Distraction to Support

Marriage transforms a distraction into a support.

Far from the Madding Crowd p. 22

Men don’t often know what they really need. But infatuation with the “distraction” drives them to pursue. What they can find in marriage if that pursuit becomes loving sacrifice is support beyond comprehension. Then marriage becomes a delight deeper than passion, a joy as constant and as changing as a brook meandering through the woods. 

It’s tempting, I suppose, to look at this from the wrong angle: the man does the transforming, i.e., he transforms the woman into something useful. That’s not it at all. This is not pragmatism (but nor is it just romanticism), nor is it manipulation or coercion or force. Nor should the man ever chase after usefulness. When the man does what is necessary on his part—sacrificial love for the good of the other—the wife does not become a tool to make his life better, but she becomes a better version of herself, who is a blessing to all. But the man can fail to live up to his calling, so maybe we had better say, “Marriage can transform a distraction into a support.”

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