How to Make the Life of Love Last

The complaint is often made that the problem with marital love is that it does not last.  At the outset of marriage it is strong, but after a while it starts to weaken and ultimately burns out. The high divorce rate can be attributed to the fact that many husbands and wives no longer feel that bond of intimacy that love once provided, and decide to  go their separate ways, perhaps to find another love mate.

At the root of the problem is a failure to understand the nature of love.  Love itself is not the problem.  A simple analogy may help.  I have an iPad that runs on battery as well as electrical power.  The former will serve me well, but only for a relatively short period of time.  It begins to run down the moment it is put into operation.  When the battery reaches zero, it can no longer deliver energy.  At this point the iPad ceases to function.  On the other hand, if I use electrical energy by plugging the cord into the wall socket, the flow of energy continues unabated.  It neither weakens nor runs out.

If husband and wife rely solely on each other for their supply of love, they will find that, like the battery-charged I-Pad, it will run down.  But if their love is rooted in God, they will discover that their supply of love, like the electrically-charged iPad, is irreducible and inexhaustible.

God is the source of all love.  He is like thee city’s water supply that serves all its citizens.  One may have a pitcher of water, but if he does not tap into the city’s water supply, his minimal amount will soon be exhausted.  Love, therefore, has a triune character.  In this regard, it mirrors the Holy Trinity in which three Persons are united in Love.

If marriage is to last, it must be connected with something that will also last.  In many cases, marriage is based on a number of factors that are not long-lasting, such as attractiveness, social status, and what is presumed to be financial security.  Hollywood couples have an exceptionally high divorce rate despite having all the “things,” except God, that are believed to make up a good and lasting marriage.

An excessive concern for material things can reduce the married couple to a mockery of a true marriage, what Pope Pius XI referred to as a “juxtaposition of solitudes.”  In order to avoid this travesty, the couple must reach out for something beyond themselves as individuals.   The love between husband and wife must include A love of God.  Unfortunately, we observe the prevalence of contraception and abortion in today’s world which are ways in which people reject God.   It if God is not in the picture, it is not likely that a marriage can be fulfilled.

Also, with the absence of God, marital partners demand too much of each other, which can be exasperating.  Being united with God removes the pressure from husband and wife to be “little gods” for each other.  Mutual prayer is the acknowledgement that God is part of the marriage and is both a Provider and a Guide.  And prayer should be a daily ritual.

It has been said that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.  We need not despair when our plans go awry.  God has alternate plans for us.  We need God to lift us up when we are down.

God is not only Love.  He is also a Visionary.  In 1945, a black and white movie appeared on the silver screen entitled, “God is My Co-Pilot.”  Many movie viewers welcomed the film’s spiritual dimension,  though some critics found it unconvincing.  The truth of the matter, however, is that it is God who is the pilot, while we are the ones who play the role of co-pilots.

Love will last as long as it is grafted in God.  Our secular world is reluctant to accept this, but in ignoring God, it is paying a steep price.

Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

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Dr. Donald DeMarco is Professor Emeritus, St. Jerome’s University and Adjunct Professor at Holy Apostles College.  He is a regular columnist for St. Austin Review and is the author of forty books.He is a former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Life.  Some of his latest books, The 12 Supporting Pillars of the Culture of Life and Why They Are Crumbling, and Glimmers of Hope in a Darkening World, Restoring Philosophy and Returning to Common Sense and Let Us not Despair are posted on amazon.com.  He and his wife, Mary, have 5 children and 13 grandchildren.  

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