I don’t believe in fate. I don’t believe in destiny. I think the fairy-tale concept of “There’s one special person for everyone” is infantile and was propagated by the powerful (traditionally men) to subjugate the weak and powerless (traditionally women).
It makes more sense to say “There are many people out there for you, and they all have varying degrees of romantic compatibility” but that would look shitty on a Hallmark card.
Love isn’t magic and it sure isn’t supernatural or ineffable. It is not beyond our scientific understanding.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in love. In fact, the literature I’ve read and understand regarding the biological reasons for love and marriage fascinate me far more than irritating garbage like “Cinderella,” “Maid in Manhattan,” “Twilight” or whatever insulting crap the kids are watching these days.
And I readily accept the fact that society has defined “marriage.” But, again, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the concept or understand its importance.
Constructing and maintaining a love-filled marriage is hard work, but it definitely has a payoff. Neurobiology shows us that the brains of people in marriages actually change and fire differently. To avoid becoming too sciencey, the brains of a couple mesh together and work differently than brains of single people.
In good marriages, the brains of the married couple change to support one another. It’s almost as if they work in tandem. In really good marriages, the couples’ brains change dramatically, and the two partners rely on one another so completely that they almost operate as a networked neurological computer. This reliance is deeper than finishing each other’s sentences. It takes place below the conscious level. This reliance also accounts for heart-break. When we lose a loved one, we actually lose their brain contributions to the relationship. Our monkey-brain consciousness interprets this loss of neurological function as heart-break, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with our hearts.
After seven years, I think Leigh and I function pretty damn well together. Our network is stable and strong, and if I lost her, I would be emotionally and neurologically crippled. We’ve put a lot of work into our relationship, and that work has resulted in one of the most beneficial and meaningful relationships of my life. Like any relationship, it’s not perfect, but our strength resides in our ability to recognize where we are weak and maximize our strengths to create and maintain a supportive and love-filled marriage.
We do all of that on a daily basis. It’s supportive. It’s loving. It’s romantic. It’s sexy.
And it’s still a helluva lot of fun.
Happy Anniversary, Leigh.