I just started listening to a book (who has time to read?) called Haatchi & Little B: The inspiring true story of one boy and his dog. The first chapter opens by describing how the dog, Haatchi, as a puppy was found curled up bleeding on a busy railway track in London. It was discovered that someone had tied him to the track, which brought out my inner redneck because my first reaction was that whoever did that deserves to be tied to the same track; ‘do to others as you want done to you’, so that’s what he must want… that might not be taking the verse in the proper way, but I still think it’s a fair punishment. The dog somehow survives by ducking under the passing trains, but the horrifying truth is the first time a train went by it crushed his one back leg and tail. Fortunately, this train also broke the chains holding him to the track, and he was eventually rescued. The book continues to describe Little B, the nickname for a boy named Owen who has a rare genetic disorder (less than 30 in the world have it) where his muscles are constantly constricted. As a baby, he had ripped biceps and Arnold abs… young Arnold; not current older Arnold. This may sound cool to vain people like me, but the constriction causes severe developmental problems, which leaves him being like a real life Tiny Tim. Eventually the muscles in his face will continue to grow to the point where they will permanently shut his eyes. It’s pretty crazy how important it is for our muscles to have a break. I haven’t reached the heartwarming part where the two are united, but what struck me is Little B’s parents. Both were in the RAF and were deployed to various parts of the world like Iraq for months at a time. Shortly after Little B’s birth, nothing to do with him, the parents decided they didn’t “love” each other anymore because of the long distance issues and got divorced. Maybe it’s because I do weddings as an officiant, or because I’m a marriage and family therapist, or maybe it’s because I have integrity and keep my word, but how can you get a divorce just because you don’t “feel” love anymore, especially when you have a child? Both parents said the other was an excellent parent; they simply didn’t “love” each other anymore. Shortly after the divorce, the father was online looking for a new partner. Not only did this couple get divorced for essentially purely selfish reasons: “I don’t feel ‘in love’,” the father is now spending time looking for a new partner. He could’ve spent his time, money, and energy on fixing the marriage he vowed “For better or for worse.” Do vows mean nothing? Does raising a child with both good parents mean nothing? Does the financial cost of divorce mean nothing? Yes, I’m super cheap, so that alone would make me want to fix my marriage. At least use the money you’d spend on a divorce for a sweet home theatre so you can ignore each other like other unhappy married couples… that’s weird, even I don’t know if I’m being sarcastic there or not. I guess the money for the divorce should be spent on therapy and activities to help re-establish the relationship, but my desire for a new theatre system is clouding my better judgement.
The problem I’ve found is people confuse 2 very different things: love & hormones. Love is patient and kind; it is not selfish and always perseveres (paraphrase of 1 Cor 13 read at weddings), which means it’s something we share with people. Love takes work. Hormones, on the other hand, are about “feelings” and attraction. They’re fleeting and lead to mistakes if they’re not kept in check. In a perfect marriage you should have both, love and hormones. Unless there’s abuse or some type of danger to you or your family, not “feeling” attracted isn’t a good reason for divorce. When a relationship grows past the honeymoon phase, it essentially means the hormones have settled and how well you actually “love” comes into place. Some people can never get past a honeymoon phase because they or the people they’re drawn to can’t actually “love”; it’s solely about hormones. These are the types of people who say sex is important to have early in a relationship to know if you’re compatible. Um, I think how you handle conflict, stress, finances, and treat others is more imperative for a healthy relationship. Sex can improve with practice and training each other to what you like. At weddings we don’t say “For better or for worse, in sickness and in healthy, but not if I lose attraction or the other person is bad in bed.” We don’t say that because it’s terrible, and yet people are using this for a reason for divorce. We need to stop being such a selfish hormonally driven society, and relearn what it means to love people. Our partner is the person who is to help us discover who we are and what we are capable of.
And yes, I’ll put away my soapbox now. This week may you discover the difference between love and hormones in order to address it if one of these is lacking in your life.
Rev. Chad David, www.ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people