Wayne Holland: The Irrational Universe


... irresistible force ... March 11, 2015


We have all heard of marriages that last for 50-years and more, and we are just as familiar with the praises offered by those who seem to delight in reporting such success stories. But I suspect an element in these long-lived bondings that - to my knowledge - is never mentioned.

I see the role of inertia at work in these enduring marriages. At least I do not overlook it. I know that it puts a damper on the party, but its force is worth recognizing.

What I am suggesting is that inertia very likely plays a bigger role in ensuring these abiding arrangements than romance.

When you have been with someone for even thirty years - let alone fifty - you have yourself aged in the course of those years. That aging (I would be willing to venture) had the effect of taxing your energy as well as diluting your interest in a different partner.

A lot happens to a person in thirty years. A young man who marries at twenty (a woman of the same age) does not have the same potential to acquire another wife of that age, unless he is wealthy, as we see so often in the world of celebrities.

An attitude of sorts creeps up on us, one that goads us to face our circumstances with the gravest of honesty. We know what we are capable of (not to mention what is wise or foolish), as well as that which is not bloody likely.

The matter of maintaining a steadfast partnership is also occasionlly spoken of in terms of investment.

"We've invested twenty years in this marriage. I think we need to think twice about throwing it out the window."

That so-called investment is just another face of inertia. (Is there anything even remotely romantic about speaking of an investment in a relationship?)

More often than we care to recognize, the successful matings remain in place simply because it is easier to keep them bound than to break them apart.

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