Sunday, February 14, 2010

How do I Love Thee?

A friend asserted that one loves another for reasons. She knows why she loves her husband, and would like her husband to articulate his reasons for loving her. I balked at this. I balked at this as an academic: if I love Anne-Marie for any reason, is it not rather that thing rather than her (who might possess it per accidens) that I love? And, if that thing goeth away, does my love diminish? Or, perhaps I love best the one for whom I love the greatest number of things. In this case, a greater number predominates the greater quality.

Can't I just say that I love Anne-Marie because she is Anne-Marie!

As time goes on my love for Anne-Marie becomes stronger and stronger. Is this a good path to go down for an answer? Why is it becoming stronger and stronger? Is the answer to this question the answer to the first question: It is stronger because... = I love her because...???

I am much more comfortable with saying that I love Anne-Marie because she is Anne-Marie, but I have to admit that human nature is such that it always has its favourites and least favourites with respect to any object (subject). What don't I like about her? Any answer to this is contradicted by sonething else. For instance, if I were to say, I don't like that she doesn't slave over me, this would be contradicted by me saying that I love her strength and her ability to balance the needs of the family. Can you love someone and yet hate things about them? I guess alcoholism would be a good example of that.

Sounds like I'm avoiding the question. One last thing before I attempt an answer. A person is more than the sum of her parts. I could list all of Anne-Marie's virtues and then yet fall short of hitting on what exactly she means to me.

Okay, one last, last thing. There are things between a husband and wife that cannot be gotten into anywhere else than between them. Important things, but private things.

So, here. Why I love Anne-Marie (ceteris paribus)

1. She is kind and warm.

2. She is humble. She knows her limits and weaknesses and this makes her a more tolerating and loving person.

3. She is a wonderful mother. The kids are so important to her. She has no other ambitions in life - not to be a lawyer, capitalist, politician, eco-warrior - that diminish the time and concern she puts into the kids. And the kids know it!

4. She is funny. No one sees as much of this as I do. Some see some of it.

5. She loves the faith. She wants her whole family to keep moving forward to Christ. She makes prayer a priority every day, and does not compromise on the moral life.

6. She is beatiful. (This is the PG version. Invent a brain scanner and I'll let you in on the full goods.)

7. She loves me. Not for any 'reason' alone - I have no money, I'm not good looking, I'm not tall, I'm not easy to be around, I'm not good with money. Life with me these ten years has been really hard. We have endured abject poverty the whole time - it's almost enough to make you cry. She's stuck it out with me, and resents me much less than she could! She deserves to be treated like a princess; she deserves to be taken on trips, given jewelry, fancy clothes, etc. She's gotten none of this. I pray one day that I can give her some of these things, but I know she doesn't need them, and that is reason 8.

8. She needs love, not things; she just wants my love, the kids' love, God's love, and her parents' and siblings' love.

So, there you have it. Is this Anne-Marie? You'd have to do some reading between the lines to find in this list the woman that means so much to me.

Our First Valentine's Day

One of my happiest memories with Anne-Marie is our very first Valentine's together. We had been dating for exactly one month. So our first month anniversary was Valentine's Day. We went to the Keg. Sure, we had to stand for 20 minutes in line that cold evening, but this was soon forgotten about when we got inside. I love the Keg. I haven't been back there since, to be honest - a deep travesty. Anyway, we had a lovely meal, gave each other some nice presents - she gave me 'Notes from the Underground' which she knew that I wanted. I remember that I gave her a bunch of easter cream eggs, which she loves. I had given her some flowers when I picked her up at her apartment. It was a perfect night.

pax vobiscum


  1. Your wife is one of the loveliest women I have ever met. No really.

    Colin, I loved this post. It was philosophical enough to get my brain working, and sappy enough to make me feel mushy. Delightful.

  2. Yes, she is so very lovely!

    Valentines in the most awkward time of the year for academics.

    What's next... Mother's Day... oh nooo!

  3. Who wouldn't love Anne-Marie because she is Anne-Marie? Dave and I agree completely on this. Ahem, notice your 'sappy' love post is netting the greatest comments?

  4. Oh, I'm not surprised at all.

    I know women - as my post proves!!!

  5. I'll never forget my first time meeting your lovely wife, when I dropped by unnannounced with a dinner invitation for your family on Anne-Marie's first full day in Barry's Bay at your house on Siberia. She came outside to meet me in her housecoat and I remember thinking, "I like this woman already!" So sweet and natural. No pretenses. You are one lucky guy Colin, but you already know that!

  6. I don't remember the invite, but I do remember the dinner. Yes, she is refreshingly natural.