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Love, Marriage and the Madding Crowd

January 13th, 2010 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what advice for a successful marriage would you offer a soon-to-be wed couple? Would you even dare to go down that road?

That very question was posed by a bride and groom to the guests at a wedding I attended recently. It was a touching gesture that made us all feel a part of the new life they were beginning.

But I must admit that the question stumped me – and not just because I have a divorce on my relationship resume. I honestly didn’t know what I could offer beyond trite truisms which seemed woefully insufficient.

Don’t misunderstand me. I believe in the institution of marriage and the sacred union of two lives. I hope to tie the knot again somewhere down the line.

But, as much as we’d all like to believe that love conquers all, the statistics suggest otherwise. A couple of quick stats culled from There were 70,828 divorces in Canada in 2003. More than one-third of marriages in Canada will end in divorce before the thirtieth anniversary.

I think that the reason that I circle that question with such trepidation is the uncertain times in which we live. We’ve just experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression. Depending on who you believe, we may or may not be on the upside of the cycle. The key word here is “cycle”. The reality is that we live on an economic rollercoaster.

For many years I sought to acquire the simple comfort of predictability. It seemed a reasonable enough aspiration when I was a younger man. But I’ve come to understand that in our times it is a fool’s gold.

Why do I think this way? In our society it seems the only constant is change. Technology evolves at ever shorter intervals. Cutting edge today may be obsolete in a few months. It doesn’t matter anymore whether we actually need Version 6.0 of that software program. Chances are version 6.0 was already in the R&D phase when 5.0 was released.

Technology is a relentless master that will pass us by, back up and run us over, and charge ahead again if we don’t at least try to keep up. I believe there is a direct relationship between the perpetual 100 hundred yard sprint of technology and our attention span. Every time technology crosses another threshold our attention span shrinks a size. We’re becoming change addicts.

Small wonder that some of us trade in our lovers and soul mates with ever increasing frequency. We are programmed to jump ship at the first sign of adversity believing subconsciously that there is a new and improved partner just around the next bend in the road.

The relentless march of technology is a bit like acid rain on our relationships. We don’t feel it but it is falling on us every day eroding our commitments and loyalty. It is literally raining on our relationship parade.

So is the situation hopeless? Are we preprogrammed to switch mates as often as we switch jobs? No, it doesn’t have to be that way. Love is still, and always will be, the life force that allows us to rise above and beyond. Above the influence of technology. Beyond the reach of unrelenting change.

What we need to do is put love back on its pedestal. There is no stronger force in the universe. But (here comes the metaphor) it is a bit like glass. It is incredibly resilient and difficult to break. But when we stop believing in it and it does break – it shatters beyond all repair.

So upon reflection I think I do have some advice to offer to newlyweds. Keep your love separate from all else and let it know no bounds. Plunge headlong into it and let it soar like an eagle (with apologies to Thomas Hardy) far above the madding crowd.

Love passionately, abundantly and impossibly – and hang on for the ride.

~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of “Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel”. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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