Love and marriage. Essentially that’s the bedrock of human society. Without it there is no propagation of the species, without that no new doctors, teachers, transmission mechanics. And, most important, there are no new tax payers to keep the machine turning. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than just the mechanics of reproduction.
The two become one. Now we are getting somewhere. It seems most of us are lacking the piece to be complete, the essential part that makes us whole. For some of us that part overcomes our one deficiency that holds us back. For others that part is the one thing needed be strong enough to achieve a dream. Still others need that part just to survive their own self-destruction. You complete me, indeed. Two heads are better than one.
But maybe there is even more to it than all that.
I used to spend my nights out in a barroom
Liquor was the only love I’ve known
But you rescued me from reachin’ for the bottom
And brought me back from being too far gone
Tennessee Whiskey, Dillon/Hargrove, 1981
Marriage, and that two-become-one connection, can save your life. Sometimes our defects are so glaring that we will surely self-destruct without the life-saving love of another. For whatever reason it is possible to get so far gone that someone must pull you back up, like an attentive lifeguard heading into the surf as the riptide pulls you out to sea.
I have known many couples that are the oddest couples. In another time and place they would have never met and certainly never talked long enough to come together. And I don’t have to look far for an example – my own wife was the Prom Queen, loved school, perfect attendance. I was a stoner who couldn’t wait for it to be history. Yet just a few years down the tortured highway of life we rescued each other from reachin’ bottom and brought each other back from being too far gone.
So, there’s more to it than procreation or societal norms. The power of love that evolves to marriage is a mystical force, full of power and goodness and hope.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery… Ephesians 5:31, 32a
Two become one. A great mystery.
I have been married going on 34 years. Without that union I can only imagine what I would have become. And I shudder to imagine the things I would have missed. My wife concurs – we were neither one capable or qualified to make the journey alone.
My son John has been married just one week, and as I watched him at the reception serenade his bride with a heartfelt rendition of that song, I knew he was going to be okay, that society would continue on.
You’re as smooth as Tennessee whiskey
You’re as sweet as strawberry wine
You’re as warm as a glass of brandy
And honey, I stay stoned on your love all the time
He conquered his demons and married an angel.