“What is there in the value of life? Half as delightful as a wife When friendship, love and peace combine to stamp the marriage bond divine?” – William Cowper
“All love that has not friendship for its base, Is like a mansion built upon the sand.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
So is friendship enough for a marriage? For many people it is and it is comfortable and after many years, or maybe even a few, with all the routines of everyday life, raising children, and earning a living ,that’s just enough for the majority of people….. fine, BUT not for those who still have the spark.
Life as friendship is OK for many, many, people. Having a companion and being where it feels comfortable with established habits is not a bad thing. For most of the universe it suffices, and that is just dandy. It can indeed be a satisfying life and those couples are content with friendship and doing things together, and enjoying their families.
All good things and it makes for a stable society. No problem… Now for the few and rare exceptional ones it is never enough.
Please don’t get me wrong, that life is fine and if people are satisfied that is all that counts. I cannot disagree with any of it. BUT when it is not enough, and some people only discover that
late in life, they look for more. Sometimes a crisis will cause them to examine their lives. Finding romance is not easy. Making a lover happy is not easily accomplished. There is the issue of ways to communicate, then how to relate and what to share. Look at all the famous people who have been involved this way yet alone the ones that are not famous. It’s the clandestine calls, the assignations, and the expectations.
There is also the guilt, or lack thereof, and the fear of discovery. The spouse is the one deceived and feared. The relationship is artificial in some sense as only the best of you is presented and the time spent together is close to perfect… a bit unrealistic. However, there have been many companionship marriages that have included known or unknown love affairs on the side. At times it makes the marriage more bearable.
The problems arise when the lover wants more or is unsatisfied with the role. The JFK relationship with Judith Exner is a prime example. It went on for a number of years and in fact included love. At one point she had a pregnancy that was aborted. He surely trusted her and gave her secret documents to transport for him. What was sad was the way in which they were not able to go beyond what they had. He had difficulty really loving. Not unusual for powerful men. Love however will not be denied. What she had control over she did not exercise as is true for most women in this situation. She did not deny herself to him. She waited for his call and his summoning of her. He did ultimately tell her he was unhappy in his marriage and that he loved her!
So what does this mean for those that ‘settle’ for a companion as a marriage partner? Maybe they are contented and make do for life finding fulfillment in other areas, OR maybe they miss the boat and die unfulfilled. Some are scared to branch out and others never even explore the options. Whatever the choices, they are ours to make. We are all different with different needs and capacities. There is no one right answer for everyone. The idea of one person for life usually just doesn’t do it!!!
“Love lasts about seven years. That’s how long it takes for the cells of the body to totally replace themselves.” – Francoise Sagan
Lots of luck for even seven years!!!