As just as harvests make you wise to farming, so did years of matrimony enlighten the Reb as to how a marriage works-- and doesn't. He had officiated nearly a thousand weddings, from the most basic to the embarrassing garish. Many couples lasted. Many did not.
Can you predict which marriages will survive? I asked.
"Sometimes," he said. "If they're communicating well, they have a good chance. If they have a similar belief system, similar values, they have a good chance."
What about love?
"Love they should always have. But love changes."
What do you mean?
"Love--the infatuation kind-- 'he's so handsome, she's so beautiful'-- that can shrivel. As soon as something goes wrong, that kind of love can fly out the window."
"On the other hand, a true love can enrich itself. It gets tested and grows stronger. Like Fiddler on the Roof. You remember? When Tevye sings 'Do You Love Me?'?"
I should have seen this coming. I think Fiddler on the Roof was pretty much the Reb's worldview. Religion. Tradition. Community. And a husband and a wife-- Tveye and Golde-- whose love is proven through action, not words.
"When she says, 'How can you ask me if I love you? Look at all I've done with you. What else would you call it?'"
"That kind of love--the kind you realize you already have by the life you've created together--that's the kind that lasts."
The Reb was lucky to have such a love with Sarah. It had endured hardships by relying on cooperation-- and selflessness. The Reb was fond of telling young couples, "Remember, the only difference between 'marital' and 'martial' is where you put the 'i.'"
-- "Have a Little Faith" by Mitch Albom, pages 142-144