"Do you love your spouse?"
I posed this question at random to some couples at an informal get together recently. I was surprised at a few of the responses, given that these couples have been together (married with children) for 10+ years.
"Of course I do."
"___is the best thing that ever happened to me."
"Penny, why you comin at us with this bullshyt now?"
I got this from the guys and the girls, lol. Inquiring minds want to know. Anyway, two of the couples, I know for sure, have had indiscretions over the years but stayed together for appearances. They are more concerned about what the congregation thinks of them since they've been called to lead a marriage retreat coming up in a couple of months. More concerned about having to downgrade lifestyles if they split up. Not one word is mentioned about the children (who hear you arguing all the time and complain to Auntie P about it). One wife, despite having multiple degrees, put her life on hold to 'keep house' and has not used nary a one because "he said..." Surprise, surprise, 'he' is one of the cheaters.
In another couple's case, Wifey was the offender and her husband recently found out. From what I gathered, he gets perks on the job for being married and that was a reason for him to stay. She depends on him for just about everything, so he feels like he has the upper hand. Keep believin' that, buddy.
Another couple plays tit-for-tat when it comes to infidelity, and to them it's all good. "We had kids too early and married young. If I could do it all over again I would have waited; marriage ain't what it's cracked up to be. I'm just living life right now."
Yep, as a heart attack, and she didn't blink an eye when she said it. None of them mentioned love as a reason why they're still together. I found that sad, yet fascinating. I think it's much deeper than a mid life crisis (this was a 40 and under crowd) and moreso character flaws on all their parts. Hell, nobody's perfect, but if you don't want to be with me, then don't be with me. I can't imagine being that unhappy for that long for the sake of appearances; I love MYSELF too much.
For the most part, the majority of the couples at this gathering seemed to be genuinely happy with each other, although you don't know what goes on behind closed doors. Body language speaks volumes, and let's just say you could see the subtle differences in the couples I mentioned above and the ones who were touchy/feely with each other. Nothing over the top, but you could FEEL the love. In spite of the lonely-single-black-female dramedy playing out in the media, there's still hope.