The Big Tree in Our Living Room

“A marriage, or marriage partner, may be compared to a great tree growing up right through the center of one’s living room. It is something that is just there, and it is huge, and everything has to be around it, and wherever one happens to be going . . . the tree has to be taken into account. It cannot be gone through; it must be respectfully gone around.

“It is somehow bigger and stronger than oneself. True, it could be chopped down, but not without tearing the house apart. And certainly it is beautiful, unique, exotic: but also, let’s face it, it is at times and enormous inconvenience

“So there are many things that can be said about one’s life’s mate, but finally, irrevocably, the one definite thing that needs to be said is that he or she is always there. And that, while it may be common enough in the world of trees, is among us human beings a rather remarkable state of affairs.

” . . . Love coaxes and even hoodwinks us into the making of a decision so radical that if left to our own devices we would never have entertained it for a moment. For it is a far stranger thing for two people to live together  in love all their lives than not to. Like life itself, it involves a decision so staggering that it cannot really be made at all: It can only be grown into, at best consented to with ever-decreasing reluctance.”

Mike Mason, Mystery of Marriage.

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