Monday, August 26, 2013
Today was a truly sad day in America. Today, a story broke of an elderly couple who died 11 hours apart after having been married 65 years. Harold and Ruth Knapke passed away quietly in a nursing home in Ohio, the conclusion of a simple but epic love story. Although this story made some minor headlines, it was vastly over shadowed by the antics of a celebrity's child gyrating on an awards show stage.
When are we as a nation going to stop lying to ourselves about what we want? As a culture we pretend to be obsessed with finding true love. We even have shows like The Bachelor and Bachelorette devoted to finding "true love." When we walk through the checkout line in every grocery store, the isles are filled with cover stories of who's dating who, who's cheating on who, who is divorcing who, how to have better sex, how to get the guy, how to get the girl, and everything else. But the one thing that is blatantly missing is a single show or story about people like the Knapke's. Why is that? Why is it that when we are presented perfect examples of the very things in life we say we are looking for that we turn away and look elsewhere?
The fact is we have no interest in true love. What we are really interested in is courting. Think about it. Every love story is about the process of the couple falling in love, then we sum everything up with "they lived happily ever after." We are so consumed with falling in love that we completely ignore the art of staying in love. When we hear of stories like the love that the Knapke's had, we dismiss it as sheer luck and wish we could find that. We fail to recognize that true love is not just about finding "the one" is also about being "the one." Its about what we give to the relationship rather than just what we get. As people we change and evolve over time. The person we are married to in year one is not the same person we are married to in year 20 or 40 or 60. True love involves the work of continually learning how to love our partner in the ways they need to be loved. It's about sacrificing to meet their needs and hoping they do the same for us. This! This is what we need to study. This is what we should have TV shows about. As a society, we are pretty good at getting into the relationships, but we have a great deal of work to do after that. Perhaps the problem is that we really are not that interested in the rest of the story? Perhaps we are more interested in other people misery than we are the happiness we could find for ourselves in the wisdom of others. Or.........perhaps we'd just rather focus on attention starved celebrities trying to out do each other on a stage.