Livng happily ever after

I had just mentioned to a friend about my discomfort at some (but not all) recent weddings when I saw the following at Digressions and Impressions:

[5] Love is not blind, nor yet forgiving. “O yes, believe me,” as the song says, “Love has eyes!” The nearer the intimacy, the more cuttingly do we feel the unworthiness of those we love; and because you love one, and would die for that love to-morrow, you have not forgiven, and you never will forgive, that friend’s misconduct. If you want a person’s faults, go to those who love him. They will not tell you, but they know. And herein lies the magnanimous courage of love, that it endures this knowledge without change.

[6] It required a cold, distant personality like that of Thoreau, perhaps, to recognise and certainly to utter this truth; for a more human love makes it a point of honour not to acknowledge those faults of which it is most conscious. But his point of view is both high and dry. He has no illusions; he does not give way to love any more than to hatred, but preserves them both with care like valuable curiosities.–Robert Louis Stevenson, “Henry David Thoreau: His Character and Opinions” Cornhill Magazine, June 1880.

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I wondered, particularly after reading Stevenson’s comment, what role of the idea of living happily after has in the various sub-cultures even of Western Anglophone culture. Hopefully being realistic about what’s in the future for long-term relations does not mean one expects to find the other unworthy of one’s love. But what is expected? And what do we assume others’ marriages? Do we assume that there are a number of things about, e.g., Obama, that could easily drive his wife crazy? Or do we generalize from the public picture people present of fairly serene love?

What do you think? Candour would be wonderful!

A later note: I think that there’s an underlying issue that I’m trying to engage. What is it to imagine another person? Many of us seem often enough to think of each other in something like shorthand. All sorts of things, including religion and Freudian psychoanalysis, have provided preferred shorthands. But we can also think of each other much more fully, as people with detailed lives and issues. The first may be very misleading, bcause it leaves so much out. The second may overwhelm us as we struggle to get the texture of a person. What are we to do when we need to think about real people in situations that will evolve over time? As, e.g., we watch friends move towards their new future as a committed couple? At least hope they don’t come to see each other as unworthy?