Even among Catholics, where people marry with the awareness that marriage is indissoluble, there are a large number of divorces. There are countless reasons that lead to this terrible blow to the family institution, but one of them is the vain expectation that the other will complete you and be the responsible for your happiness.
In the beginning, everything is fantastic. But as time goes by and life’s difficulties increase, the romantic expectation that the man, or woman, you love will fill you up and give a meaning to your life, can only lead to one thing: frustration, sadness and fights. Many fights!
Will Smith seems to have understood that the romantic ideal is not a big deal. In a sequence of stories posted on his Instagram on 02/15/2018, Smith talks about a conversation he had with his wife Jada about love and happiness.
We don’t know if the actor has any beliefs or religion. In the video below, he talks about some very important things. We disagree on some points, but in general, he nailed it!
First, let’s make some comments on Smith’s claims. People united in marriage are not completely separate, but they became one flesh. The actor, however, certainly meant that as much as two people love each other, and have chosen each other to walk together in this life, it does not make them one unique soul, one unique spirit. And this is truth!
Smith did very well in the image of two people arriving at the wedding with their “empty glasses” in hand, demanding the other to fill that glass. As much as your husband or wife is a wonderful person, she/he is still limited and flawed. You can try and wish, but anyone will never fill the emptiness in your chest – and neither will you fill its emptiness.
In March 1941, the writer J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a letter addressed to his son Michael, in which he reflects on the relationship between man and woman:
It [romanticism] still tends to make the Lady a kind of guiding star or divinity […] This is, of course, false and at best make-believe. The woman is another fallen human-being with a soul in peril.
When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find…
This is merely idolatry: to devote hope and affection to a person or thing, in a way that only God would deserve to be loved. Only something (Someone!) Infinite can respond to the infinite desire for happiness that each of us has.
So, stop torture the person you love, who is someone who can turn to dust at any moment, and who often fails.
Finally, Will Smith ends by saying, “[…] can be destructive to place the responsibility for your happiness on anybody other than yourself.” It is necessary to understand this advice very well: it is impossible for man to give himself happiness, but everybody have the ability to seek the truth, the peace and the supreme good, and if he does not find it, it will not be anyone’s fault, it will be yours.
So, what is love between a man and a woman? How should it be lived? In one of his speeches, Pope Francis talks about it, and says that love “is not a romantic feeling”. Check it out here.