Forget romantic love, well perhaps no, just nudge it from its ubiquitous place in the spotlight for a moment. There my lovely you look delightful in the cold light of day that’s streaming in the window. And desire. Well, though it gets over heated and shouldn’t stand too close to the fire, it too should not be ushered from the room completely, just shown the exterior door if it gets too hot to handle. Convenience, decorum and religious tradition; lovely little cousins but we’ll distract them for a moment with something rustic and respectable to play with while we talk.
Now that we have the floor and these crowding voices are stilled for a moment let me ask a question that is on the verge of going into exile; ‘What is the most solid basis for marriage, or alternatively for long-term loving partnership ?’ None of the above. Not romantic love, desire, convenience, decorum or religious tradition, though of course there is room for all of them in the measure to which it is healthy and helpful. The basis for a loving long-term partnership is twofold and these two candidates when they step into our midst are unlikely to cause the earth to move under us at first glance. Nevertheless, they make possible the exhilaration a long-term loving partnership or marriage needs, and provide the ‘relational sofa’ for us to sink into in between. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you… Mutual Respect and Compatibility.
But hang on you say, ‘Where’s the fun and frolic in that?’ Don’t worry about them; they ‘re both invited too. But Respect ensures that neither fun nor frolics are adopted at the expense of either partner. Compatibility ensures that the fun and frolic are sustainable… and so it goes on. I don’t need to labour the point, nor should I, for I am still figuring out how this best kept secret works. Its not about ‘birds of a feather’ or ‘opposites attracting’… its about respect and compatibility which keep love alive.
In Section 52 of the Nonsense Filter Vernon is beginning to sense it too.
“Underneath the affection and attraction other currents flowed and lately they’d come closer to the surface. She said he was scruffy but vain, he said she was a flirt. They’d gone around the houses discussing what it meant to be obtuse. And sarcasm: neither could accuse the other of being ignorant there. Manners too; that was a hot potato they were always tossing back and forth at the meal table. Compatibility; were they meant to be together? Vernon just didn’t want to plough on regardless if the wheels had come off their relationship. Sometimes Nsansa made him ecstatic and then there were other times.”
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