Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Delusion or Forgiveness

Evidently the secret to a successful relationship is delusion. Or so say a group of psychologists.
We tend to remember slights and frustrations more than favors and kindnesses. So inevitably in a marriage the weight of negative remembrances of thing past comes to exceeds that of the positive. Divorce is the result.
How do you get around this problem?
Psychologists believe that what they are observing in couples who endorse these and similar sentiments are strongly selective memories that ignore inevitable negative events over the course of marital history. Maybe a distorted view of your marriage that emphasizes the positive and forgets the negative is crucial to accounting for who stays and who flees when it comes to relationship endurance.
I have two thoughts on this subject.

First, this isn't exactly a new idea. Chances are, if you have been to a few weddings recently, you have heard 1 Corinthians 13. "Love is patient, love is kind..." and more relevant to this topic "love keeps no record of wrongs..." Might I suggest that this is not a case of forgetfulness or delusion that allows couples to stay together but love allowing for forgiveness and acceptance. If you are continually holding on to your list of grievances it will rip your marriage apart. That is obvious. However if you really love someone you won't be holding on to those memories of past wrongs, you will be holding on to memories of the good times instead.

It has been said that you like each other for your strengths, but you love each other for your faults. If you bothered to get to know each other before you got married, then chances are you would at least be going into the rest of your life with open eyes. I think this is why pre-marital counseling seems to have such a deep impact on the divorce rate.

Secondly, I hate psychologists. The whole tone in the second quote pisses me off. You will notice that they have redefined divorce as the normal outcome of a marriage between psychologically healthy individuals. A successful marriage is only possible between ignorant people with distorted deluded minds and selective memories. I am reminded of an old Tom Lehrer line, psychologists become psychologists so that they can give advice to people who are happier than themselves.

UPDATE: John Schroeder at Blogotional had this to say:
Jeff is, I think, half right there. Love and forgiveness play a key role, but so does repentance and trying not to make the same mistake twice.
He is right of course.

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