going when there's a 5yo and a 3yo in the house!

quid said...

For me, it's really about how you both have to grow in similar directions as your marriage begins to span decades. Have to take interest in similar things...have to develop along similar themes.

And, oh...shared magic never is/was/will be as important to me as the all encompassing shared sense of humor. When you continue to find the same things keeps you smiling and tied in at the same level.