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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, Professor of the School of Education and Psychology

What is the future of love-light marriages?

Thu, 14 Feb 2019 09:39:00 +0000 Published in El Confidencial Digital

The current statistics on marital breakups are very worrying because of their consequences for children and for families as cells of society. That is why it is necessary to continue researching their causes, with a view to prevention. In my opinion, a common root of many breakups is the poor quality of love.

It is enough to read the love affairs reported every week in the "heart magazines" to see that an egomaniacal and uncompromising "love", limited to sexual attraction, is becoming fashionable. It is the light love (light, superficial), which, because of its immaturity, does not resist the normal difficulties of married life.

When we ask what love is, we expect to be told something more than the exercise of an appetence linked to the sensitive knowledge ("I like it, I feel like it"). Sensible wanting is on a lower plane than rational wanting. For Groucho Marx "the bad thing about love is that many confuse it with gastritis, and when they are cured of their indisposition they find that they have married".

What happens when you love a person (spiritual reality) only on the basis of a sensitive knowledge ? It happens that one loves him only in what is useful and pleasurable about him, since these are the only aspects that the senses grasp.

A love relationship between a man and a woman based on a light love may have some apparent expectations, due to the initial seduction effect, but when the spell wears off, only disappointment and frustration remain.

What is proper to marriage is not the dreamy or idealized love typical of courtship, but a love that is at the same time romantic, realistic and of submission. The humorist Tute expressed it through this dialogue:

-What is your secret to a romantic and happy marriage?

-Do not have so many expectations.

Many married people confess that the success of their marriage has been due to their willingness to face and overcome the challenges of married life together. This requires, according to Teresa of Calcutta, "love until it hurts".

Married love is a promise based not simply on an occasional feeling or passion. Getting married changes love: it moves from love as a fact (which exists as long as it lasts) to committed love; from free love (which is given as a gift), to the debt of love (I love you because I owe you). To love each other in this way is not slavery, but the maturity of love.

In marriage, it is not enough to love each other; it is also necessary to want to love each other. This implies transforming the initial infatuation (sentimental love) into a love-decision-commitment to continue loving each other. The commitment entails an act of submission of all that the married couple are in the present and of what they will be in the future as man and woman. With this decisive commitment, difficulties are relativized; bad temptations are overcome; the defects of the other are minimized and tolerated.

By virtue of this love, each spouse has the peace of mind of not being subjected to " test" every day; of not having to continue "making the grade" to avoid being replaced by someone younger. Whoever loves needs the assurance that the loved one will not fail him/her, because he/she places his/her happiness in him/her. Love without commitment, on the other hand, is subject at all times to what happens.

All lovers, in all ages, have asked each other the same question: "Will you always love me?" And they have given each other the same answer: "Yes, I will always love you". This sample that conjugal love aspires to stability and permanence.

The "fault" for many failures in married life is not the "cobblestone", that is, the institution of marriage, but the incoherence of many married couples with what marriage is and demands as a natural reality. Marital success or failure cannot be attributed only to good or bad luck or to whether or not one was right or wrong in choosing another person.

Experience says that in the frequent and successive changes of partners, failure is repeated, because the cause is not usually outside, but inside oneself: selfishness, intolerance, lack of respect, dominant and possessive attitude, etc. But few people notice the self-deception; they continue believing that if a marriage does not work, it must be changed for another one. But what is true for a car is not true for a marriage. Perhaps they will discover it in some verses of Pedro Salinas:

"Even if they are against us/the air and the loneliness,/the trials and the no and the time,/we have to want without letting go,/to want and to keep on wanting."