Saturday, June 7, 2008

Love is not enough

Saturday, June 7, 2008

When I first read Anna Karenina, I was too young to fully grasp how nuanced it is; what an exquisite simulacrum of reality it is. A couple of months ago, I learned that a new English translation of this Tolstoy masterpiece has been published and a team of literary critics is revisiting it. Following their lead and rereading it myself, it astonished me how different the novel is from how I viewed it before. The passionate love affair of Anna and Vronsky illuminated how love can be so limiting—love is not enough to keep a relationship going.

I have seen couples head over heels in love at the outset but who, in a matter of years and even months, cannot stand each other’s presence. Like other countless marriages that wasted away, I witnessed how my parent’s marriage imploded. All these made me skeptical about love’s longevity and the idea of “happily ever after”. Although I still believe in love, I’m not so sure if it lasts.

If love alone cannot sustain the relationship, what does? What reverses the seemingly ineluctable “falling out of love”? Speaking for my self and my significant other, what sustains us from within and what makes our relationship work are our shared values and beliefs and a lucid understanding of what each needs to do and where we both want to go. Ours being a generationally and geographically challenged relationship is all the more difficult to sustain but we always go back to the beauty of how we started and realize that such thing must not go to waste. These may not be enough, or they may be more than enough to sustain what we have. In life, there are no absolute certainties and I’m not under the illusion that ours, unlike other relationships, is an exception. What I know, what we both believe in, is that we can try--we can do our damnedest best to make it last. And we are.


Anonymous said...

Love lasts but sex is overrated. :)

Angeli said...

After watching Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" and Nagisa Oshima's "In the Realm of the Senses" last Saturday, I must agree. :)

riky and nina said...

i love this post. let me say that it is aptly timed to my current personal/relationship crisis. hmmm, you said it quite so well, generationally challenged.

even an intensely passionate love affair such as ours is not immune to the ravages of time. i think it is even more susceptible to the threat of disillusion. when you're in lofty heights, the only way you go is down.

and yes, you are right. only the willingness to try will keep you both together.

Anonymous said...

To the author you are in good company as pessimist. :)

Here is a quote from my fav philo guy Arthur Schopenhaur(The World as Will and Idea)

“...the present may be compared to a small dark cloud which the wind drives over the sunny plain: before and behind it all is bright, only it itself always casts a shadow. The present is therefore always insufficient; but the future is uncertain, and the past is irrevocable”

And Leo Tolstoy(A Confession) further said

“...sickness and death will come to those I love or to me; nothing will remain but stench and worms. Sooner or later my affairs, whatever they may be, will be forgotten, and I shall not exist. Then why go on making any effort?”

I say "adulaamin" because I know I have one life to live and no after life. :)

Angeli said...

it's the size of the glass. get the correct size. :)

yup, one life to live. with the love of your life. :)

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