Sunday’s Wisdom #378: The Question of Love

“Love isn’t locking yourselves in or hiding where everything is perfect. Love is facing the world and its tests together, even if you fail them.”
– from A Crystal of Time
The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani

Love is something which the School for Good and Evil series comments on a number of times. In this particular moment, a young lady named Agatha is pondering her own love. There are mistakes which she has made, and lessons she has learned. Among them, she realizes one of the most critical errors she and her beloved have both made was to try and shoulder all of their burdens alone. As if they could make things somehow a perfect paradise by doing exactly the opposite of what they needed to do all along: work together. They’ve paid a price for that.

Thing is, there is a certain other misconception that Agatha and others have suffered from: that if one is doing things right, then surely one must succeed. Alas, ‘tis not so! It is an unfortunate truth that we can fail even when we make no mistakes. Even when we do it all right, it may just not be enough to accomplish what we want.

Some people dislike this idea. We often fall into a trap of believing that happiness is a life without trial, without obstacle, without failure. And so we believe the same of love, that true love has no pain or misery or hard work within it. But life and love are not easy. That’s how we know it’s worth it, by what we put into it.

We cannot lock ourselves into some stasis-lock of happiness, where there are no troubles to bother us, no questions or doubts or insecurities to plague us. There is no permanently young, handsome, and agreeable man coming home to a permanently young, beautiful, and understanding woman in a permanently picturesque home with permanently adorable children and pets.

There will be arguments in any proper relationship. There will be disagreements. There will be stress. There will be an entire world looking to crash down on the happy couple. And there will be failure.

Some tests, one simply cannot pass, not even as the greatest couple the world has ever seen. That, too, is the nature of what tempers and strengthens such a bond: how well does it endure total, agonizing failure? What happens when things go badly? Are they truly together forever, or only for as long as they succeed at everything?

When – not if – things go wrong and everything comes tumbling down, even the best couples can start casting blame and tearing into each other. Maybe that is simply part of how we process our hardships. Or maybe we’re just too flawed to never make that mistake. But once the fighting, shouting, screaming, and such is done, the question remains: will they face even their worst selves together, and move past them? Because make no mistake, that is still a choice, and a very difficult one.

Nobody simply stays together, and nobody simply leaves. It is always a choice.

It comes down to what one wants most overall, and whether one uses it to override their worst impulses in the heat of the moment.

After everything goes wrong – which, it will – and all the hurt we do each other – which, we will – are we going to try and grab something “perfect” and “flawless” – which doesn’t exist – or keep going, hand in hand, together?

That is the question of love.

For all the couples out there who truly choose love, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day!

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