"marriage is not a particularly kind thing to do to someone you really care about."

alain de botton’s interview on design matters was ah. may. zing. i think there are at least three different ideas i want to write about, but the first was this killer line (starts in the interview at 36:33):

“marriage is not a particularly kind thing to do to someone you really care about.”

at first, i thought… whaaaaatttttt? where in the world could this guy be going with this? but as he got into it, i really really began to believe his thinking. and mostly because it lines up with so much of my developing thoughts on love.

here are the main arguments used to get to that conclusion:

  1. true, loving relationships are hard. well, if you believe love is just a feeling that happens to you, then maybe not. but if you believe that loving someone is about taking actions that support their well-being, love is hard. of course, the idea is that the benefits outweigh the costs, but prioritizing the well-being of others is no easy task. note that loving relationships don’t just exist between lovers. friends, parents, even co-workers can all be loving (if you subscribe to the action-based definition).
  2. if you are in a truly loving relationship, you are constantly being taught and teaching. in loving relationships, we are always trying to help someone be better. this means telling them things we notice about them that are getting in their own way. it also means supporting them through those things. it also means they will be doing the same for us. and learning about yourself is probably one of the hardest things people can do. in fact, it’s so hard… that most people just don’t do it.
  3. so if #2 is true, what you are asking of someone is that they being your teacher (about yourself) FOR. EV. ER. and some (all) of us are dealing with some deep, dark realities and ways of being. with friends and even people you break up with, if you truly love each other, you’ll be teaching each other for while… but then it’s over. if you get tired of teaching or being taught, you can leave the relationship. but with marriage… that’s it. it’s forever. supposedly…