Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Future Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

My wife and I watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy last night. We both love that show. Last night’s program was the first episode of the new season. It featured a young man, his Colombian wife, and their young daughter. The husband was in the U.S. military and was about to be sent to Iraq for a year-and-a-half. He married his wife in Colombia in a hasty ceremony frowned upon by the Army and without his family present. The queer guys fixed up their drearily decorated home, arranged for them to have a fabulous wedding ceremony attended by his family, and showered them with wonderful gifts. It was a very moving and beautiful program. I and everyone else were especially moved by the warmly romantic and loving way husband and wife related to each other and by knowing that they were about to be separated for a long, long time, if not, God forbid, forever.

But I wonder if they would have been so romantic together if they had been married longer and he weren’t about to be shipped off to Iraq where he might be killed. Yet, surely there are marriages full of warmth and romance even after decades of a couple being constantly together. Is it possible for all marriages or, at least, a lot more of them to be that way? Some Buddhists (and other spiritual practitioners) paradoxically enrich their love of life by intensely contemplating the inevitability of death. Might couples enrich their relationships by contemplating the fact that no one knows for sure how long they will last and the fact that, sooner or later, they will surely end if only because of death?

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