Skip to main content

Is it Wise to Commit Oneself to Marriage Forever?

Jumping off the Mountain

Some years ago a friend of mine took a break in Queenstown. As part of that she went tandem paragliding, jumping from about 5000 feet, hanging on to the back of an experiencing guide. It was just a short trip of about twenty minutes but she said it was one of the most exhilarating adventures of her lifetime.

Marriage as a Tandem Leap into Space

There is a great book by psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp entitled If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. One of the author’s wry remarks is that with all big decisions we make in life: career, marriage, moving country, we have no idea of the outcome.

Marriage, like paragliding, is a bit like jumping off a cliff. The difference is you don’t have a guide who is trained, insured, and with lots of experience. Normally both partners are rank amateurs. No matter how well you think you know each other, life can throw up those totally unpredictable situations – like death, infertility, dementia.

The Paradox of Commitment

Since both partners are hostages to fortune it might seem that holding on lightly, ready to jump when the ride gets dangerous might seem the optimal strategy. Yet oddly the promise to commit for better or for worse can create a place of security and safety where each can grow comfortably at their own pace without having to look over their shoulder to check that the other is not making preparations to bail out.

As in all free human relationships there is no guarantee of success. When both believe that it is God’s love that has brought them together and sustains them, then the odds are more favourable. Not even shared belief can act as a fail-safe mechanism but it does provide a haven of hope in which love can flourish.

Catholic Discovery

Marriage , Literature