I know someone who has had eight relationships in the last twenty years. The person thinks it is all very normal for couples without children to not stay together for long periods. There is not much point in being together once the excitement is gone or if things become difficult, is there? Move on, there are other opportunities out there. Why stay on to try to fix a relationship? Far easier to cut loose and try with someone else on a clean slate.
Yes, it is easier to opt out. After all, we live in a disposable society so why work on something?
In Catching Infinity, I purposely made the Vanderleyden family old-fashioned Boers who live in an isolated farming community. The live in a freezing homestead called Die Uitkyk. They are used to hard work. They are used to accepting unquestioningly the hardships that Life hands them without running away or moaning. They just stoically worked on the challenges until the sun rose for another day, and life looks better again. “This is how humanity is won,” The Wife, Karin, said. When her flawed husband had an affair with his postgraduate student in Oxford and fathered a child out of wedlock, The Wife simply put one foot in front of the other, walked each day with her eyes focused on the path, until normality returned to their lives again, instead of destroying their marriage on a whim. Of course it was difficult, painful, but for The Wife, there was no option: when you start something, you stay on course instead of bailing out.
In time, after the hurt and the betrayal had passed, their lives did return to normal and PW and his wife went on to have a fourth son. They lived out the rest of their days just as they had set out to do when they married each other, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, the hard times but a distant memory.
Bad times are just hiccups on our timeline. Because in this life, there are no smooth timelines. Thus is it down to us and the choices we make: to weather the hiccups together or option two, enter a new game of a long list of meaningless relationships, until we are too old to go out hooking, and then look back and realise that we have not built anything of value at all to last us to the end of our days.
Yes, I think the love built for a lifetime is the most exciting one of all.
Here’s a beautiful story about lifelong love: Love for Life