We’ve discussed the difficulties of sustaining a long-term, working monogamy. We talked about how the many forces that drive us apart.
But not all is bad. There is hope, and it’s a bright and beautiful sun in an otherwise bleak sky. So now let’s concentrate on that one force that keeps us together, the strongest force in the world.
The most powerful force there exists, the one that lifts us when we fall down, not seven times but seventy-seven times, that force is love.
There is a poem titled “Like a ballad,” written many years ago by the poet Nathan Yonatan, that explains the power of love. That poem speaks to me deeply. It begins with the words “If a painful wreath of thorns is that which you like, I will go to the desert and learn how to hurt.” I can’t translate it, translating poetry is hard, but the way I understand it, and Yonatan said it a hundred times better, it’s a man’s solemn promise to learn to love what his beloved wants. To me, love is the force that lets us do something, just because our beloved has asked us to do it, and to learn to love it, to actually feel enjoyment and joy from doing it, because that’s what our beloved wants from us. Love means to live a different life that you envisioned for yourself, perhaps an uncomfortable life, just because our beloved wanted us to lead that life. Pay attention now, I’m not talking about an uneasy one-time gesture after which you can return to your cozy routine. I’m talking about a gesture that lasts a lifetime. A whole lifetime.
And here I want to tell you a personal story. About just such a lifetime gesture
My husband grew up in California. He immigrated to Israel and has lived here for many years, not because that was his childhood dream, not because he is a Zionist. He did it because I wanted to move back to Israel and raise our children here.
So after having lived in the States for years, and after having had two of our three children there, my husband left his home, his family, his language, his work, his culture, his friends, and the life that he knew, and moved to Israel. He agreed to raise his children as Israelis, and agreed to live in a country where he will never be entirely a local, always a little bit of an outsider. Every day he lives among people who are not like him in many ways, and he cannot express himself completely accurately, because he learned Hebrew as an adult. And every day he invests in our love and in our relationship and in our family, for me. So I would be happy. And that makes him happy.
It took years, and he learned to love the desert, and the stones, and the people who are thorny.
this is Love.
Love can conquer all. I truly believe that. It can conquer difficulties and arguments and quarrels and differences and harsh words and the meddling of family and economic difficulties, and exhaustion and jokes that aren’t funny, and teeth that are un-brushed, and denting the car and the messes and noise that children make and all the many temptations that lurk out there. It can conquer all, you just have to let it.
So one more – and important – reason I love my husband so deeply is because of all that he had done for our love. Without complaining, without keeping score, he found the way to love my hard and wonderful country. Every day, for many years.
Just because I asked.
So remember this idea, friends, the idea that love is the only way to win the game of monogamy. Think about your love one, feel their love, embrace them with love.